NBA charges Donald Sterling, moves to terminate ownership

Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling puts his hand over his face as he sits courtside with his wife Shelly while the Clippers trail the Chicago Bulls in the second half of their NBA basketball game in Los Angeles in this Dec. 30, 2011, file photo. DANNY MOLOSHOK, REUTERS

Last Updated May 19, 2014 10:00 PM EDT

NEW YORK -- The NBA charged Donald Sterling on Monday with damaging the league and its teams by making racist comments, setting up a hearing planned for June 3 after which owners could vote to terminate his ownership of the Los Angeles Clippers.

The league also said the banned owner has engaged in other conduct that has impaired its relationship with fans and merchandising partners.

"All of these acts provide grounds for termination under several provisions of the NBA constitution and related agreements," the league said in a statement.

Sterling was banned for life and fined $2.5 million by Commissioner Adam Silver after the release of a recording in which he made racist remarks. He has until May 27 to respond to the charge, and the right to appear at the hearing and make a presentation in front of the board of governors.

Sterling's attorney, Maxwell Blecher, asked for a three-month delay in response to the charge, SI.com and The Associated Press reported. The league will not grant it, the AP said, citing a person with knowledge of the situation.

Minnesota Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor, the board chairman, will preside over the hearing in New York, which is planned for two days before the start of the NBA Finals. If three-quarters of the other 29 owners vote to sustain the charge, Sterling will be forced to sell the team he has owned since 1981.

CBSSports.com's Ken Berger notes that a provision in the league's constitution cites failure to pay "any dues or other indebtedness" within 30 days of written notice by the commissioner of default as grounds for ownership termination by itself.

Sterling told a female friend, V. Stiviano, not to bring blacks to Clipper games during their conversation that was recorded. Sterling specifically mentioned Magic Johnson, then criticized the NBA Hall of Famer again as a poor model during a recent interview with CNN.

"Among other things, Mr. Sterling disparaged African-Americans and "minorities"; directed a female acquaintance not to associate publicly with African-Americans or to bring African-Americans to Clippers games; and criticized African-Americans for not supporting their communities," the NBA said.

The league also accused Sterling of issuing a "false and misleading press statement about this matter."

CBS News confirmed that Sterling's lawyer, Blecher, wrote a letter to Rick Buchanan, the NBA's executive vice president and general counsel, threatening to sue the league and saying Sterling will not pay the $2.5 million fine. Blecher said his client did nothing wrong.

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