NEW YORK (JTA) — The National Basketball Association filed paperwork to terminate Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling of all ownership rights in the franchise.
Sterling has until May 27 to respond to Monday’s filing. He will be allowed to make a presentation at a special Board of Governors meeting on June 3, CNN reported.
The 80-year-old Jewish lawyer and billionaire real estate investor, who was recorded making racist comments to his girlfriend, is fighting a $2.5 million fine and a lifetime ban imposed by NBA Commissioner Adam Silver.
In the recorded conversation and in subsequent interviews, Sterling has mentioned Jewish issues. In a recent interview with CNN’s Anderson Cooper, he criticized wealthy African-Americans for not being as generous as American Jews and praised Jews for establishing Hebrew free loan societies.
According to CNN, some owners said privately — and Mavericks owner Mark Cuban said publicly — that the interview has made them more resolute about voting out Sterling.
Citing recent interviews with NBA insiders, a CNN reporter told Cooper, “If there were any owners who were concerned about should we be kicking someone out for a private tape, [they] now feel more comfortable. Because Donald Sterling went on television with you and made statements that were abhorrent to so many people, they feel as if they are on much firmer ground to kick him out.”
Sterling has owned the Clippers since 1981.