Not even Donald Sterling's own daughter or son-in-law is on his side. Both have made statements to TMZ: Joanna Sterling Miller calls her father's alleged racist comments "cruel and insensitive," and her husband Eric Miller—who also happens to work for Sterling's LA Clippers as director of basketball administration—says, "I find the statements and representations made by the Clippers' team owner to be deplorable and disgusting. There is no room in sports or society in general, for racism." He goes on to say that if he ends up getting fired for speaking out, that will be "a small price to pay." Sterling's wife also recently told ESPN she does not "condone" the remarks, the New York Times reports, and the Los Angeles Times notes that more than a dozen sponsors have also ditched the team.
Miller also says he's sure NBA Commissioner Adam Silver "will deal with this matter swiftly and severely," and Silver's decision on punishment for Sterling is expected today, the LA Times reports. But one sports law expert says that punishment could be limited to a suspension and a fine, though that fine could hit $1 million. NBA owners can be expelled, but generally only if they gamble on a team, fix a game, or can no longer afford to run their team. Another sports law expert suggests the NBA could suspend Sterling for as long as two years while pressuring him to sell the Clippers. The New York Times agrees that type of pressure, particularly from the "new guard" of NBA owners, could work. One owner has suggested Silver make all of the Clippers players free agents. (As it stands now, Clippers players would not be allowed to void their contracts in order to exit the team.) A host of other "what happens now?" stories from sources including NPR, ESPN, and Time agree that Sterling is likely facing suspension, not expulsion. But first the tape of Sterling's alleged rant must be verified, and according to TMZ's sources, NBA lawyers are convinced the audio is legitimate.