The NBA has moved to hustle LA Clippers owner Donald Sterling toward the exit with a hearing set for June 3. The league has charged Sterling with damaging the league's "diversity and inclusion" with racist remarks that surfaced last month, as well as with comments in a recent CNN interview where he claimed that African Americans do not support their communities, reports the Los Angeles Times. At the hearing, the league plans to try to convince at least three-quarters of the NBA's owners to force Sterling and his wife, Shelly, to sell the team.
Sterling's actions also "damage the NBA's relationship with its fans; harm NBA owners, players, and Clippers team personnel; and impair the NBA's relationship with marketing and merchandising partners, as well as with government and community leaders," the league said in a statement. If Sterling doesn't respond to the charges within five days, or skips the hearing, it will be deemed an admission of the "total validity of the charges as presented" under the league's constitution, ESPN notes. But Sterling has signaled that he plans to fight the charges and has already told the league he has no intention of paying the $2.5 million fine it imposed after it banned him for life. Shelly Sterling's lawyer, meanwhile, says his client is an "innocent estranged spouse" and there is no lawful basis for stripping her of her 50% interest in the Clippers.