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NBA Forces Sale of Team and Ban Owner for Life over Racist Comments

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  1. #1

    Default NBA Forces Sale of Team and Ban Owner for Life over Racist Comments

    I'm sure 100% of my fellow Americans (and possibly several others) have heard about this story ad nauseum, but it brings up an interesting debate.

    Here's the story: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/04/30/sp...-clippers.html

    Cliffnotes: Clippers owner, Donald Sterling, had a private conversation between him and an extra-marital "female acquaintance" recorded, wherein he talks about how much it bothers him that she's tweeting pictures of herself "associating with black people." The recording was leaked to entertainment news. He is now being forced to sell the team, has received a lifetime ban from the NBA and was fined a humorous $2.5M (the maximum they could fine him).
    ________________

    So did NBA Commissioner--the confusingly named Adam Silver; you can't make this stuff up; actually, you could if you were a really cheesy comic book writer--do the right thing?

    The easy answer is that this guy is a piece of shit and good riddance to bad rubbish. Sterling's comments apparently didn't come out of nowhere; he's been involved in various lawsuits for racial discrimination and such. Even just from a pure practical perspective, this is a win-win-win. This caused such an outrage, that a Sterling-owned Clippers team was going to face heavy boycotts, so forcing Sterling to sell the team now with everyone giddy over the NBA's decision will get the highest salvage.

    The tough question is can the NBA (and, by extension, other politically agnostic, nationally headlining organizations) ban people and force the sale of their property over some views expressed in a private conversation? It's a central American tenant that what you believe is what you believe, what you do in your personal life is fine with me so long as it doesn't affect your job performance, etc. Of course, the constitution doesn't apply to the NBA's operations, but it seems distinctly unAmerican to "fire" someone for making an off-handed comment in a private conversation. (And as far as anyone can tell, it's not within the powers of the commissioner to oust an owner over something so irrelevant from the NBA).

    Thoughts?
  2. #2
    spoonitnow's Avatar
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    AFAIK, he's not being forced to sell yet. To do that, 3/4 of the other owners have to vote to force him out, and they don't really want to set a precedent since I'm not sure if it's been done before even though it's in the rules.

    It's bullshit to do a bunch of bullshit over something that was said in a private conversation like this. However, that woman totally set him up, and he was wrong to trust her not to do so.
  3. #3
    Why is it wrong to fire someone for helping to ruin the brand that employs them or that they own? If it makes sponsors want to pull out, if it makes people stop attending games and buying merch, if it disheartens players and makes others not want to join your team then why wouldn't you expect to get fired?

    When you're in a position of such power you need to be aware of the things that you do at all times and how these are perceived.
  4. #4
    Yeah I agree with savy, I think firing him is totally the right thing to do as it tarnishes the company and comprimises sponsorship, which means he's not acting in the best interests of shareholders, something he is obliged to do.

    How are his comments irrelevant? The NBA has many black members, and most global sports are doing everything they can to rid their sport of racism.
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  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by surviva316 View Post
    It's a central American tenant that what you believe is what you believe, what you do in your personal life is fine with me so long as it doesn't affect your job performance, etc.
    Drug testing
  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by ImSavy View Post
    Why is it wrong to fire someone for helping to ruin the brand that employs them or that they own? If it makes sponsors want to pull out, if it makes people stop attending games and buying merch, if it disheartens players and makes others not want to join your team then why wouldn't you expect to get fired?
    I'm not arguing one way or another, but he wasn't fired. As the owner of the team, he can't be fired. He's being forced to forfeit his property.

    Quote Originally Posted by OngBonga View Post
    How are his comments irrelevant? The NBA has many black members, and most global sports are doing everything they can to rid their sport of racism.
    They obviously have an effect on the NBA, but not directly. "Irrelevant" wasn't the right word, but I couldn't think of how to word the fact that it's not an abuse of his powers that are a direct affront to NBA operations. He wasn't fixing games or anything. In fact, the Office of Donald Sterling didn't do anything whatsoever.

    Agreed that it's best for all parties for him to be ousted, but it's going to take very very careful wording for this to not set a regrettable precedent where everything everyone says in any context ever that is an unpopular opinion comes with the threat of the heaviest sanctions in the land.
  7. #7
    It's a central American tenant that what you believe is what you believe, what you do in your personal life is fine with me so long as it doesn't affect your job performance, etc.
    you must mean somewhere in Central America? google gay marriage or witch hunt or civil rights or drug war or abortion. Maybe you mean this is a theory we had/liked but don't ascribe to, but in the context of your post it does not make sense. It is certainly not true, but even if it was this event (his racism being recorded in the new twitter world) clearly would have effected Sterling's job performance.


    Aside from that, being an NBA owner is so far outside the norm there is no reason to expect anything that happens here to set a precedent for anything. No one will or should care that billionaires need to live by a code in order to feed their egos and make more billions.
  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by drmcboy View Post
    you must mean somewhere in Central America? google gay marriage or witch hunt or civil rights or drug war or abortion. Maybe you mean this is a theory we had/liked but don't ascribe to, but in the context of your post it does not make sense. It is certainly not true, but even if it was this event (his racism being recorded in the new twitter world) clearly would have effected Sterling's job performance.
    Maybe it would have been less debatable to call it an idea, but tenet isn't way off base, what with it being the first amendment and all. There are, of course, a great many times we haven't lived up to that ideal, but I hardly think the worst of our culture should be used as a model moving forward. We both agree that all of the examples you were implying with that list were pretty much bad things, right? So then my point stands.

    Quote Originally Posted by drmcboy View Post
    Aside from that, being an NBA owner is so far outside the norm there is no reason to expect anything that happens here to set a precedent for anything. No one will or should care that billionaires need to live by a code in order to feed their egos and make more billions.
    This comes pretty close to much of what I believe on the matter. I actually had a whole thing typed out about how there's already plenty of precedence for people's lives being ruined for saying stupid things, but before, there were simply people who were kind of too powerful to operate under this risk. This can kind of be seen as a form of vigilante white collar justice. But I deleted it thinking I wanted to keep my OP as an initial mediation of the issue to facilitate discussion, instead of me going off on what I personally believed, so I deleted it.
  9. #9
    I'm with most everything you're saying 'viva, but doesn't the fact that his ownership is still under the blanket of the NBA mean he has to play by their rules? Their rules are "bad PR is bad", and if that's true then this is a non-issue and goes down with paula deen and don imus and tiger woods while we're at it. These are people who have made the mistake of having their poor judgement fall into the limelight.
  10. #10
    I think the crux of the argument has to do with precedents themselves. It's a word that's thrown around a whole lot, even though it has vastly different meanings in different contexts.

    "Precedent" in law actually has a tangible meaning because judges cite them all the time and they are often deciding factors in rulings. When we bring up "precedents" with our significant others or family members, we're trying to import a logic that doesn't necessarily have the same meaning. There's a lot more discretionary leeway in personal relationships than there is in the court of law, so you can make what you think to be the right decision in one instance, and in the next instance (given different nuanced factors) come to an entirely opposite decision.

    So anyway, I could fixate on the precedents of this case, and worry about what might happen if the public gets in a tizzy over the Charlotte Bobcats owner getting caught on tape talking about how Jesus is a load of crap and how he could go eat a bag of dicks as far as he's concerned. Or if the Brooklyn Nets owner were to rant to his wife about how much America sucks compared to Norway, and made some off-color joke about if there were a Nordic terrorist group, he would join it without hesitation. (If it were more relevant to my concluding thoughts on this issue, I'd probably spend a great deal of time here talking about why the tenet of free speech exists and why it logically must-needs-be categorical).

    But the commissioner's office of the NBA (or the commissioner-like offices of NBA-like organizations) isn't like the US courts system. They wouldn't necessarily automatically oust anyone who said something that incited a hashtag war or about whom unpleasant monikers like "racist" or "blasphemist" or "terrorist" could reasonably apply. This was an extreme case that had a particular salience to the NBA and its fans, and though that might be tough to convey perfectly in a legal document, any good governor of an organization SHOULD be able to tell the difference.

    So then the question becomes should the commissioner make the decision that is obviously, practically a win-win-win or should s/he purposefully limit himself/herself from making the "best" decision in order to constrain the office in such away that it can't lead to larger mistakes down the road?

    As both an idealist and consequentialist, I think this particular office has enough discretionary leeway that I'd like for them to strive to always make the best decision that's available to them and entrust that those to follow will do the same. If this were a political office where corruptibility seems to be a much bigger problem, I'd probably feel differently.
  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by surviva316 View Post
    I'm not arguing one way or another, but he wasn't fired. As the owner of the team, he can't be fired. He's being forced to forfeit his property.
    f you do something to ruin the reputation of your business then selling it before it goes bust is what makes the most sense. He obviously shouldn't be forced to sell it but people should react in a way that makes it the only viable option for him.
  12. #12
    a500lbgorilla's Avatar
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    himself fucker.
    The worst part of this whole episode was whatshisface calling for the Clippers to disband. Someone knows they're supposed to press when they're righteously outraged, but he pressed a bit too hard.
  13. #13
    I can see where you're coming from 'viva. But I'm not sure the law recognises a company as one's property, not in the same sense as a car, or a house. idk how things work in the States, but here, if you own a company, you have a legal obligation to act in the interests of your shareholders. This man's comments do the opposite, and so based on my understanding, there are legal grounds for him to be ousted.

    I think the fine of $2.5m is wrong though, and I'm not sure what legal basis this has. Does this mean that any average American can be bankrupted for saying nigger?
    Quote Originally Posted by wufwugy View Post
    ongies gonna ong
  14. #14
    being forced to sell something for 500mill-1 billion is a bit different from 'forfeiting'. It's also worth noting the clips have been dreadful for ages, and only became relevant after the NBA stole Chris Paul from the Lakers for them. Good call Mr Stern!

    You and I will have to agree to disagree on the constitution. You have a lot more faith in people in general and the gov't now and then in specific.
  15. #15
    Lol at people saying firing an owner , omg that is hilarious . Already seen this with Marge Schott in the 90s . . .
  16. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by drmcboy View Post
    being forced to sell something for 500mill-1 billion is a bit different from 'forfeiting'.
    You're right; it was poor word choice. He was forced to forfeit control of his property? Forced to liquidate it?

    Quote Originally Posted by drmcboy View Post
    It's also worth noting ...
    I wasn't sure if it was. There is this whole backstory with everyone in the NBA world hating Sterling for reasons that have nothing to do with racial issues, though I don't know if that's a distraction or not.

    Quote Originally Posted by drmcboy View Post
    You and I will have to agree to disagree on the constitution. You have a lot more faith in people in general and the gov't now and then in specific.
    I don't have much faith in people or in the government. It's probably not that big of a deal. It was just my way of explaining one side of the issue in a way that might inspire discussion. My post on precedents is my truer perspective on it, but I don't blame anyone for not wading through it.
  17. #17
    Quote Originally Posted by sah_24 View Post
    Lol at people saying firing an owner , omg that is hilarious.
    Here's some company owners who got fired -

    Steve Jobs (Apple)
    Noah Glass (Twitter)
    Eduardo Saverin (Facebook)
    Jerry Yang (Yahoo)

    It happens a lot more often than you might realise.
    Quote Originally Posted by wufwugy View Post
    ongies gonna ong
  18. #18
    Jack Sawyer's Avatar
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    Dude is already banned for life. What they are voting for is if he has to forfeit his ownership stake.

    He can't attend an NBA game anymore, or he'll have to be reborn or wear an awesome disguise, mexican cartel boss style
    My dream... is to fly... over the rainbow... so high...


    Cogito ergo sum

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  19. #19
    Jack Sawyer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by OngBonga View Post
    Here's some company owners who got fired -

    Steve Jobs (Apple)
    Noah Glass (Twitter)
    Eduardo Saverin (Facebook)
    Jerry Yang (Yahoo)

    It happens a lot more often than you might realise.
    Add to that list RadiumOne's CEO and founder
    My dream... is to fly... over the rainbow... so high...


    Cogito ergo sum

    VHS is like a book? and a book is like a stack of kindles.
    Hey, I'm in a movie!
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fYdwe3ArFWA
  20. #20
    Forfeit does not mean what people in this thread think it means.
  21. #21
    spoonitnow's Avatar
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    The real lesson here is how that bitch turned on him. Nobody's really learning anything from having an old Jew talk about not wanting his gold digger girlfriend to hang around black guys.
    Last edited by spoonitnow; 05-01-2014 at 08:06 AM.
  22. #22
    The moral of the story is simple - don't trust bitches. Especially if you're rich.
    Quote Originally Posted by wufwugy View Post
    ongies gonna ong
  23. #23
    Quote Originally Posted by surviva316 View Post
    It's a central American tenant that what you believe is what you believe, what you do in your personal life is fine with me so long as it doesn't affect your job performance, etc.
    Tenant, or tenet?
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  24. #24
    inb4 phone sucks
    Quote Originally Posted by wufwugy View Post
    ongies gonna ong
  25. #25
    Quote Originally Posted by OngBonga View Post
    inb4 phone sucks
    Nah, just me being stupid. Didn't notice 'til I double checked definition to see how accurate of a word choice it was.
  26. #26
    Quote Originally Posted by surviva316 View Post
    Nah, just me being stupid. Didn't notice 'til I double checked definition to see how accurate of a word choice it was.
    Not stupid at all, but you're now slightly smarter
    Congratulations, you've won your dick's weight in sweets! Decode the message in the above post to find out how to claim your tic-tac

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