Only two days after NBA Commissioner Adam Silver brought the hammer down on Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling for racist remarks captured during a taped conversation that was leaked to TMZ, NBA owners held their first meeting in a bid to end Sterling's ownership of the team.
The league's 10-member advisory/finance committee held a conference call Thursday to discuss "the process for termination of Donald T. Sterling's ownership of the Los Angeles Clippers," NBA executive vice president Mike Bass said in a statement, the Associated Press reports.
"The committee unanimously agreed to move forward as expeditiously as possible and will reconvene next week," he said.
Commissioner Silver on Tuesday banned Sterling for life and fined him $2.5 million. Sterling retained his ownership but can have no other interaction or association with the team or the league.
According to the league's constitution, Sterling can only be forced to sell the team if a written charge against him is filed by either Silver or another NBA owner. Sterling would have five days to respond and Silver in turn would call a conference with the NBA Board of Governors, which would hear the evidence against Sterling and vote on whether to force a sale. At least 23 out of 30 team owners, assuming that Sterling would be allowed to cast a vote, would be needed to force Sterling's hand, AP reports.
Sacramento Kings owner Vivek Ranadive hopes that there never has to be a vote.
"I don't want to talk about kind of the legal side of it because I can't really comment on it, but my feeling is that I have faith in people," Ranadive told AP. "And I would hope that at some point Mr. Sterling would come to his senses and do the right thing. That he would apologize to Magic Johnson, that he would apologize to the fans, the league, the black community and he would do the right thing and he would accept what Commissioner Silver has suggested, he would put the team up for sale and perhaps even take a very small portion of the substantial profits and donate them to a good cause.
"It's not going to be easy to own a team where the fans don't welcome you," Ranadive continued, "where the sponsors shun you and where you're not welcomed by the other owners. And I think he can do the right thing and hopefully good sense will prevail at some point."
Read more at the Associated Press.