Several NBA owners prepared to tell Sterling to sell Clippers

Some NBA owners are prepared to tell Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling that he must sell the team, according to CBS News analyst Frank Luntz.

Sterling has been banned for life by the NBA in response to racist comments the league says he made in a recorded conversation.

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said he would call on the owners to vote to force Sterling to sell the team, which would require three-quarters approval. Sterling has also been fined $2.5 million.

Luntz, who has been in contact with several NBA owners since the story broke, said, "They're angry that they're put into this situation. They don't want any divisions between themselves and the players. They feel that this is an embarrassment to the game, to the league and, frankly, to the country.

"What's interesting is that they're crediting the players for how well they've behaved, that they were going to challenge Sterling directly, that they were not going to play the games last night if Adam Silver had not taken his position," Luntz continued. "And there's a phrase that Silver used that the owners particularly appreciated - that he will do everything within his power - which recognizes that the owners themselves have to make the decision what happens to Donald Sterling - and they're prepared to tell him, 'You have to sell the team.'"


Looking at the crisis, Luntz noted there are "two great contrasts" in how it was handled.

"You've got the Clippers, who put out a statement on behalf of the owner. ... But he's not acknowledged culpability, and he allows the team to speak for him. Fans, Americans in general, think that, frankly, that's pathetic," Luntz said.

Luntz said the best comment he's seen so far on the crisis comes from Garrett Temple of the Washington Wizards. He said, "We're more than basketball players. We're human beings first and foremost."

Temple's words, Luntz remarked, personalize what has happened.

"In the end, everybody is following this, whether or not you like basketball, because this is a discussion of public behavior, of race relations and where things stand in this country," Luntz said. "So far it looks like it's going to be resolved in a way that virtually every American would approve - that this is unacceptable, intolerable, it will be significant, permanent consequences, and in the end, we're actually, perhaps, even more unified as a country than if this had not happened."

  • Amanda Cochran

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