Everyone needs to be punished for Donald Sterling's bigotry - NBA owners, coaches, players and fans.
The NBA should have a zero-tolerance policy on bigotry so the authenticity of the TMZ recording is irrelevant. The NBA, its owners, players, executives, coaches and fans allowed the bigot Donald Sterling to profit from owning an NBA team far too long. See this blog for some of his previous incidents.
In the interest of demonstrating zero-tolerance, here's what I would do about Donald Sterling if I were NBA commissioner.
Punishment for Sterling & the Owners
First, the NBA buys the Clippers franchise back from Sterling for the $12.5 million he paid for it. That's his punishment. He forfeits the $575 million he could've gotten if he sold the team.
Second, the NBA sells the Clippers franchise to an afrikan-american majority ownership group for $12.5 million. NBA owners pay Sterling fair market value for any team property he owned like the new practice facility, private plane, equipment, etc. The new ownership group can buy this property from the NBA at the price the owners paid for it. The NBA pays any licensing costs associated with changing the franchise name and logo from Clippers to whatever the new ownership group chooses.
Third, the NBA and its owners pay 50% of any buyouts for existing personnel contracts with the Clippers franchise. Any personnel the new ownership group doesn't want to keep (e.g. front office staff, coaches, players, etc.) they buyout and the NBA helps foot the bill.
That's the owners' punishment. They pay the price for allowing Sterling to operate in their league for over 30 years and embrace the league's 2nd afrikan-american ownership group.
Punishment for Players, Coaches and Fans
Since the players, coaches and fans don't have the moral fortitude to boycott playing, coaching and rooting for a bigot's team, the league office will be moral for them, in the interest of zero-tolerance.
The remaining Clippers home games in the first round playoff series against the Golden State Warriors are forfeit. The Clippers now trail 3-2 in the series.
Fans will be refunded any money paid for tickets to the Clippers home games in the first round of the playoffs. Players and coaches can keep their shares of the NBA playoff pool.
This sends a strong message of zero-tolerance for bigotry, which is what the NBA, the Coaches Association and the National Basketball Players Association should demand from everyone in the league.
What would you do if you were the NBA commissioner?