As the NBA continues to bulldoze through the controversy and fresh wounds left behind by the comments made by Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling, it’s likely a very important decision rests on the shoulders of the league’s other owners concerning Sterling and whether he should be forced to sell his team. With that vote looming on the horizon, it is vitally important each owner, and the committee as a whole, keeps the ballots private and out of the public eye.
Commissioner Adam Silver has already said he expects full support from NBA owners as he pushes for Sterling’s forced sale of the team, and a number of owners have already publicly supported Silver’s decision and said they also expect full support. The NBA’s 10-member advisory-finance committee met via conference call on Thursday to discuss the process of Sterling’s termination.
“The committee unanimously agreed to move forward as expeditiously as possible and will reconvene next week,” a statement from the league office read.
This means 22 of the 29 other league owners — or a three-fourths approval — is required to oust Sterling. It would be truly shocking if that necessary mark was not met, but that’s not the largest issue we could be dealing with through this process. What if an owner doesn’t think the NBA should be able to force Sterling to sell his team, possibly for a price less than the market value? If that ballot goes public, the backlash would almost be as strong as the one experienced with the original problem, and we take a monstrous leap in the wrong direction.
While the three-quarter approval mark is expected, I don’t think it would be incredibly shocking if an owner went against the general tide, especially if they know their vote won’t be made public. Of course, that’s a matter of personal opinion, but the potential issue remains the same.
If a certain owner should decide to not vote for the forced sale of Sterling’s team, how might that be taken by the league, the team’s fans or the players and coaches? Surely that vote would come along with some justification, but there’s no telling how it would be received by the general public. I think it’s safe to say it wouldn’t be a positive reaction, though.
That’s why it is important these votes be kept secret and out of sight for the general public. So long as that three-quarter approval mark is met by the owners, and nobody comes out and publicly supports Sterling, the greatest argument anyone could have is speculation of who possibly could have voted the opposite way. And if that’s the worst that comes of this specific fragment of this circus, chalk it up as a win.