NBAPA Executive: LeBron James To Lead Player Boycott Next Season If Sterling Still Owns Clippers
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CLEVELAND (CBS Cleveland/AP) — Miami Heat superstar LeBron James is willing to lead a boycott of NBA players next season if Donald Sterling still owns the Los Angeles Clippers following his racist comments.
NBA Players Association Vice President Roger Mason Jr. said that James is willing to sit at the start of the 2014-15 season if Sterling is still running the Clippers.
“I was just in the locker room 3, 4 days ago. LeBron and I talked about it – he ain’t playing if Sterling is still an owner,” Mason told “Jim Rome on Showtime.”
The full interview will air Wednesday.
The former Cleveland Cavaliers player has been one of the strongest voices to speak out after a recording of Sterling’s remarks to V. Stiviano were posted on TMZ’s website last month, saying the comments were unacceptable and that there was no place in the league for Sterling.
“At the end of the day, this is going to be a long litigation when it comes to that,” James said. “This guy who’s owned the team since the ’80s is not going to just give the team up in a day. So we understand it’s going to be long, but we want what’s right.”
James stated that he doesn’t want any Sterling owning the Clippers.
“As players, we want what’s right and we don’t feel like no one in his family should be able to own the team,” James said.
Shelly Sterling, Sterling’s estranged wife, said she intends to keep her 50 percent of the franchise.
She told ABC News’ Barbara Walters that she doesn’t believe she should be punished for what her husband said.
“I will fight that decision,” she said in the interview. “To be honest with you, I’m wondering if a wife of one of the owners, and there’s 30 owners, did something like that, said those racial slurs, would they oust the husband? Or would they leave the husband in?”
Donald Sterling has been banned for life for making racist comments and Commissioner Adam Silver has urged owners to force Sterling to sell the franchise. While Silver has said no decisions had been made about the rest of Sterling’s family, NBA spokesman Mike Bass released a statement Sunday night clarifying the league’s authority in the matter.
“Under the NBA constitution, if a controlling owner’s interest is terminated by a three-quarter vote, all other team owners’ interests are automatically terminated as well,” Bass said. “It doesn’t matter whether the owners are related as is the case here. These are the rules to which all NBA owners agreed to as a condition of owning their team.”
NBA Hall of Famer Magic Johnson has also called for Sterling’s ouster.
“He’s living in the stone ages,” Johnson said in an interview that aired Tuesday with CNN’s Anderson Cooper, a day after Sterling made his first public comments since racist recordings emerged last month and earned him a lifetime NBA ban. “You can’t make those comments about African-Americans and Latinos. You just can’t do it.”
In Sterling’s interview with Cooper, Sterling repeatedly brought up the ex-NBA star’s HIV and called him an unfit role model for children.
On Tuesday Sterling’s fellow owners in the league’s advisory/finance committee met via conference call, discussed the CNN interview and reviewed the status of the charge for termination of the Clippers’ ownership.
Silver or an owner has to formally charge Sterling in writing with violating Article 13 of the NBA’s constitution. A hearing would then be held and require a three-fourths vote of the board of governors to force Sterling to sell the team he has owned since 1981.
(TM and © Copyright 2014 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2014 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)