NBA bans LA Clippers’ Donald Sterling for life

The NBA has just announced that it is banning Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling “for life” from appearing at NBA games, and from any decision regarding

The NBA also fined Sterling $2.5 million, the maximum possible under their rules.

The NBA is also going to look into forcing Sterling to sell the team.

Specifically, Sterling was banned for life from any association with the Clippers organization or the NBA.  He may not attend NBA games or practices, may not be present any Clippers facilities, and may not participate in any business or player personnel decision involving the team.  He is also barred from attending NBA board of governors meetings and other activities.

They also announced that the owners have the power, through a three-quarters vote, to remove him as an owner.

LA Clippers owner Donald Sterling, courtesy of the NBA.

LA Clippers owner Donald Sterling, courtesy of the NBA.

As I’ve noted before, this is quite a change from where we were a month ago when conservatives, and some liberals, were defending Mozilla CEO Brendan Eich, who ultimately stepped down from his new job as CEO of the Mozilla Foundation after it was revealed that he had donated $1,000 to the Proposition 8 campaign in California.

Prop 8 was a successful effort to repeal the existing civil right to marriage for gay couples, and Prop 8 was also intended to dissolve the already-performed legal marriages of 18,000 gay couples in the state.

I just find it interesting that suddenly someone’s job is no longer protected from their noxious private free speech about civil rights matters.

We’re waiting for gay conservatives, Fox News, and Brendan Eich’s other defenders to step up and write a letter supporting Donald Sterling’s right to keep his job while wishing privately to discriminate against African-Americans. That should be fun.

Oh, and maybe now we can start seriously dealing with the extreme homophobia in the NFL, something that’s routinely ignored by teams like the San Francisco 49ers.

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CyberDisobedience on Substack | @aravosis | Facebook | Instagram | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the Executive Editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown; and has worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, the United Nations Development Programme, and as a stringer for the Economist. He is a frequent TV pundit, having appeared on the O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline, AM Joy & Reliable Sources, among others. John lives in Washington, DC. .

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62 Responses to “NBA bans LA Clippers’ Donald Sterling for life”

  1. sulibuk . says:

    Hes a witch. And what do we do with witches ? BURN THEM !

  2. sane37 says:

    Earlier you wrote:” Andrew Sullivan is a foreigner so I guess he gets a pass for that ignorance”.

    I disagree. Andrew Sullivan does not get a pass for not knowing that speech has consequences.

    All speech is free. All speech has consequences. Not all said free speech is protected by the 1st Amendment.

    Stay with me here, because this is important: 1st Amendment speech, although protected, is still subject to consequences. Not in a court of law necessarily, but definitely in the real world (shunning, boycotting, being called names by people who don’t understand the point you’re making).

    Again I said was that Andrew Sullivan does not deserve a pass for something that any human with a functioning, rationalizing brain should know: that what you say has consequences, even if unofficial.


    Are you stupid or what ?
    What is your ignorance is that I AM talking about the 1st Amendment I’m NOT talking about speech affecting oneself.
    Your comment is inappropriate because I’m talking about the 1st Amendment.and you are not.
    Is that to hard for you to understand ?

  4. sane37 says:

    Again. Thinking that one’s speech cannot affect oneself is ignorant, 1st Amendment or not.

    Being foreign does not preclude one from common sense.


    That’s not the point.
    The point is bay people complaining about Eich and campaigning for him to lose his job over what he say is not a 1st Amendment free speech issue and that he didn’t understand the 1st Amendment because he’s foreigner.
    But actually most people use the term incorrectly. With bimbo Sarah Palin as their teacher it’s no wonder.

  6. sane37 says:

    Foreigner or not, thinking that free speech means no accountability for said speech is ignorant.

  7. sane37 says:

    Pebble by pebble.
    This is how you move a mountain.
    Sometimes its a landslide victory.
    More often, small ones dotted about.
    Every step forward counts.

  8. Oh, girl! Of course I did! For reals!

  9. Mike_in_the_Tundra says:

    You gave yourself an up vote? Really?

  10. Mike_in_the_Tundra says:

    I think his point was that Sterling’s life span was only two or three years. I have family that went way, way past that point.

  11. ckg1 says:

    It’s a PERMANENT ban. Not 2 years. Not 3 years. It’s for the rest of his life, however long it lasts.

  12. Big deal! So, what is this for this old coot? A two-year ban? Three?

  13. jonathanOz says:

    Yes, Donald Sterling a a racist twit, but let’s not get all smug and comfortable. His attitudes as expressed in his taped conversations, and manifested in his real estate business practices permeate American society. Addressing racism in America will require a lot more work and no small amount of introspection on all our parts

  14. Max_1 says:

    He doesn’t take a good smack down well..
    … But dish it out, Oh Yea he does.

  15. goulo says:

    Interesting; indeed he was apparently born
    Donald Tokowitz.

  16. BeccaM says:

    I wear the black armband of official mourning.


    Poor Andrew.
    The not to bright part of him is really showing up.
    He stepped on his own dick with his position regarding Eich and the backlash will be tremendous for him and for years to come I would think.
    It’s ashamed that he’s going to stand on the point and defend an indefensible position within the gay community.
    His need to be right and high opinion of himself will only make him hated in the gay community.

  18. Badgerite says:

    Off topic. I wondered if you had any thoughts on George Clooney’s engagement.


    I’m with you buddy


    Not really.
    He’s a billionaire now and when he sells he’ll have 2 billion but no name recognition and THAT will hurt him.
    Being the owner of the Clippers made him somebody.
    When he sells he becomes a rich nobody and will fade in to obscurity.
    No one will even know his name except for the people that despise him.


    Of course they think he’s a victim.
    They thought it was ok to murder a black kid with skittles too,


    THANK YOU for pointing out that this IS NOT a freedom of speech issue.
    All the stupid people on the right (and apparently Andrew Sullivan) throw that term around because they heard Sarah Palin repeat it frequently. Andrew Sullivan is a foreigner so I guess he gets a pass for that ignorance but he doesn’t get a pass for his incorrect position regarding Eich.


    Is there even an argument that he ISN’T anti gay ?
    First and foremost he’s a Mormon and the Mormons despise gay people. They find it the next worst sin after murder if that tells you anything.
    Secondly it spoke volumes that he stepped down from his position at Mozilla without comment regarding his anti gay positions.
    This of course can only mean that they are closely held beliefs that he still believes in.


    you forgot “takers”
    But your point is well taken

  25. Jose Soto says:

    I know that some people might say that Eich and Sterling are different, but the merit of these two cases for stupid dupes (like Sullivan) doesn’t really matter. If they really mean what they say that free speech rules the day and no matter what that speech entails so people should face NO professional impact like losing their business leadership roles.

    I am still trying to figure out why free speech is even an issue here. If you own a basketball team you simply cannot be racist, and same goes with being a homophobic CEO of a pro-gay tech company (maybe of an anti-gay chicken joint). Free speech is NOT the issue here, it is common sense.

    HOWEVER: If we are willing to let homophobes run pro-gay companies then by all means we should let racists own basketball teams. Its only fair (and consistent with the demands of the stupid right wing). If bigots are allowed to behave in discriminatory fashion so should the rest of us. If you don’t want gays to get married then gays have a right to take away rights that you also oh so cherish (like a right to a job).

  26. FLL says:

    It might seem surprising at first, but the dynamics between homophobic arguments and racist ones are sometimes linked and interdependent. Two cases in point are the arguments put forth by Heinrich Himmler and Vladimir Putin in support of homophobia, namely, that government campaigns targeting gay men are necessary in the pursuit of increasing the production of white German babies or white Russian babies. Heinrich Himmler famously stated that “a pure race with few children already has one foot in the grave.” Now segue to Putin press conference from January of this year:

    “In 2002-3-4, it seemed we would never overcome that completely horrifying situation in which we found ourselves, as far as the demographic crisis. It seemed that the demographic pit would be bottomless and we would continue to fall into it forever. That is when we devised and adopted a program to support demography, to support the birthrate in the RF. I’ll be honest with you, I was concerned in a big way since we used a large amount of resources, whereas many experts told me: Don’t. It’s a trend. It’s something that’s going on in all the European nations and we can’t avoid it. This year, for the first time, the number of those born has exceeded the number of the departed in Russia. We have achieved a specific positive result. If anyone wants to choose cemeteries as the focus of development they should feel free to do so, but we have different objectives. We want the Russian people and other peoples residing in the Russian Federation to develop and to have a future history. Everything that stands in our way in this regard, we must clean up…”

    Putin even echoes Himmler in his reference to “cemeteries as the focus of development” (cf. “one foot in the grave.”) At the time, international commentators didn’t question the racist logic implicit in Putin’s argument about the white nations he makes reference to, “European nations” and “the RF” (Russian Federation), but then the world is always giving Putin extra slack, no?

  27. Bookbinder says:

    In with the gays, out with the bigots. Glad I lived long enough to see it. RIP old regime.

  28. Ninja0980 says:

    It is acceptable if you use the right code words such as lazy, thug, welfare queen etc.

  29. Ninja0980 says:

    That’s the sad part. When all is said and done, he is still going to be able to laugh all the way to the bank.

  30. Julien Pierre says:

    It’s really funny how he doesn’t allow comments on his site.

    I guess he can’t handle the freedom of others to dissent there.

  31. Elijah Shalis says:

    Well I suspect that Sterling self hates as well because he changed his last name from a more Jewish sounding one to an English one.

  32. 4th Turning says:

    I suspect there are plenty more “V.’s” and Edwards and Chelseas out there in similar positions
    understanding on whatever level that things aren’t right just because they’re told so by their “betters”.
    They need to know we have their backs if and when they also decide to come forward…

  33. 4th Turning says:

    Would you go so far as to agree we’re all retainers on billionaire plantations
    which is the principle reason we put up with their abuse and are willing to allow
    thIs Good Earth to perish from under our feet rather than even consider
    parting with our 2014 pickups or illusory cheap stuff at walmart or condos in dc?

  34. MyrddinWilt says:

    Life is way too short to look for or need any further evidence of the moral bankruptcy, stupidity or hypocrisy of Fox News and its staff.


    I lived in Los Angeles a bit and actually lived in a Sterling building.
    The man was despised my many many people in LA
    It was about time, the low life had it coming.
    But my broader point was that you don’t see Fox, Hannity, O’Riley et al screaming about this man freedom of speech like they did when Eich stepped down.
    Apparently while denigration of African Americans is ABSOUTELY unacceptable denigration of the gay Americans is acceptable, so much so that any protest by gay Americans for being denigration renders them as The Gay Gestopo , Gay Activist etc.

  36. BeccaM says:

    For about six months, in the aftermath of the election when (surprise!) the Prop 8 proponents argued in court that the ~18,000 marriages should be nullified, the severe effect consisted of being in a legal limbo of not knowing whether one’s marriage was real and legally binding. Eich’s money helped in some small way to pay for the lawyers to argue that point in court, by the way.

    It also ‘severely effected’ thousands more couples like my wife and me, who postponed — and later had to cancel — our wedding plans.

    And of course it ‘severely affected’ the tens of thousands more between November 2008 and June 2013 when same-sex marriage wasn’t legal at all in California and those 18,000 couple were just a legal relic. Probably having to explain every few weeks to someone new that they were actually legally married and not just a Domestic Partner.

  37. mikeyDe says:

    Once again our community was at the forefront, first in condemning Russia and boycotting vodka, then in shunning Putin’s olympic games, and now in standing up to bigoted CEOs. One day, perhaps, other segments of America will join us sooner rather than later.

  38. MyrddinWilt says:

    When the scandal first broke the response from the wingnuts was to attack Democrats for not repudiating Sterling fast enough. Their claim being that if Sterling was a Republican liberals would be calling for his head.

    Only of course that is exactly what liberals were doing just as soon as they had (1) heard about the scandal and (2) found out that the tapes were likely genuine. Which didn’t exactly take very long. But as we know everything that happens has to prove something about liberals.

    It turns out of course that the guy is actually a registered Republican which if we were counting would make him one of theirs. And he last gave a donation to a Democrat over a decade ago.

    Eich and Sterling are actually both out for the same reason: The bigotry they supported/voiced is not acceptable to their co-workers in the organizations they led. Which is why the decision had to come from the organizations they were a part of.

    Sterling is being forced out by the NBA, there is no doubt of that. But that is an organization that has a common commercial interest in protecting their brand that has to deal with 20-something sports jocks with out-sized egos doing something brainless on a regular basis. So lets just say the skids on the ejector sled are well greased.

    The Eich situation was a little bit different because Eich could have easily kept his job. All he needed to do was to say sorry for having supported a bigoted cause six years ago. Say he had ‘evolved’. I can’t imagine any way that Sterling could walk back from what he said.

  39. caphillprof says:

    It’s as if Sterling thought of himself as the owner of a plantation . . . . . . .

  40. perljammer says:

    “I say 18,000 people had their lives severly effected”

    What severe effect are you talking about? If you’re referring to the same-sex marriages performed prior to Prop 8 passage, it’s 36,000 people (18,000 couples). However, in the ruling in which they upheld the legality of Prop 8, the California Supreme Court ruled that those 18,000 same-sex marriages were valid and would not be affected by the passage of Prop 8. Later, the Prop was overturned by Federal District Court, and the US Supreme Court declined to hear the appeal.

  41. MyrddinWilt says:

    Eich does support a lot of Catholic causes and the Catholic church is anti-gay. And he did donate to Prop-Hate.

    But we don’t have the tapes of him telling his boyfriend that he hates gay people. So Eich isn’t quite in the Donald Sterling league. There have been hypocrites of similar degree before but none caught on tape.

    Donald Sterling isn’t just being punished for being a bigot, he is being punished for being a complete idiot. Its not just bigotry involved here but likely a large slice of Alzheimer’s as well.

  42. AndyinChicago says:

    The NBA doesn’t want any team to no longer be a viable money maker, but Sterling bought it for cheap, and if he’s forced to sell it quickly before ticket sales really dry up and it’s no longer viable, he stands to make a huge profit, way more than the $2.5 million that he’s paying in fees. I know that everyone’s thinking he’s the victim on the far right, but it just goes to show you that if you’re a wealthy white man, even when you lose (because you’re a nasty bigot), you win.

  43. Badgerite says:

    Well, there is more to the organization than just the 16 on the team. They just don’t make an appearance on the court. But the team is still their employer. But your point it well taken.
    It isn’t just any ‘job’ we are talking about. It is taking a leadership position in an organization that can affect a lot of other lives.

  44. Indigo says:

    Sullivan would spin Mother’s Day just because spinning is all he knows.

  45. AnitaMann says:

    There’s a great opinion piece in The Nation about this. Impolite racism: we denounce overtly racist speech by guys like this and Paula Deen etc., which makes us feel good to do, while ignoring and even condoning racist acts and systemic racism because… well, that’s just the way things are.

  46. HereinDC says:

    I know some people are poo pooing that the Mozilla in no way compares to this jerk.
    I say 18,000 people had their lives severly effected….where as 16 on the team where directly effected by his actions and many more indirectly effected.

  47. kabulate says:

    John et. al @ Americablog and readers: You are onto something here that I think will resonate with broad segments of the country provided the story isn’t replaced too suddenly by something else in the news cycle. I am pushing this discussion wherever I can to urge people to think about how different the reactions have been over what in one case is hateful speech while in another it is hateful conduct. I urge you and your team to keep this discussion going and to invite other folks in the media to carry the torch, too. The hypocrisy is astounding when one thinks about it. We need to make sure plenty of folks are thinking about.


  48. goulo says:

    Coincidentally, I just read Ted Rall’s column making this point.

  49. Jimmy says:

    Damn! Gotta say I didn’t see something this strong coming from the NBA. Good for them.

  50. 4th Turning says:

    One simple request (still buzzed). Could you ban for life all photos of that nonentity and maybe
    put up V. Stiviano’s or Commissioner Adam’s instead-or the team photo even?

  51. BeccaM says:

    I feel like I’m spamming this, but…

    Eich donated to Pat Buchanan in the early 90s. Buchanan? Virulently anti-gay (among other things).

    He donated to Ron Paul in the mid 90s. Not as virulent, but still vehemently anti-gay.

    Eich donated to various GOP politicians in the 2000s, up through 2010, all of them anti-gay. Including the anti-gay Rep. Tom McClintock who, upon SCOTUS handing down their Prop 8 and DOMA decisions, called again for the ‘Federal Marriage Amendment’ to be passed, which would ban and annul same sex marriage entirely in America — and, as worded, also ban civil unions and domestic partnerships. McClintock also voted against hate-crimes protections for LGBTs in 2009 — the same time Eich was making his donations (before, during, and after).

    Circumstantially, I’d say that pretty well establishes Eich’s anti-gay (and far, far right conservative) bona-fides. I’m guessing it’s the ‘he’s a conservative’ part which earns a pass from Sullivan.

  52. JDH says:

    Andrew Sullivan just posted a pathetic rationalization of why being anti-gay is completely acceptable to him. Pathetic doesn’t even scratch the surface.

  53. Dave of the Jungle says:

    Aww. The poor putty cat fall down and hit his witto head.

  54. TampaZeke says:

    This should be a lesson to all CEOs and sports team owners. Restrict your bigotry to homophobia from now on. That way, at the very least, you can count on a vocal group of gay idiots to paint you as a victim and the people that you hurt as oppressive “Nazis”.


    So it’s NBA Gestapo that cost him because of his personal views?
    The NBA Witch Hunt that cost him because of his personal views ?
    Activist African Americans that cost him because of his personal views ?

    NO it was HIS bigoted views that he is responsible that cost him and well it should.

    So why when Eich stepped because the Mozilla’s employees revolted did the name calling ie Gay Gestapo, Gay Witch Hunt and Gay Activist begin and were to blame and not Eich for his personal views, when he stepped down ?

    John point is spot on. Lets see now fast Fox et al start defending Sterlings free speech. You won’t see it because it’s politically very unpopular.

    Apparent, by some at least, free speech and denigration of gays and that free speech is acceptable under certain circumstances,,,,,just not for gays

    Can we say hypocrites ?


  56. cole3244 says:

    as long as sterling was hurting the 99% and abusing his power over them the nba was silent but as soon as their bottom line was affected they jumped into action.

    players in the nba as in all pro sports are generally members of the gop because of their wealth and tax reasons, a party that suppresses the voting rights of minorities and the poor to hold on too power, where is the outrage there players aka hypocrites.

    once a 1% always a 1% i guess.

  57. Hue-Man says:

    Came back after checking Sullivan’s Dish on Sterling v. Eich. He believes that the Prop 8 donation didn’t display anti-gay sentiment the way that Sterling’s verbal statements were definitive about his racism…

  58. intoxination says:

    Similarly, did you see that one of Boehner’s primary opponents lost his job teaching at a Christian college? The reason was because of an ad he released about Boehner, called “electile dysfunction”. Funny, but I don’t see the right running to blast this school for firing someone over their “freedom of speech”. I guess Phil Robertson is the only one that really deserves that treatment.

  59. Hue-Man says:

    Without even remotely endorsing Sterling’s racism, I would suggest that the greater “sin” was committed by Eich who made a public statement of his hatred of gays while Sterling was presumably engaging in a private conversation (albeit with his mistress). I don’t know how the conversation came to be taped; I would be very uneasy if EVERY private conversation I have ever had became public knowledge, mainly because innocent statements could be taken out of context.

    What’s next for “privacy” and “freedom of speech”? Thought police?

  60. Indigo says:

    That works for me. Too bad we can’t enforce such righteous rulings when equal rights issues involves the gay community but it’s still a good decision. However, I can’t help but wonder how easily the board of governors can force the sale of the team, how long the legal issues will drag on, and how long Sterling will go without another offensive comment.

  61. Bob says:

    Players and probably owners sign a contract, which may or may not contain provisions about prohibiting behavior which is detrimental to the league. Also, I’m sure Sterling doesn’t need to own an NBA to survive, nor could this ownership be described as “having a job”.

  62. FLL says:

    Fined 2 million dollars and banned for life. Compare and contrast, anyone? Possible topics for a short compare and contrast essay: Jews, women, gay people.

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