Wednesday, April 30, 2014
BANNED FOR LIFE
Donald Tokowitz (who legally added the last name Sterling when he became an adult) Sterling was born to Jewish immigrants in 1934 in Chicago, Illinois. He married Rochelle Stein in 1955 and had three children. One son was found dead in 2013.
Sterling started his career as a divorce and personal injury lawyer. He bought the NBA franchise known as the San Diego Clippers in 1981 for $12.5 million. The team was later moved to Los Angeles, CA. Sterling has owned the Clippers for 33 years. Sterling is currently a billionaire.
Sterling has had a pattern of corrupt or bad behavior with the NBA. For example, in 1982 he was fined $10,000 by the NBA; in 1984 he was fined $25 million for moving the team to Los Angeles without approval, he sued the league and the fine was dropped to $6 million. He is also known to heckle his own players, according to the news story I read.
Sterling has many real estate holdings and in 2006 was sued by the U.S. Department of Justice for housing discrimination. His fine was $2.73 million (plus over $4 million in attorney fees to the plaintiff) to settle the claims for his rental discriminatory practices.
A few days ago, TMZ Sports released an audio recording of a conversation between Sterling and his girlfriend (Sterling and his wife are estranged) which showed a racist rant and hateful feelings. Sterling admitted to the recording. The team rebelled, even the President condemned the remarks, and the outrage was taken straight to the NBA Commissioner Adam Silver.
Today, the commissioner took swift and harsh action against Sterling by banning Sterling for life from any NBA functions, fining Sterling $2.5 million, and banning him from any business decisions regarding the Clippers or the NBA. Silver is also encouraging the Board of Governors to force Sterling to sell his share of the Clippers, which would require consent of three-quarters of the other 29 franchise owners. According to the CNN news coverage of Silver's press conference, the other owners agree with Silver.
“Other NBA owners have called Sterling's remarks “abhorrent,” “reprehensible,” and have no place in the league or anywhere in society,” according to CNN.com.
Corporate sponsors are already suspending their support for the team until Sterling is removed (CarMax, Virgin America, Addidas, State Farm Insurance, as examples).
I applaud Silvers swift and stern condemnation of Sterling's remarks and racist attitude. There are very few athletes or owners of any sport that are banned for life, but Sterling now heads the list of bigots for showing his stupidity.
Watch Commissioner Silver's remarks HERE.