May 5th, 2014
05:00 PM ET
9 years 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.

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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. Bubba

    Why does NBA Comm. Silver have to "FIND" Sterling 2.5 Mil??? He has enough money!!

    May 5, 2014 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  2. Thomas Fabian

    How can they say 47% of all Americans when no one asked me? I am an American.

    May 5, 2014 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  3. Pedrina Valdez

    I think all the prospective black racists who will be the new "Massa" should step out front forgive Sterling, and fess up about their own racist hatred that they have been harboring (against their absentee fathers) vs whites who fought and died by the hundreds of thousands trying to liberate them

    May 5, 2014 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  4. someone who cares

    It should be his decision, but at thos point, wjy would he stay.

    May 5, 2014 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  5. Nate

    He should keep the team and lose the girlfriend

    May 5, 2014 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  6. Feril C.

    I Think It Should Be Left Up To The Players. If They Still Want To Play On The Team For Him Than Put It To Rest. I Believe This Was A Set Up. But When You Play With Fire You Get Burned.

    May 5, 2014 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  7. mjp

    Who would want to play for him ?

    May 5, 2014 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  8. Anonymous

    NBA Commissioner Adam Silver announced last week he would find Sterling $2.5 million and ban him from the league for life.

    Hmm interesting. Seems like a fair trade off. Here is 2.5 mill i found for you, now go away.

    May 5, 2014 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  9. Tom

    So as not to be misleading, it should read, "According to a CNN/ORC Poll of Mostly Non-Basketball Fans ..."

    May 5, 2014 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  10. ron

    no this is america ,everyone that is born here is racisest,because thats ww=hats being talk about in their family from child hood ,black and whit and spanic.Race is part of american culture nd you will never get rid of it unless you brain wash evryone.

    May 5, 2014 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  11. tommy

    doesn't really matter he has to sell..hes lost all sponsors and no one will play for him and no one go the the games one will play for him

    May 5, 2014 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  12. Linda Davis

    That is the most stupid thing I have ever heard. So what if he did make a statement. Black people always make statements about white people. That does not make them predjuice. I am married to a black man , been with him for 30 years, have bi-racial grandchildren that I would die for. I love the black race, but my husband and I are always joking about our differences. Everytime I watch a black comedy or black television station they are always making remarks about white people. It does not offend me. Why do people go crazy over a few words, no one was threating anyone, but we all have a right to our opinions. The elderly black have a lot of predjuice with white people, some with good reason, and the elderly whites, some of them have a problem. Get over it people, GOD made us all.

    May 5, 2014 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  13. Mario R.

    If you really listen to the tapes of him and the GF, it was basically a jealous man who was asking his GF not to bring black guys with her to his games. Everyone who knows him knows she is a mistress of his, and he did point this out about her tweeting her photos with Magic. He's most likely feeling insecure having her photos with a younger black man next to her passed around the internet. She tried her best in the tapes to get him to say the N-word, but he never did. He can't be that racist having her as a mistress when there's a lot of white younger women if he wants around LA..

    May 5, 2014 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  14. Jennie

    Absolutely not, he should not be forced to sell the team or do anything against his will. Politicians and racist-minded people against Sterling jumped the gun on this one.

    May 5, 2014 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |

    Considering he's racist against white people (Clippers guard J.J. Redick) now of course not.

    May 5, 2014 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  16. Sylvia

    if he don't like African americans hanging out or taking pics with his gf, if he said what he said to his gf on tape, if he doesn't like to make money like has lately, ya, he needs to sell the Clippers to someone who will encourage them to play with their hearts on their arm instead of being two faced about his players.

    May 5, 2014 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  17. Johnny Harrell

    He should not have to sale his team Silver is out of line. The girl should be in jail for tapeing the conversation, and then giving it to TMZ

    May 5, 2014 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  18. john moldovan

    This is a country of free speech within reason. Donald Sterling in no way said anything that warranted his treatment by the press and disagreeable persons to include far as I am concerned they can go look for work elsewhere. Donald was "tricked" into his situation by a "wannabee" for whatever reason

    May 5, 2014 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  19. aevangelista7

    Sterling never deserved the team in the first place. Time for him to go.

    May 5, 2014 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  20. Chris

    I wonder if this would even be a story if this were a black owner making racial comments about white people. Saying that, I do believe that Sterling should be forced to sell the team. But the hypocrisy of it all is disgusting.

    May 5, 2014 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  21. Patrick Portland

    Last time I checked, I'm still in America and as an Americans we have the right to express an opinion regardless of how offensive that opinion may be perceived by some. This PC nonsense has gotten way out of hand.

    May 5, 2014 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  22. Patricia

    No........I don't think he should. What he said was said in the privacy of his home.

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

    news media making WAY too much of this...she needs to be fined...not him...she is the bad guy here...should have not taped him without his knowledge

    May 5, 2014 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  24. realusa

    No, he should not. If the NBA is so bothered though let them pony up what he wants for the team, say 1.5 billion. just pc nonsense

    May 5, 2014 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  25. anon2

    Too few blacks, latinos, etc. Poll is a poll

    May 5, 2014 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
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