Donald Sterling's Wife Thinks The NBA Is Sexist For Forcing Her To Sell Her Clippers Share, But She's Wrong
In the aftermath of Donald Sterling's racist rant, another person is suffering all the consequences without having done a thing. Shelly Sterling, estranged wife of the fallen Los Angeles Clippers owner, sat down for an interview with the Today show that aired Monday, in which Shelly claimed the NBA is sexist. Shelly owns a 50 percent stake in the Clippers, which the NBA is now forcing her to sell in an attempt to wash its hands of all its associations with Donald. And no, this isn't fair.
"I wholly feel that I’ve done nothing wrong," Shelly told Today's Savannah Guthrie.
Shelly asked Guthrie, "Why am I the victim when he's the perpetrator? If somebody killed somebody, does the wife have to stand trial too?"
Just two days ago, Shelly was bracing for what decision the NBA would throw her way. She sat down with Barbara Walters for an interview Sunday, in which she said, "I will fight that decision" in regard to being forced to sell her half of the Clippers. She added: "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?"
She also called the Clippers franchise her "passion," and her "legacy to [her] family."
After the interview, the NBA released the following statement:
Under the NBA Constitution, if a controlling owner's interest is terminated by a 3/4 vote, all other team owners' interests are automatically terminated as well. 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.
Shelly and her lawyer, Pierce O'Donnell, released a statement of their own.
We do not agree with the league's self-serving interpretation of its constitution, its application to Shelly Sterling or its validity under these unique circumstances. We live in a nation of laws. California law and the United States Constitution trump any such interpretation.
Sure, the NBA's rule (and its Constitution) may come off as self-serving — might that be why they created it? — but it's not sexist, per se. Unjust, maybe, but not sexist. If Shelly were Donald's son in this case, according to the NBA Constitution, Donald Jr. would be stripped of his stake as well.
It's safe to assume that the NBA, and professional sports in general, are boys' clubs. And therefore, men are more likely to be favored under its myriad business practices and traditions — traditions that might encourage and perpetuate sexism. But it also may be that Shelly is throwing claims of sexism around to help build her case for the team she loves.
Either way, it's absolutely understandable for Shelly to be furious and her fight is warranted. She's been part of the franchise for decades and she did nothing wrong. "I've been with the team for 33 years, through the good times and the bad times," she told Walters.Possibly, that's just one more reason not to label the league's decision as sexism.