Sterling removal as Clippers owner not a Slam Dunk, long nasty legal battle likely
Despite the corrupt media’s assertion that Donald Sterling’s removal as LA Clippers owner is a foregone conclusion, the laws of California and the U.S. Constitution will determine otherwise. Huge legal issues will come into play such as the legality of the tape heard around the world of Donald Sterling making racially insensitive comments.
The Wire reports it is expected that Donald Sterling will fight the forced sale, even if the 75 percent vote passes. He’s a billionaire, so he has ample resources to take on the NBA’s legal team. A source close to him has said, “He’ll sue and it’ll take years to settle.” Sterling’s defense will likely be based on Article 13(a) in the league’s constitution, which states:
“The Membership of a Member or the interest of any Owner may be terminated by a vote of three fourths (3/4) of the Board of Governors if the Member or Owner shall do or suffer any of the following:
(a) Willfully violate any of the provisions of the Constitution and By-Laws, resolutions, or agreements of the Association.”
Sterling will likely argue that his actions were not “willful.” The recording that was his undoing was obtained illegally, and leaked without his consent. California is a two-party consent state, meaning “California makes it a crime to record or eavesdrop on any confidential communication, including a private conversation or telephone call, without the consent of all parties to the conversation.”
In the event Sterling does begin a legal battle, the NBA could take several courses. They could try to battle the lawsuit based on Article 14(j), which states:
“The decisions of the Association made in accordance with the foregoing procedure shall be final, binding, and conclusive, and each Member and Owner waives any and all recourse to any court of law to review any such decision.”
If that tactic does not work, the NBA could use their secret weapon: the moral and ethical contracts. When Sterling purchased the Clippers in 1981, he signed a version of a morality contract, and has signed amended versions since then. According to a source that spoke with ESPN, the contract “states that an owner will not take any position or action that will materially and adversely affect a team or the league.” The morality clause states “that [Sterling] will be upheld to the highest standard of ethical and moral behavior.” In the event Sterling sues the NBA, it will be up to the court to determine the meaning of “willful,” adverse actions and “ethical and moral behavior.”
I doubt highly this will be resolved by the start of the next season.
Originally posted at The Last Tradition
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