SATURDAY, 5:34pm: The NBA will appoint a CEO to run the Clippers while the league moves to strip Sterling of the team, according to The Associated Press. An individual hasn’t been identified for the role, but the league says it will move quickly to put one in place. The Clippers will have input on the decision, per a tweet from Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer.
THURSDAY, 6:02pm: The NBA announced that the league’s Advisory/Finance Committee decided to move forward with their attempts to force suspended Clippers owner Donald Sterling to sell the team (H/T Ryan Wolstat of The Toronto Sun). The committee met via conference call today, and unanimously decided to move “as expeditiously as possible.” The committee will reconvene for their next step next week.
After audio of Sterling’s racist comments was leaked, scrutiny surrounding the long-time owner’s recorded conversation and checkered business history led to commissioner Adam Silver’s investigation and resulting punishment: a lifelong ban, a $2.5MM fine, and an impetus to strip the team from Sterling. Silver is believed to have the necessary 75% vote among the league’s 30 owners to carry through on the forced sale of the club, and today’s unanimous decision reinforces that belief. However, legal action from Sterling is the biggest hurdle the league faces in the push to oust him.
A growing concern from the league is that Sterling’s strategy could include attempts to unearth evidence of racism within other organizations, per a series of tweets by Chris Mannix of SI.com. Mannix says the league has “no idea” if it can win the looming legal battle with Sterling. The NBA has definitely earned the support of fans and players with its swift actions, but such a lawsuit could turn out disastrous in the long run.