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Like Schott & Steinbrenner, Donald Sterling Cannot Be Forced Out

Just like Marge Schott and George Steinbrenner before him, Donald Sterling may be fined and suspended for an indefinite period of time but can tell the NBA to go fuck itself, along with his critics. Players may decide not to sign with the Los Angeles Clippers but the longest tenured owner in the league can hold on to the team – even under suspension.

 

Back in 1990, Steinbrenner was suspended for life for hiring Howie Spira to dig up dirt on outfielder Dave Winfield. He was reinstated three years later. Marge Schott, the colorful owner of the Cincinnati Reds, was handed down a lifetime suspension in 1996 for remarks about Adolph Hitler and ended up selling the team in 1999.

There is no doubt that new NBA commissioner Adam Silver will ask Sterling to step down, sell the team, etc. But if he says no and accepts a lifetime ban from performing day-to-day operations, then it will create a very uncomfortable situation for everyone involved.

 

For what it’s worth, Sterling  – who has been one of the worst owners in sports history – did not knowingly make these statements publicized (as Schott did) and as reprehensible as people may find them, it was during a conversation that he expected to be kept private. Besides, he did not break any laws.

 

No, he is not being given any slack here. But do his statements effect the way that he conducts business? Hypothetically speaking, if Sterling would only hire white coaches and sign/draft white players, then that would be true. Call him a racist, piece of shit…whatever you like. But it’s still his ball – and he doesn’t have to go home with it.

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