Shelly Sterling's intention to hold on to the Clippers in the wake of the NBA's plan to force her husband, Donald Sterling, to sell the team has brought a strong response from Los Angeles civil rights groups, which say they will call for a boycott of the team if she does not "stand down."
Earl Ofari Hutchinson, president of the Los Angeles Urban Policy Roundtable, said in a statement that "Shelly Sterling's history of bigoted actions and racist remarks has been well-documented and is every bit as odious as her husband Donald Sterling's bigotry."
Hutchinson, along with a coalition of a dozen civil rights leaders, said that "[i]f Shelly Sterling retains ownership of the Clippers or even a presence at Clipper games and in its operations, the call by the NBA and its players for Sterling to give up ownership would be worse than a hollow victory, it would be an affront to the players and the black community."
Hutchinson said that her playing a role in operations of the team would be cause for a renewed call for a boycott of Clippers games.
Shelly Sterling has been accused in court documents of making racially charged comments to tenants of apartment buildings owned by Donald Sterling. Through her spokesperson, she denied ever doing so.
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver announced on April 29 that Donald Sterling was being fined $2.5 million and banned for life from any involvement with the NBA and Clippers, and said that he would urge NBA owners to force Sterling to sell the franchise. At the time, Silver said that the punishment was directed solely at Donald Sterling.
Three days before Silver's announcement, TMZ released a recording of what the league later confirmed was Sterling telling a female friend that he did not want her to bring black people to games. The recording was the reason behind Silver's decision to fine and ban Sterling, but he added that behavior throughout Sterling's 33-year ownership of the franchise could be considered at the time of the vote to force a sale of the team.
League owners have not yet voted on the sale of the team, which is owned by the Sterling Trust, consisting of Donald and Shelly Sterling, who told The Times on Wednesday that she intended to hold on to the franchise.