Seriously, NBA? Claiming a Morals Clause Will Oust Sterling?

Published on 08-May-2014 by Stacey Mickles
Basketball - NBA / NBA Daily Update

Shelly and Donald Sterling

While Donald Sterling is reportedly lawyering up to sue the NBA for kicking him out of their circles, the league already has their strategy planned.

Reportedly, the NBA plans on using the morals clause against Sterling.

Commissioner Adam Silver claims there's language in league contracts signed by each owner that prevents Sterling from expressing views or taking actions that are detrimental to the league.

If so, his attorneys will most likely need to bend light to make that stick.

The dude's unquestionably a villain, but as the public will ultimately see, the courtroom argument over a billion-dollar property will be much more in depth than the tabloid coverage we've seen so far.

Right now, the league is taking steps to find a temporary CEO to look after the team until this matter is solved which may take awhile.

Another element in all of this is whether Sterling's wife -- or soon-to-be ex-wife -- Shelly wants to launch a separate fight to keep the team.

 “I have been co-owner since 1981,” Shelly Sterling said in a statement Wednesday. “During those 33 years, I have been a diehard fan even when the team was in the basement of the league. Now that all of our hard work is paying off, I want to celebrate the success that we are finally achieving.”

Well, we'll see. In reality, a trust established by the Sterling family owns the team. Legally speaking, that's a separate entity from any of them. This could be another thorny issue when all is said and done.

Long story short, the NBA might have over-reached on this one.

Not only will the league have to show intent regarding Sterling's actions -- a dicey proposition at best -- it's dealing right into his wheelhouse. He's a billionaire because he knows his way around corporate law, and while his personal beliefs may be repugnant, it could be difficult translating them into establishing sufficient financial damage to warrant jerking a franchise. Losing a few local sponsors and season-ticket holders isn't going to cut it, given the market value of the Clippers.

The most likely scenario will be some sort of settlement after all the raw nerve endings have had a chance to recover. It's the best way for both sides to save big bucks, and when all is said and done, that's what all this is going to wind up being about.

Sad, but true.

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