NBA Commissioner Adam Silver announced just now. He's also imposing a $2.5 million fine and urging the owners to vote to force Sterling to sell the team. The press conference was quite interesting, with many references to the NBA constitution and Silver's powers under it, which, of course, I have never studied. Obviously, Silver has his lawyers. It's interesting that so much could be done so quickly and in the heat of immediate outrage over remarks made in what was a private conversation with one other person.
ADDED: Silver is getting praise for his great leadership, and there was immense pressure on him to act to control the severe damage to the interests of the team's players. I question how much process he gave to Sterling — other than to get a confession that the voice on the tape was Sterling's — but I am guessing that Silver determined that it was worth it to act boldly and to deal with Sterling's legal responses after the fact.
AND: I'm looking for the text of the NBA Constitution, and the closest I've come is to a forum discussing why the NBA Constitution is not publicly available. AND: This is useful, from an article on the Sterling case in The Wall Street Journal a couple days ago:
"Requiring the sale of a team would be the most severe sanction," said sports lawyer Jeffrey Kessler, a partner at Winston & Strawn LLP. "But I believe the NBA would take the position that the commissioner has the necessary authority to take action." He said article 35 of the NBA's constitutional bylaws—which aren't public—gives the commissioner those powers.So the commissioner has a lot of powers, but I can't look at the text and see what they are. Oh, great leader, Silver, could you release the document (if that's one of your powers under the document to be released)? How secret is this association of owners? What are they hiding?
And what troubles me, in addition to the truncated process, is that Sterling was around for a long time. What was already known about him and why was no action taken before this all suddenly boiled over with the publication of a private conversation? There's a point in the press conference when Silver is asked about this, and his answer felt evasive to me. First, he said that the lawsuits against Sterling hadn't found him "guilty." (But if the commissioner has great powers and information became known through the litigation, why couldn't the commissioner do something even if the courts did not?) Second, he said he's never seen anything else that was on this level. (What are these levels of racism, and why is this new incident so radically different from whatever other levels have been seen before?)
MORE: Deadspin prints the text of that Article 35 Kessler cited [ADDED: I've deleted the long text which you can read at the link], and Deadspin notes that the language relates to power over the players and not the owners. Is there another article defining "Player" to include owners? (I mean that to sound ludicrous. I'm guessing that the owner is referred to by the term "Member."
Is that not the Article 35 Kessler was talking about? Or was Kessler wrong about the rules?
IN THE COMMENTS: Freeman Hunt says:
So for years this guy makes racist comments, is accused of racist hiring practices, is accused of racist rental practices, is on record about using prostitutes, and openly flaunts his young woman on the side at his games, but nobody knew he was a bad, bad man until this incident.UPDATE: Here's the PDF of the previously secret NBA constitution.
Nobody who knew him cared before because of money, and they only care now because of money. None of these sanctions will affect him much in the end because of... wait for it... money.
It's all PR theater. If character were really an NBA concern then Sterling would've been gone a long time ago.