National Basketball Association Commissioner Adam Silver’s decision to ban Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling from the league for life and to impose a $2.5 million fine was the “appropriate response,” Professor Donald F. Tibbs said during an interview on FOX 40 TV in Sacramento on April 30.
Tibbs called Sterling “the worst type of owner,” because of remarks released on audiotape in which the team owner allegedly criticized his girlfriend for taking a photograph with NBA legend Magic Johnson and for publicly associating with African Americans or inviting them to Clippers games.
Comparing Sterling to a slave owner, Tibbs said, “he wants to make money off the backs of African Americans at the same time that he wants to disavow any or claim any relationships with them.“
In 2013, an estimated 81 percent of NBA players were African American or Latino.
When asked how Sterling can be forced to sell the team, Tibbs explained that NBA governance rules appear to allow the league to take the franchise away.
“He’s like the owner of any other franchise,” Tibb said, noting that Chik-fil-A could similarly strip a restaurateur of a franchise for violating a company governance rule, such as being closed on Sunday mornings.
Tibbs was also interviewed on KFBK Radio in Sacramento, where he said the biggest legal issue he perceives in the Sterling matter is the public release of a privately taped conversation.
“It may have been released illegally,” Tibbs noted, adding that Sterling has not denied making the controversial remarks. “We’ll see how that one plays out.”