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22 May 2014

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Frabjous

IMO the NBA and Sterling will come to some agreement b/c they have a shared interest in the value of their respective brands both of which (NBA the league and Clippers the team) will continue to devalue more the longer and the more acrimoniously this drags out.

Does either one profit by proving who has escalation dominance?

The blind fighting the ignorant!

kao_hsien_chih

A lot of it will be for the show...but NBA will be gravely embarrassed, whether they settle or not.

The whole affair seems to be the byproduct of the mindset of so many people these days: we (not literally "we" of course, but many of the 21st century Americans) demand the right not to have to see or hear things that we find offensive. In so doing, we become ever so willing to oppress the rights of the politically unpopular, and when there are groups who find different things offensive, things become comically tragic. (e.g. St. Patrick's Day parades in different cities where some people found overt gays participating in parades offensive and others found their exclusion offensive.)

nick b

I posted this in another thread, but it's worth a second look. It spells out some of the legal issues that are involved in this case, and what effects a suit by Sterling may have on his ownership of the Clippers, his lifetime ban, and the NBA and its other owners.
http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/nba/news/20140429/donald-sterling-nba-adam-silver-clippers-lawsuit-lifetime-ban/

Eric Dönges

How is this a first amendment issue ? As far as I understand the case (which is admittedly not very far), it's not the government that is punishing him for his speech, it's the NBA, so the first amendment doesn't apply.

That being said, while I can imagine the NBA could be well within their rights to withdraw the Clipper's license to play in the league, how on earth can they force him to sell the team ?

William R. Cumming

The right to sue as American as apple pie! You don't always win of course!

Will Reks

I agree that this will be messy but I think the NBA knew what they were potentially facing when they went down this road.

I also don't think they had much of a choice considering they are in the middle of the playoffs and players were considering boycotting games.

The NBA is not a poor league. They are able to match Sterling in terms of resources.

I won't make a prediction on how this will turn out but I think there's a good chance the Sterling family retains some ownership interest.

turcopolier

Eric Donges

"President Barack Obama on Sunday described comments reportedly made by the owner of the Los Angeles Clippers "incredibly offensive racist statements," before casting them as part of a continuing legacy of slavery and segregation that Americans must vigilantly fight.

"When ignorant folks want to advertise their ignorance, you don't really have to do anything, you just let them talk," Obama said when asked to respond to Donald Sterling's reported comments.

Obama's description of the controversy as part of a larger historical context is the latest example of his continuing willingness to expound on matters of race in his second term." CBS News

The president of the United States is the chief law enforcement officer of the country. the AG is merely one of his subordinates.

By pronouncing on this matter to the media Obama put the weight of the US Government behind a process against this man on the basis of his speech. pl

John Minnerath

Too much PC gone too far.
The Prez and the AG had no business getting involved, no surprise that they did.

turcopolier

JM

I had forgotten that Holder ran his mouth about this as well. That will further strengthen Sterling's case. This behavior on the part of Obama/Holder is somewhat equivalent to an exercise of "command influence" in a military criminal case. pl

nick b

Col.,
Has there been any indication thus far that Mr. Sterling will pursue his case on 1st amendment grounds? I would imagine he would pursue a case based on breach of contract and antitrust. I believe the CNN article you cited mentioned that the lawyer hired by Mr. Sterling is an antitrust lawyer.

turcopolier

nick b

I see no reason why Sterling cannot pursue as many suits as please him. pl

Tyler

Blacks versus Jews and it ain't even my birthday!

fanto

All, don't we see a double standard here? What would happen if a Black would talk about Jews in the way Sterling talks about Blacks? Would would it not be immediately probibited as 'hate speech'?

PirateLaddie

Mixed emotions, at the very least.
When one of the tribe pursues plef rather than, say knowledge or the healing arts, the first step is usually a name change -- to something like "Gold" or "Diamond." It's refreshing to see one whose arrogance and pride was limited to something as gentlemanly as "Sterling."
The whole "granting of boons" to the lords of the sports world (anti-trust exemption being only the most blatant) should be on the table as the result of this kerfluffle. One can only hope for a prolonged knife fight & my money's on the mohel.

GulfCoastPirate

All:

Doesn't this all ultimately come down to the fact that Sterling owns a franchise and not the NBA itself. Surely those who provide franchises have clauses in the paperwork so they can remove franchisees for specific reasons. How is the NBA any different than McDonald's, Burger King, etc.?

jonst

Eric, I think this could, repeat, could, become a 'first amendment' issue if the courts blunder, IMHO, and back up the NBA's corporate fiat to 'take' the team from Sterling, and his family. Period. And in the alternative, to 'take' the team from Sterling and his family below value. Because there will be two fights if the NBA proves successful 'taking' the team from the Sterling. i.e. Can you do it? If you can, at what fair price?. I think, at that point, a first amendment claim MIGHT become one defense, of many.

I think the bigger, more fascinating issue here...at least to me as a lawyer is the aggressive push by the 'players', some of them, by the talking heads on ESPN and radio talk shows on sports, and by many callers/tweeters/posters that DEMANDS that the team be taken from Sterling, and family and damn quickly too. Before the start of the next season. Quickly followed up by the claim that Sterling's resistance to fighting the takeover only exacerbates the initial'injury' he inflicted in the phone call. Usually this stuff involves someone losing a roll on a TV show or something. Or losing a job. Or an account. But this is a new and aggressive front in the PC wars. Now, here, 'emotional discomfort', by an undifferentiated mass of people, is to be soothed with economic taking as the solution. This is all getting very interesting. And into this heady mix we have the cover story in the Atlantic calling for 'reparations' (from who exactly?) to be paid (to who exactly?) for some sins of the fathers. (whose sins, exactly?) Given the increased rhetoric of Holder and Obama it will be very interesting indeed to see where this all goes. Suffice to say, I got a very bad feeling about it all. Sit back and get the popcorn.

Regards Webb and Warren? They would, on the slim chance they ran, or either of them ran, be initially portrayed as Knights on Shinning Armour out to slay a dragon. Even if they don't want to be. And those creepy types that run campaigns and media companies love nothing better than to throw mud on that wall. And they are very good at it. Not so good at actually governing...but very good at destroying. My two cents.

jonst

So, is 'McDonald's and Burger King ect' to start taking away a person's franchise (property right) because an 81 year old man, on cancer meds, long whispered to be leaning to early dementia, rambles on, incoherently, in a private conversation with a 'mistress'-- to the extent we can use even that term to dignify V--who surreptitiously, and perhaps, illegally, tapes the rant? Because if that is the standard, in a day and age where all of us are subject to our mails and conversations being captured and stored, we all can stand by for trouble.

nick b

Here's a link to the NBA's Constitution and By Laws. There is an article(13)that deals specifically with the termination of ownership or membership in the NBA. I'm not a lawyer, but it doesn't seem as though anything Mr. Sterling said or did is covered. It does mention that the decision will be made by a vote of the owners: 3/4 must vote to terminate. I can't imagine that NBA Commissioner Silver would even suggest terminating Donald Sterling's ownership if he didn't have the votes, but recent statements from Mavericks owner Mark Cuban make we wonder.

http://mediacentral.nba.com/media/mediacentral/NBA-Constitution-and-By-Laws.pdf

http://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/nba/2014/05/22/mark-cuban-mavericks-donald-sterling-racist-clippers/9427895/

Eric Dönges

Mr. Lang,

I fail to see how President Obama opining on something automatically puts the weight of the U.S. government behind what is a civil dispute between the NBA and Mr. Sterling, which will be judged on whoever can present a better argument in court (i.e. who can afford the better lawyers), not the opinion of Mr. Obama or Mr. Holder.

If I am wrong and this is a case of "command influence" as you write in your response to JM below, then I would think that your republic is in very serious trouble that goes way beyond Mr. Sterling's first amendment rights.

The Twisted Genius

Looks like Sterling signed over his controlling interest in the Clippers to his estranged wife for the stated purpose of negotiating the sale of the team. Maybe this is all part of the legal maneuvering. I'm hoping it's Sterling's way of telling the NBA to take their team, their puffed up outrage and their fines and shove it all straight up their asses. He may be a miserable old douche, but the manufactured outrage over his boneheaded comments is ridiculous. He doesn't need any of this stuff.

Fred

GCP

So I can record your private converstations without your permisson, release these to your boss and the press whereby the former may force you to sell your property and the later slander you by editing said recordings? How is that legal? If you're 'just' an employee can the company fire you based on the recordings I made and released without your permission?

turcopolier

ED

"then I would think that your republic is in very serious trouble that goes way beyond Mr. Sterling's first amendment rights." You would be correct. Obama is the chief magistrate of the US. He pronounced this man guilty without benefit of due process. pl

Fred

Col,

Yes, it seems that the position of the Executive and Legislative branches of government is that a private individual may record any converstation anywhere at any time and release this to anyone they desire. That entity (in this case TMS) can then edit that recording, release it to the public and therby force any private individual to divest themselves of owenership of a franchise?

I have to wonder what's next? I know you remember Tailgunner Joe demanding "are you now or have you ever been a member of the comunist party?" It looks like the Democratic Party now demands to know what you think in private by secretly recorded conversations.

nick b

Fred,

As twisted as it sounds, I've seen things like that happen. I can think of one instance in particular where emails were made public as part of a lawsuit. Language used in those emails, irrelevant to the suit in question, was a violation of company policy and it cost this fellow his job, he was also forced to liquidate restricted stock and was also embarrassed in the press. It happens.
Also, the laws regarding recording conversations vary from state to state. In New York, only one party need know the conversation is recorded. I saw this lead to all kinds of problems when I worked there.
If you work as an 'at will employee' you can be terminated for any reason, speech included.

nick b

Fred,

As twisted as it sounds, I've seen things like that happen. I can think of one instance in particular where emails were made public as part of a lawsuit. Language used in those emails, irrelevant to the suit in question, was a violation of company policy and it cost this fellow his job, he was forced to liquidate company stock and was also embarrassed in the press. It happens.
Also, the laws regarding recording conversations vary from state to state. In New York, only one party need know the conversation is recorded. I saw this lead to all kinds of problems when I worked there.
If you work as an 'at will employee' you can be terminated for any reason, speech included. I got myself fired once for flipping someone the bird. My right to free speech didn't save me.

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