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. rick

    No he should not be fired. If we allow personal recordings in non criminal cases to be used against people publicly we are setting up for disaster for our whole world. It was a cheap attack to force someone out. The NBA over- reacted and put on a circus over privately shared words. The girl that recorded it is a loser and so is the NBA ceo

    May 5, 2014 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  2. melvin reed jr

    yes I fill that he should be made sell the team . if he is doing that over the phone or in his home what is saying he wont do it out on the street

    May 5, 2014 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  3. FIND

    FIND? FIND? FIND? Find another career!!!!!!

    May 5, 2014 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  4. Gordon

    I really don't see his remarks being racists..We live in a touchy feely world..Besides it was in a private conversation being taped without notice

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

    Fined, Boycotted, Public Backlash, Scorned etc Yes. Banned from his own team and forced to sell NO. I do think he will have to sell anyways based on the public outcry and who in their right mind would buy tickets or apparel from this jackwagon? If he sues and wins the NBA will pay who knows how much. If they let the public force him to sell then he goes away and has no basis for legal action and it hurts his pocket book because the asking price will be driven down by his own actions(words).

    May 5, 2014 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  6. KC

    What about Sterlings 4th amendment rights?

    May 5, 2014 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  7. I speak the Truth

    he should keep the Clippers, he is a owner, & because of Sterling he has helped the NBA in many financial millions of dollars, he did make any racist remarks, he simply said dont bring certain people around,, thats no big deal, who cares if there black, i wouldnt bring them around just like Black people dont bring white people around, they need to stop playing the race card,, shoot did i hear anybody say bring the Taliban to a game??????? then everybody is racist in this scam!! the NBA & NAACP have weekend the news & media, Hey did you hear the Racist remarks Snoop dogg said on youtube??? can we please fine him $2.5 million, have target & overstock ban him & have his record label drop him for making those racist remarks, & Charles Barkley for saying he hates white people, & alos Adrian Broner for saying he beat a mexican! Oh wait,, there black people so its ok i forgot,,Losers

    May 5, 2014 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  8. J.A. River

    I think it is ridiculous for him to be forced to sell anything. I think what happened is something that he has to live with for the rest of his lives. Perhaps he should be assigned to fund cancer and HIV foundations to help cure something greater than what he has caused. What he did was inexcusable but making him sell what is rightly his is totally out of focus. People want what he has and many more are trying to steal what he has built and that in its self is worse than what he did. Greed without justice is at the center of it all.

    May 5, 2014 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  9. Denise

    it was a private conversation.Let it be.

    May 5, 2014 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  10. John

    I don't think he should be forced to sell the team. The fans can stop attending the games and paying for merchandise if they are truly offended.

    May 5, 2014 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  11. slowalker

    Sterling is being railroaded just like Paula Dean was.................

    May 5, 2014 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  12. Elmer Fudd

    He was duped by the silly rabbit!

    May 5, 2014 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  13. Connie

    No ,he should not have to sell ,unless he wants to. It was a private conversation .I think he was set up by V and Magic . They should be fined or jailed

    May 5, 2014 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  14. joecalbear

    Donald Tokowitz Sterling should go back to Israel.

    May 5, 2014 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  15. carlos mckay

    Just what did this man say? Was it the word colored that stirred up this NBA dumbo? If it was; then what in the whell does The CP in NAACP stand for. Lets ban that organization.

    May 5, 2014 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  16. Name Dominic

    How can the league force Donald Sterling to sell if his wife & co-owner refuses to sell? The Commissioner said that the wife is not impacted by any of the penalties. Furthermore Sterling has done nothing illegal though abhorrent and unpopular his private remarks were not illegal.

    May 5, 2014 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  17. anon2

    If he owned a mcdonald's franchise he would lose his store

    May 5, 2014 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  18. Murray

    There needs to be a much better reason to force someone to sell something he or she owns than the person being (or acting like) a bigot. I'm sure he will see the light and sell on his own, before the team value decreases too much from all the sponsors backing out, the fans not going to games and the players wanting to be traded.

    May 5, 2014 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  19. Tab

    Doesn't matter. Keep the team or Not. He is A Done Deal with the NBA. A team with No Players... Hmmm..

    May 5, 2014 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  20. Wow

    It is not a right to own an NBA team. It is a private club, if your comments is going to cost them money well...

    May 5, 2014 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  21. shane

    No he shouldn't have to sell, if the players don't want to play for him so be it. who knows how much time and money he put into the organization. to be forced out because of one stupid comment? please how many people have let an agitated argument cause them to say something they really don't mean.

    May 5, 2014 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  22. CS

    It is his up to him to sell and no one else. Leave him alone.

    May 5, 2014 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  23. Dan

    Although his comments are wrong and he is obviously bias, I do not believe he should loose his team. From what I see on the news, he has treated ALL players with the utmost respect. What he says in the privacy of his own home should not be used as a guide to overrule his actions. We always say actions speak louder than words. If he treats his players with respect, he should be judged on his actions. It is also my understanding he did NOT break any laws so where does that leave us?

    May 5, 2014 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  24. P. Herz

    The guy who discovered DNA did the same thing should he be forced to renounce this core scientific discovery over his personal convictions?

    May 5, 2014 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  25. Dennis

    Does this now mean that coaches/players in the NBA will be banned for life as well as fined should they utter a racial slur on or off the court, in public or private or in the past,present or future also?

    May 5, 2014 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
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