Al Sharpton, civil rights leaders to meet with NBA about Donald Sterling

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Rev. Al Sharpton and other civil rights leaders will meet with NBA Commissioner Adam Silver next week to discuss Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling’s permanent removal from the NBA and the Clippers organization.

Sharpton told theGrio.com he will be joined by the Marc Morial, president of the National Urban League and the NAACP’s newly elected president Cornell Brooks.

The NAACP’s acting president Lorraine Miller will also be in attendance.

While he is still technically the Clippers owner, Sterling has been banned from all NBA activities and fined $2.5 million for racist comments he made, which leaked to the public last month.

The NBA charged Sterling earlier this week with damaging the league and its teams. The charges set up a meeting for June 3, during which owners will vote and Sterling’s ownership of the Clippers could be terminated.

“[Owners] should know that we expect them to vote unequivocally to permanently remove him,” Sharpton said to theGrio.com’s Carrie Healey. “This would be the official vote — that the civil rights community would in no way, shape or form want to see them back down off of this, including engaging whatever litigation that Sterling decides to do. Whatever it takes, by any means necessary, Sterling must go.”

The civil rights icon added that they want to see Sterling’s wife, Shelly, and any other family member removed from ownership as well.

During next week’s meeting, they will also address the NBA’s plan to ensure that there are not current or future owners that harbor views similar to Sterling.

As a final talking point, Sharpton said they plan to discuss black ownership and business leaders in the NBA.

“Why do we only have one black owner?” he questioned. “Why don’t we have a lot of blacks on the business side procuring contracts and all?”

In the event that Sterling is not removed from ownership, Sharpton said he is prepared to lead boycotts and other demonstrations at Clippers games.

He added that he is not ruling anything out until after the owners’ meeting.

If Sterling is forced to sell, he stands to potentially make hundreds of millions of dollars.

“I think that we can’t do anything about him making money,” Sharpton said. “We can do something about him holding a brand and a coveted NBA title. The humiliation and the example that he will become far outweighs the money he makes. He’s already a multimillionaire. He makes another few million, that’s not going to change his lifestyle, but if he stayed in that position it would change ours — because it would mean that racism is acceptable.”

The Reverend said he is hopeful next Wednesday’s meeting with Silver will be productive.

“We expect a healthy discussion, and it’ll be the first that [Silver’s] had with major black leaders since this whole Sterling thing occurred,” he said. “Until Sterling is officially out, we will officially be all over this issue.”

Follow Carrie Healey on Twitter @CarrieHeals