May 5th, 2014
05:00 PM ET
8 months ago

Poll: Should Donald Sterling be forced to sell his team?

(CNN) - A new national poll indicates Americans are split over whether NBA owners should force Donald Sterling to sell the Los Angeles Clippers after racial comments he made became public.

According to the CNN/ORC International poll released Monday, 47% of the public supports a forced sell of the team, while 50% are against it.

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver announced last week he would find Sterling $2.5 million and ban him from the league for life. Silver also said he would work with the NBA's other owners to urge Sterling to sell.

While 47% of all Americans think Sterling should be forced to give up his team, that number changes when the poll focuses on people who identify themselves as NBA fans. Sixty-percent of those who describe themselves as fans of professional basketball support stripping the team of its owner, compared to 41% who are not fans of the NBA.

Overall, two-thirds of all Americans say that race relations in the U.S. are good, although fewer than one in 10 would describe relations as very good. There is little different between white and non-white on the issue, with 67% of whites saying race relations are good and 66% of non-whites saying the same thing.

It's worth noting that too few blacks, Latinos or Asians are in the sample to show results for individual non-white groups.

"Generally speaking, the number of Americans who say that race relations are good is much higher than in the first few years of the 21st century, and quite a bit higher than in the 1990s," said CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. "But that number has also been on the decline since 2009."

The poll comes after a CBS News/New York Times survey released on Friday indicated 49% of Americans think Sterling should sell the Clippers, while 40% think he should not. The survey showed that many Americans express hesitation about punishing people based on private conversations that are later made public. According to the survey, 50% think it's unacceptable, while 42% think it's OK.

If Sterling does sell the team, he'd profit considerably. He bought the Clippers for $12 million in 1981, and the team is now worth $575 million, according to Forbes magazine.

The Clippers will face the Oklahoma City Thunder on Monday in the Western Conference semifinals.

The survey was conducted May 2-4 for CNN by ORC International, with 1,008 adult nationwide – including 307 fans of professional basketball – questioned by telephone. The sampling error among adult Americans is plus or minus three percentage points, while the sampling error among NBA fans 5.5 percentage points.

CNN's Ashley Killough contributed to this story.


Filed under: Polls
soundoff (354 Responses)
  1. Jose

    they should let him keep the team... But no one should attend any of games making him feel where it's going to really hurt him.. if he's forced to sell he will make BILLIONS!!!!!!!

    May 5, 2014 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  2. Dick McCallson

    I would think he would want to at this point. He's become an albatross to the team. Besides, he stands to make several hundred millions of dollars on the sale. Take the money and run, Donald.

    May 5, 2014 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  3. Joe

    No he should not be forced to sell. What he said was in the privacy of his own home, not in a public place. How many of us have said and done things at home that would not or should not do or say in public?

    May 5, 2014 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  4. Donkeys1

    Wow really people What about the spike lee's and Magic Johnson that dont like white people. I grew up with Magic Johnson being my favorite player only to realize he is a true racist

    May 5, 2014 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  5. WizardG

    If they can take away his possessions for stating his racist bigotry why can't they take away their own possessions as well?

    May 5, 2014 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  6. Tim C

    We all are guilty of prejudices and this country still allows freedom of speech. However, he is in a position that must be politically correct at all times. What he stated was in a private moment that was capitalized by a woman trying to get fame in whatever manner that suited her. I do not think that he should have to sell the team, but must sell his majority standing to other interested parties and not take a leadership role with the team. The fans have the upper hand and should boycott the team until he either sells out his majority ownership or outright sells the team.

    May 5, 2014 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  7. Jane

    No, he should be forced to give it away, LOL

    May 5, 2014 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  8. harvey banks

    In one word NO!

    May 5, 2014 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  9. Jesse

    First off are the remarks actually racist?! The remarks were ignorant, disrespectful, and out of touch with reality.

    Second this weirdo is contradicting himself by hanging out with black people. Now maybe because his ex gf is hanging out with other dudes in HIS arena with other guys got him upset. Even she felt he wasn't racist.

    Now is the league and commissioner ready for a legal battle? While their rules allow him to be fined and possibly sell the team; they can not actually force him. If he protests the contracts and decision only the courts can decide.

    May 5, 2014 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  10. Badbob

    Not one person should have that much power or guilt. Nobody in this life is a saint and everybody makes mistakes and no matter what anybody says, people say what they mean even if they apologize after.

    May 5, 2014 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  11. Pat

    Okay, he said something in private and someone breaking the law opened it to the public. It is against the law to record someone without the other party being aware of it. Change are being made but Like it or not, the older generation used to talk this way.

    May 5, 2014 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  12. Lars

    Political junkies and the creator of the "Should Donald Sterling be forced to sell his team" poll have no shame....How insulting must Sterling be towards the Black Community before he must be confronted with public outrage that hits him where in will hurt to most....his pocket.

    Let the bigot take his marbles and go home to his whatever......he can no longer live of the talents of those players and others whom he has insulted with his narrow mindedness about people different than himself.

    We can expect most to forgive young fools for their transgressions, but old fools such as Donald Sterling is clearly another matter altogether.

    May 5, 2014 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  13. Connie Schmidt

    This is America he should not have to sell the team but there needs to be some kind of compensation to all people for this, we are all just people and deserve respect, why not poll what he needs to do to show he is truly sorry and just human we all make mistakes .

    May 5, 2014 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  14. Mario R.

    I'm not an attorney, but in the court of law, the argument will be – why does he have to sell the team? Because he said this on tape that was made without his knowledge, your honor... Other than the tape, which I believe will not be admissible in court, what does the NBA have? However, the NBA is a corporation or a company that have its own bylaws. Also, it will not be in the best interest of Sterling to fight and win to keep the team, sponsors and players will flee again..

    May 5, 2014 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  15. mmm

    Keep the team and send g.f. to daddy!

    May 5, 2014 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  16. BL

    Sure he should....right after Snoop, Jayzee, and all the rest are forced to sell their rap "music" interests.

    Actually I say no, because if he keeps it he will be hurt in the wallet when his players and fans drop him like a hot rock.
    Free market is ALWAYS a better teacher than lawyers and politicians.

    May 5, 2014 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  17. esquirexii

    The NBA owner's governing body is a private organization. It is governed by its bylaws. We have no more say in it than we have as to whether a religious leader should be defrocked for conduct detrimental to the faithful. It is simply none of our business.

    May 5, 2014 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  18. jynx777

    I'm still waiting to see what the punishment is for the person who records and publicizes a private conversation. I don't by any means agree with what he said, but he has freedom of speech, and especially in a private conversation. I am appalled that the underhanded actions of a married man's mistress are even acknowledged, much less acted upon. In my opinion he is a pig, but she is the culprit here, not Mr. Sterling.

    May 5, 2014 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  19. TTH

    He should not be forced to see his team.
    Look at it this way, if everyone who has said a racist remark is fined, there would be many people in American in a deeper financial hole than they are already under this governmental so call leadership.....or lack of.

    May 5, 2014 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  20. dc1413

    No he should not be forced. While his remarks are ignorant and bigoted, he has commited absolutely no crime, there is ZERO proof that his personal feelings have negatively impacted anyone on the team, or that any individual has been harmed in any way. Those calling for him to sell the team are going with a simplistic knee-jerk reaction to what is essentially a non issue.

    May 5, 2014 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  21. John Phoenix

    I'm disliking the idea of MAKING him sell the team. The share of the team he owns is his OWN property. This is not some communist country, he should have the liberty to decide whether to sell it or not. And if he chooses not too then is the players, coach, etc responsibility to decide if they want to continue to work there.

    May 5, 2014 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  22. Anonymous

    He needs to drop the boyfreind, whopps i mean girlfriend. HE/She set him up

    May 5, 2014 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  23. dlnesbit

    comments of any kind made in private should be just that!.private. This could really get out of hand in a big way.we have all made private coments of one kind or another what happened here just opens the door for professional snoops to embarrass any one publiciy for personal gain.

    May 5, 2014 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  24. Michael D.

    No he should not be forced to sale. He should also get his job back. Since when do we have to answer for things we say in private, to a loved one, where we should have a reasonable expectation of privacy? The woman who did this to him should face charges. She set out to ruin him and has done so. If we are to now have our private conversations judged we will not have anyone left to run anything. This whole thing is nothing more than white guilt and over reacting. It is disgusting.

    May 5, 2014 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  25. ritmocojo

    Too late for polls. Even if he weren't forced to sell the team, I don't think any of the black players would play for the old fool.

    May 5, 2014 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
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