Angeles Clippers President Takes Leave After Owner Banned
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[May 07, 2014]
By Steve Gorman
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Los Angeles
Clippers President Andy Roeser has taken an indefinite leave of absence
a week after the National Basketball Association moved to expel his
boss, team owner Donald Sterling, for making racist comments, the NBA
said on Tuesday.
Roeser's leave, effective immediately, marked the latest in a
flurry of action paving the way for the league to install new
management for the team and to force its sale, as urged by NBA
Commissioner Adam Silver on April 29 when he declared Sterling
banned for life.
The NBA initiated the process on Thursday when a committee of 10
fellow team owners or their representatives voted unanimously to
proceed "as expeditiously as possible" to terminate Sterling's
On Saturday, the league said it planned to appoint a chief executive
officer to supervise day-to-day operations of the Clippers while
plans were drawn up for selling the franchise.
Roeser's departure "will provide an opportunity for a new CEO to
begin on a clean slate and for the team to stabilize under difficult
circumstances," the NBA said in a statement announcing the latest
One of the longest-tenured executives in the NBA, Roeser, 54, joined
the Clippers in 1984, the year the team moved from San Diego to Los
Angeles. He was in charge of the club's business operations since
1986, his official biography says.
He assumed the role of team president in 2007 and also served as an
NBA "alternate governor," meaning he could act as Sterling's proxy
on the league's governing board of team owners.
Whether Roeser placed himself on leave or was pressured to do so,
"stepping aside was probably the right thing to do," said Paul
Swangard, managing director of the University of Oregon's Warsaw
Sports Marketing Center.
"There's certainly some risk (to the NBA) that a lame-duck executive
could choose to operate the franchise in a way that's counter to the
league's wishes" pending a sale, he said.
Sterling, 80, who has owned the team for 33 years, came under fire
on April 25 when the website TMZ.com posted an audio recording with
a voice said to be his making derogatory remarks about black people.
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The first official statement from the team about the tape was
released the following day, in which Roeser questioned whether the
recording was legitimate or had been doctored and said the tape did
not reflect Sterling's views or feelings.
Three days later, under a firestorm of outrage from players, fans
and commercial sponsors, Silver fined Sterling $2.5 million and
banned him from pro basketball, saying Sterling had acknowledged to
the NBA that the recording was authentic and had not offered an
Silver also called on the league's 29 other owners to take the
unprecedented step under the NBA's constitution and bylaws of
forcing Sterling to relinquish ownership of the Clippers. Such a
move requires a three-fourths majority of the board.
Sterling has not spoken publicly about the scandal. But legal
experts have said they do not expect him to give up the team, which
he purchased in 1981 for $13 million when it was based in San Diego,
without a fight. Experts have estimated the franchise could now be
worth as much as $1 billion.
(Reporting by Steve Gorman; Editing by Cynthia Johnston, Eric Walsh
and Cynthia Osterman)
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