Opinion
Join The Times' book club. This month's selection: "Cadillac Desert"
Opinion Editorial
Editorial

Donald Sterling should give up the 'long war' over Clippers

The Clippers and Los Angeles desperately need a new, post-Sterling era
So long, Donald Sterling, it's time for you and the Clippers to part ways

Back in May, the controversy over Donald Sterling's ownership of the L.A. Clippers suddenly morphed from a dispute between Sterling and the NBA over his offensive racial comments into a bitter legal squabble between Sterling and his wife over whether he is mentally incompetent. For the moment, at least, the latter issue appears settled. A Los Angeles County judge's ruling Monday that Shelly Sterling acted properly when she removed her husband from the family trust that owns the team paves the way for what the team and the city it represents desperately need: new ownership.

Donald Sterling's racist rant, captured on a voice tape, disgraced him, embarrassed the NBA and prompted the team's coach to threaten to leave if Sterling remained. Sterling's remarks were even more bizarre given that more than three-quarters of the team and the league are black. All in all, he made a fool of himself, and it would be good for the city and the league if the team were sold.

All marital property fights that reach the courtroom — and especially those that receive significant media coverage — are nasty, cringe-inducing and a little sad. This one is no different. It's unfortunate that the sale of the team had to involve such an emotional showdown, one in which he called her a “pig” in front of the judge, and she argued publicly that he was exhibiting signs of dementia that made him unfit to run the family trust. If they had been able to handle this personal dispute themselves, the city would have been spared an unseemly display.

Now the court has ruled that Shelly Sterling did have the authority to sell the Clippers to former Microsoft Chief Executive Steve Ballmer, even without her husband's approval. In fact, the judge found Ballmer's offer of $2 billion — a record price for an NBA team — so valuable to the Sterling trust that he granted an order giving Shelly Sterling the right to continue formalizing the sale, even if her husband files an appeal, to protect the trust from losing the offer.

That was a smart move on the judge's part, but it is unlikely to stop the litigious Donald Sterling from appealing anyway — and moving forward on two other lawsuits he has filed in federal and state courts in an effort to hold up the sale. “This is one stage of a long war,” one of his lawyers was quoted saying.

As if the Clippers haven't been through a long enough war with Donald Sterling. We wish he would give up that fight and let the Clippers look forward to a new era in ownership.

Follow the Opinion section on Twitter @latimesopinion

Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times
Related Content
  • Don't hide L.A. County's legal bills

    Don't hide L.A. County's legal bills

    Los Angeles County pays a lot of money to private law firms to defend against lawsuits brought by people who assert they were beaten, mistreated or abused while in custody, especially in the county's notorious jails. In order to adequately assess how well the county's sheriff and Board of Supervisors...

  • The false populism of George Pataki

    The false populism of George Pataki

    I keep thinking we're done with George Pataki — but like an order of bad clams, he keeps coming back up on me.

  • A hazy ruling on abusive speech from the Supreme Court

    A hazy ruling on abusive speech from the Supreme Court

    In overturning the conviction of a man who posted violent "rap lyrics" about his estranged wife and others on Facebook, the Supreme Court on Monday rightly made it harder to criminalize hateful speech. But the decision stopped short of requiring that prosecutors prove that a defendant intended...

  • Will Gawker go union?

    Will Gawker go union?

    As union membership declines, even modest unionization efforts take on symbolic importance. Each case seems like a sign of things to come. Success or failure at the individual level seems to portend success or failure for the broader movement.

  • California agriculture: It's worth the water

    California agriculture: It's worth the water

    Pundits here in drought-stricken California have become fond of proclaiming that farms consume 80% of the state's water and generate only about 2% of its gross domestic product. "Why devote so much of our water to an industry that contributes so little fuel to our economic engine?" they ask.

  • Legalize lane-splitting, with some caveats

    Legalize lane-splitting, with some caveats

    On the face of it, it seems absolutely insane to allow motorcycles to ignore the lanes on the road and to whiz past cars by going between them. What if the biker misjudges and hits a car because he's too close on one side or another? What if a car moves a little to the left or right — still staying...

Comments
Loading