Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban says he doesn’t support the NBA forcing Donald Sterling to sell the Los Angeles Clippers in the wake of his racism scandal.
He called it a “slippery slope” that would set a precedent for the league ousting owners because of their personal views in the future.
Cuban told the Associated Press:
“Again, there’s no excuse for his positions. There’s no excuse for what he said. There’s no excuse for anybody to support racism. There’s no place for it in our league, but there’s a very, very, very slippery slope.”
He said forcing Sterling to sell would be un-American:
“But regardless of your background, regardless of the history they have, if we’re taking something somebody said in their home and we’re trying to turn it into something that leads to you being forced to divest property in any way, shape or form, that’s not the United States of America. I don’t want to be part of that.”
Cuban’s comments are not a promising sign for those who want NBA commissioner Adam Silver to use the so-called “nuclear option” — i.e. calling on the NBA Board of Governors to terminate Sterling’s ownership.
Yahoo’s Adrian Wojnarowski reports that Silver has been “studying” the option.
But experts disagree on whether the “nuclear option” even exists in the NBA constitution, and no one thinks it will actually happen. A source told ESPN that there are “less than 1 in 100 million odds” Silver forces Sterling to sell.
In theory, though, Silver could ask the Board of Governors, which consists of the 30 league owners, to vote on terminating Sterling’s ownership.
It’d require a three-fourths majority to pass, according to ESPN legal analyst Lester Munson.
And that’s where Cuban’s comment comes into play. By voting to eliminate Sterling, NBA owners would be setting a precedent for stripping owners of their property.
No matter how strongly they feel about Sterling’s comments, you aren’t going to find 23 owners who are willing to vote against their own self-interest — creating a roadmap that future owners could use to strip them of their franchises.
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