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April 29, 2014

Donald Sterling Receives Lifetime Ban From NBA


I'm not sure what this means, and I will find out in the next few minutes. (I thought it was more important to get breaking news up.)

My guess is that this is a ban on his day-to-day participation in the club. He won't be permitted to make decisions for his own business. He's being forced into a completely passive ownership role. He'll still own the team, technically, but someone else will run it, and he'll be banned fro interfering.

Who the heck gets to pick the new team caretaker is beyond me.

Hmm: Maybe the league's power is less well defined than I thought:

Q: What penalties can Silver issue?

A: Under the provisions of the bylaws, Silver has two sets of powers that he may use. Under either, he can issue a lifetime suspension and a substantial fine. Under Paragraph 24(l) of the constitution that was adopted by the NBA owners on Oct. 26, 2005, he can issue a fine of up to $2.5 million, can suspend an owner indefinitely and can order the forfeiture of draft picks. This provision applies to situations that are not covered by specific rules within the constitution.

In another provision, Paragraph 35(A)(c), Silver can issue an indefinite suspension and a fine of $1 million to any owner who "makes ... a statement having or designed to have an effect prejudicial or detrimental to the best interests of basketball."

If Silver wants to hammer Sterling, he can assert that Sterling's statements are so
egregious that they go beyond the misconduct contemplated in Paragraph 35 and allow Silver to assess the greater penalties found in Paragraph 24. Sterling can argue that he merely made a statement, but the statement at a minimum allows a lifetime suspension and a $1 million fine.

Q: Is it possible for Silver and the NBA to terminate Sterling's franchise ownership?

A: Yes. Under the terms of Paragraph 13 of the constitution, the owners can terminate another owner's franchise with a vote of three-fourths of the NBA Board of Governors, which is composed of all 30 owners. The power to terminate is limited to things like gambling and fraud in the application for ownership, but it also includes a provision for termination when an owner "fails to fulfill" a "contractual obligation" in "such a way as to affect the [NBA] or its members adversely." Silver and the owners could assert that Sterling's statements violated the constitution's requirements to conduct business on a "reasonable" and "ethical" level.

Thanks to Brian in New Orleans.

Corrected: I wrote, at first, that the commissioner only had the power to institute a 1-year suspension, because that's what I... well, heard from another commentator (Earl Ofari Hutchinson). But Brian's link seems to indicate the commissioner has more power than that.

I retract my claim. I don't know the actual powers of the commissioner either way-- but certainly it seems I cannot rely on my previous hearsay belief that only a 1-year suspension was permitted.


digg this
posted by Ace at 02:21 PM

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