NEW YORK (Reuters) - The National Basketball Association said Wednesday its finance committee had discussed a response from Donald Sterling about orders to sell his pro basketball team for making racist remarks, and a vote remained scheduled for next week.
The NBA’s Board of Governors will meet on June 3rd in New York City to decide whether Sterling, controlling owner of the Los Angeles Clippers for 33 years, should be forced to terminate ownership of the team.
Sterling was banned for life from the NBA after an audio recording surfaced last month in which he berated a female friend, V. Stiviano, for publicly associating with black people.
His estranged wife, Shelly, has assumed control of the Clippers as the matter works its way through the NBA.
“The Advisory/Finance Committee met again today via conference call and discussed the separate responses from Donald and Shelly Sterling to the charge to terminate their ownership interests in the Los Angeles Clippers,” said Mike Bass, Executive Vice President of Communications for the NBA.
“These documents, along with the charge, were distributed to the NBA Board of Governors,” he said. The statement gave no further details.
Sterling will get a chance to address fellow owners during the June 3rd meeting. If at least 23 of the other 29 owners vote to terminate his ownership of the franchise, the Clippers would have to be sold, the NBA said.
In a letter to the NBA obtained by the Los Angeles Times, Sterling said he believed the NBA action was illegal because it was based on a “lover’s quarrel” that was “illegally recorded.”
“This was an argument between a jealous man and the woman he loved that should never have left the privacy of the living room,” Sterling said in the letter.
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said last week he would prefer to let Donald Sterling and Shelly Sterling sell the team “on a reasonable timetable” rather than proceed with trying to forcibly terminate their ownership.
Reporting by Victoria Cavaliere; editing by Gunna Dickson