A person would have to be living under a rock not to hear about how former Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling lost control of his team. Whether you agree with the NBA taking away the franchise from Sterling based on racist comments that were said in the privacy of his own home or you believe he is being wrongfully treated is irrelevant because the league has essentially accomplished what they set out to do. We are all aware of why the Clippers will fall under new ownership, but what was the final reason why Sterling lost control of the franchise?
“The Sterling Family Trust had rules & guidelines about mental incapacitation. Very recently, Donald was found by experts to be incapacitated,” ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne tweeted late last night.
Basically, Sterling’s wife, Shelly Sterling, was given 100 percent control of negotiations on behalf of the Clippers after experts concluded Sterling has been mentally unfit to move forward in discussions. That allowed Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer to agree to a $2 billion purchase of the team. Even though Ballmer is not yet the official owner because the deal has yet to be finalized, it is nearly a guarantee that the NBA owners will approve the transaction.
So, how is the NBA allowed to go through with the transfer of ownership?
Sterling didn’t commit a state or federal crime. In fact, it was his girlfriend, V. Stiviano, who could be convicted of that if anyone cares to notice that she illegally recorded a conversation with Sterling. What the 80-year-old did do is break several bylaws that had been previously established by the NBA. League commissioner Adam Silver has found Sterling guilty of criticizing African-Americans for not supporting their communities, disparaging African-Americans and minorities, and directing a female acquaintance not to associate publicly with African-Americans or to bring African-Americans to Clippers games.
Even though it may not seem entirely fair, the NBA is a billion-dollar business that plays by their own rules. Break any one of those rules and the rest of the league will hunt down the person responsible.
At this point, it would be a shock if Sterling didn’t fight his wife in court over the sale, which could definitely sidetrack the transfer of ownership. However, it does not appear anything will be able to prevent the NBA from getting their way. That means the Clippers will be in good hands as Ballmer is a big-time basketball fan and someone with the perfect mind to take Los Angeles to the next level.