NBA Charges Sterling with Damaging League, Sets Hearing Date

The NBA formally charged Donald Sterling Monday for damaging the league with his racist comments. The hearing date is set for June 3—two days before the start of the NBA Finals—after which team owners will vote on whether or not he will be allowed to maintain ownership of the L.A. Clippers, which he has owned since 1981.

The league's statement of charges also cites Sterling's impairment of relationships with both fans and merchandise partners through other conduct besides the recorded comments made to Stiviano, stating, "All of these acts provide grounds for termination under several provisions of the NBA constitution and related agreements."

Four days after the recording was released, NBA commissioner Adam Silver banned Sterling for life and fined him $2.5 million. Sterling, however, is fighting back. He has so far refused to pay the fine and last week his lawyer sent a letter to the NBA claiming that it had violated his due process rights and threatening to sue the league if it did not relent.

Sterling has until May 27 to respond to the charge, and has the right to appear at the hearing and plead his case to the board of governors. Chairman of the board Glen Taylor (Minnesota Timberwolves owner) will preside over the hearing.  

In order to force Sterling to sell the team, three-fourths of the owners must vote to sustain the charge. Commissioner Silver stated when he first announced Sterling’s ban that he believes he has the votes to force his removal.