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Old 02-12-2009, 12:54 PM   #1
SoCalMike
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Default Article: LA Times - Elgin Baylor sues Clippers, claiming racism

wow...


Source: Elgin Baylor sues Clippers, claiming racism

Quote:

NBA Hall of Famer and former longtime Clippers executive Elgin Baylor alleges in a civil lawsuit filed Wednesday in Los Angeles that team owner Donald Sterling has embraced a "vision of a Southern plantation-type structure" for his NBA franchise, accusing him of decades-long racist behavior.

Baylor worked for the Clippers for 22 years. The complaint against Sterling and others, which was filed in Los Angeles Superior Court and obtained by The Times, presented Baylor's version of an eroding relationship between Baylor and Sterling. Baylor contends, among other things, that the Clippers owner had "a pervasive and ongoing racist attitude as expressed to then-NBA player Danny Manning during contract negotiations."

Asked about the nature of the allegations, Baylor's lawyer Carl Douglas said in a telephone interview that "everything in the lawsuit is factual. . . . It would not be in Mr. Baylor's best interest to disclose our trial strategy."

There is a news conference scheduled for this morning at Douglas' office in Beverly Hills.

Also named in the lawsuit was the team, the NBA and Clippers President Andy Roeser. Clippers officials said at their game against the Knicks on Wednesday they had not been served with the lawsuit.

"Not having seen the complaint, I cannot comment on Elgin's specific allegations," said Robert H. Platt, Clippers general counsel and partner at the law firm Manatt, Phelps & Phillips. "However, I can categorically state that the Clippers always treated Elgin fairly throughout his long tenure with the team. Prior to his decision to leave the team last October, Elgin never raised any claims of unfair treatment.

"It's hard to believe that he would now make these ridiculous claims after the organization stood by him for 22 years and only three playoff appearances. It would be hard to find any sports team that has demonstrated greater loyalty to its general manager. The team intends to vigorously defend itself against these false allegations and will prevail when all the facts are heard."

Sterling, after the Clippers' overtime victory, said, "Really? Against who?" when informed of the lawsuit, and expressed dismay at the development.

The suit alleged NBA Commissioner David Stern was present when Sterling allegedly said of Manning, "I'm offering a lot of money for a poor black kid." That tone was echoed in another alleged incident in which Baylor claimed Sterling told him that "he [Sterling] wanted the Clippers team to be composed of 'poor black boys from the South' and a white head coach."




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Old 02-12-2009, 06:56 PM   #2
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Default Re: Article: LA Times - Elgin Baylor sues Clippers, claiming racism

Quote:
The full text of Elgin Baylor's prepared statement to the media Thursday:

``I'm Elgin Baylor. I'm here with my wife, Elaine. I dedicated the last 22 years of my life as a NBA executive, working with the Los Angeles Clippers organization, in the position of executive vice president and general manager. It was a job that I loved.

``Against tremendous odds, I put my heart and soul into that job. Working for Donald Sterling was never easy. I was often forced to work under challenging conditions. The authority granted to me was too limited and restricted, for the position I held. It was like working with one hand tied behind my back, but given the shortage of blacks in the executive roles within the NBA, I felt obligated to hang in there and endure whatever came my way.

``I worked with the Clipper organization, under contract, for only for my first six years, until 1993. After that, it was if I had passed the smell test. For the remainder of my time, I was told I did not need a formal written agreement. Donald Sterling always assured me, whenever I asked about my contract situation and my salary, that I was a lifer, that I would remain a part of the Clipper family until I decided to retire. Sometime before the 2006 season, Clipper president Andy Roeser started harassing me about my age. `Elgin, how old are you?' he would ask repeatedly. `When are you planning to retire?'

``Two thousand and six was a magical year. The team that I pushed Sterling to assemble made it to the second round of the playoffs, exceeding everyone's expectation. I was honored, by the Sporting News, to be named the NBA executive of the year. The team's coach was acknowledged and rewarded with a new, long-term contract worth over $20 million. When I asked Donald Sterling if he was going to take care of me, he said nothing. He offered me nothing. He did nothing. No salary increase, no bonus, nothing. Not only was my salary structure left unchanged, my duties, little authority that had
been a part of my position were further diminished by Sterling and Roeser. Player-personnel meetings were planned and conducted without my knowledge and without inviting me to attend. I was left out of contract negotiations. The job that I loved was slowly being taken away from me and there was never an explanation.

``In 2006, the head coach was secretively given many of my general-manager duties. In 2008, I discovered this while researching an unrelated matter. I stumbled upon the coach's contract and I saw, for the first time, that most of my duties had been given to him. This past August, I was handed an agreement and told to take it or leave it. Given that I had invested so much into the Clippers and the NBA, I was traumatized by this situation, and today I remain mentally and emotionally devastated.

``In closing, I want to make one thing clear: I did not retire. I had so much more to give. The way I was treated by the NBA and the Clippers was unfair and, in many ways, discriminatory. It was wrong. We are forced to take this action because our efforts to resolve this dispute quietly were essentially ignored. So I look forward to having my day in court. I thank you, and may God bless you.''

http://www.dailynews.com/ci_11690153
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Old 02-12-2009, 09:19 PM   #3
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Default Re: Article: LA Times - Elgin Baylor sues Clippers, claiming racism

Lawyer comments/Clippers' response
By Rich Hammond

Quote:
Here are a few quotes from Elgin Baylor's lawyers from today's news conference, followed by the statement released this afternoon by Clippers general counsel Robert H. Platt...

BAYLOR LAWYER CARL DOUGLAS

(on whether there was an attempt to settle before the lawsuit was filed...)
``There was nothing that was said to us that gave us any indication that they were interested in resolving this matter fairly. We were very disappointed by their response.''

(on the lawsuit...)
``I think that the facts speak for themselves. Certainly, Elgin Baylor is an icon in this city. He is a city treasure, and for them to treat Elgin Baylor, after dedicating 22 years of his hard work, his sweat and his tears to this organization, is indeed an abomination.''

(on why the NBA is included in the lawsuit...)
``It's important to remember that the NBA knows the salaries that are paid to each of the general managers in the league. It is offensive that Elgin Baylor, with 22 years of experience, having been the executive of the year back in 2006, would have been paid a salary that, based on comparable NBA general managers, is a disgrace.''

(on whether a settlement is still possible...)
``We keep the doors of negotiation open ... but we aren't starting this action for the purpose of trying to encourage a settlement. ... We will be able to prove everything that is there.''

(more general comments on the lawsuit...)
``Elgin Baylor has not been treated fairly by the team that he gave 22 years of his life. He was given this retirement contract and told to take it or leave it. After 22 years, that's just not fair, and what we're going to do is bring justice to Elgin Baylor and his time with the Los Angeles Clippers.''

(on way Baylor stayed with the Clippers despite the alleged poor treatment...)
``One thing to remember about Elgin is, he's humble, he's poised, he's gracious. He's a team player. It's not of his nature to rock the boat. He was one of 30 people that held those kinds of jobs. It was his life, working in the city that he loved, and he hoped that with his continued effort, he'd be able to turn the team around and to make them into a winner. Regrettably, he was tossed out before he was given that chance.''

BAYLOR LAWYER ALVIN PITTMAN

(on why the NBA is included in the lawsuit...)
``The NBA is akin to an individual to whom much is given. The NBA regulates the entirety of professional basketball, and yet we ask or expect little of it when it comes to the issue of employment of minorities in executive positions. The NBA will fine people for speech and conduct, but on a significant issue such as discrimination in employment within the executive ranks, minorities can play the game but the NBA the is deaf, blind and mute when it comes to the issue of employment discrimination in the executive ranks. The NBA has a duty to act. It has done nothing. That's why the NBA is a partner.''

-----

The following is a statement from the Los Angeles Clippers' General Counsel Robert H. Platt, a partner at the law firm of Manatt, Phelps & Phillips:

``Now that they have staged their press conference, it has become even more apparent that the decision to bring the suit was driven by publicity-seeking attorneys hoping to draw attention to themselves. Their false claims carry no weight and have no credibility.

``Elgin Baylor was with the Clippers for 22 years and he received numerous salary increases and was always treated well.

``During Elgin's tenure, the other NBA teams employed over 125 General Managers with an average tenure of less than five years. In fact, despite the team's poor draft history and record, Elgin was the NBA's longest serving General Manager when he chose to resign.

``Elgin rejected the opportunity to continue with the organization as a paid consultant or stay in his current job. People can judge for themselves the results of his performance during his 22 years on the job. We stand by our assertion that Elgin was always treated fairly and honorably.''

http://www.insidesocal.com/clippers/...rs-respon.html
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Old 02-14-2009, 10:39 AM   #4
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Default Re: Article: LA Times - Elgin Baylor sues Clippers, claiming racism

so no clipper fans have opinions about this? i am really curious.... its a very provocative topic!



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Old 02-14-2009, 02:08 PM   #5
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Default Re: Article: LA Times - Elgin Baylor sues Clippers, claiming racism

Quote:
Originally Posted by gts
Lawyer comments/Clippers' response
By Rich Hammond

(more general comments on the lawsuit...)
``Elgin Baylor has not been treated fairly by the team that he gave 22 years of his life. He was given this retirement contract and told to take it or leave it. After 22 years, that's just not fair, and what we're going to do is bring justice to Elgin Baylor and his time with the Los Angeles Clippers.''

(on way Baylor stayed with the Clippers despite the alleged poor treatment...)
``One thing to remember about Elgin is, he's humble, he's poised, he's gracious. He's a team player. It's not of his nature to rock the boat. He was one of 30 people that held those kinds of jobs. It was his life, working in the city that he loved, and he hoped that with his continued effort, he'd be able to turn the team around and to make them into a winner. Regrettably, he was tossed out before he was given that chance.''


22 years, but he was not given a chance....
---------------------------------------------------
Given the statements made by his lawyer, I see no reason the Clippers should give him one red cent. What part of his contract was violated?
---------------------------------------------------
In 2006, When Baylor was recognized as 'executive of the year' (what a flippin' joke), the Clippers:

- regular season record was 47-35

- finished as the 5th seed in the Western Conference

- lost in the 2nd round of the playoffs (after defeating the mighty Denver Nuggets in the 1st round )

In other organizations, that would not be reason enough for celebration or awards. Maybe the league just wanted to see if Sterling & Co. would respond to some positive reinforcement.......
---------------------------------------------------
If a contractor gets awarded a contract and performs the work, then finds out later that another contractor got paid more for doing the same type of work somewhere else, can they expect to sue and win over that?

I'm no fan of Sterling, but sorry Elgin, my heart pumps pee for you on this one
---------------------------------------------------
I'm a Laker guy myself, but I have respect for the Clipper fans in this town. I'm not sure how you get emotionally aligned with such an outfit in the first place, but I have to hand it to you for your loyalty.

I don't know if it's possible in the foreseeable future without some changes at the top, but here's to better days ahead for the Clippers
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Old 02-14-2009, 02:18 PM   #6
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Default Re: Article: LA Times - Elgin Baylor sues Clippers, claiming racism

EllEffEll. I'm A lakers fan long before the Clippers landed in LA, I'd pull for the Clippers if the ownership cared about winning, because I think having two good NBA teams in LA is good for the sport and LA in genral..

I'm just keeping the Clippers forum active because I am a gook that has no life.


If the racial accusations against Clippers owner Donald Sterling are true, he should be thrown out of the league. But if they are, Baylor should never have stayed in that atmosphere.
BY: Bill Plaschke

Quote:
Only the Clippers, it seems, could be involved in a fight in which a fair outcome is unattainable, and a rooting interest is impossible.

It's Elgin Baylor suing Donald Sterling, a fallen general manager charging the falling owner of being racist and cheap, allegations that apparently occurred to Baylor only after working there for more than two decades.

One cannot pick sides, only emotions.

Sadness comes to mind.

How do you back an owner who is now fighting two lawsuits accusing him of racism?

But how do you support an employee who clearly tolerated the climate in which the racism allegations occurred?

It is certainly much easier to boo the loser Sterling than the legendary Baylor, but, in this case, it's hard to cheer either one.

"Elgin is old school," said his lawyer, Carl Douglas.

Perhaps, but in holding a Beverly Hills news conference Thursday to stick a flame under his old boss, Baylor's image is being remodeled by the hour.

You know what I wish?

I wish that when the Clippers stripped Baylor of his powers and offered him an ambassador job for less than half of his salary last summer, he would have simply walked quietly across town and joined the Lakers.

They would have hired him in a heartbeat. Baylor wouldn't have been given a fancy title or big office, but he could have finished his career as he started it, on the court in Lakers togs, helping teach some of the team's youngsters about Lakers toughness, just like Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.

It would have been a perfect ending for a wonderful 74-year-old story.

But, no. Baylor stalked away from the longest tenure of any active general manager -- 22 years -- and decided to get even.

He decided to file this lawsuit, so the Lakers couldn't hire him, and the Clippers couldn't properly honor him, and he's been forced to spend the last months in unwarranted obscurity while waiting for this week's bomb to drop.

One bang, really, and the rest is wispy, second-hand smoke.

The bang is, of course, race.

Sterling is accused of telling Baylor he wanted to fill his team with "poor black boys from the South and a white head coach."

During negotiations with former star Danny Manning, Sterling is also charged with saying, "I'm offering a lot of money for a poor black kid."

In summation, Baylor's lawyers accuse Sterling of having a "vision of a Southern plantation-type structure."

more here

http://www.latimes.com/sports/basket...5564690.column

Last edited by qrich : 02-18-2009 at 01:37 AM.
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Old 02-14-2009, 05:43 PM   #7
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Default Re: Article: LA Times - Elgin Baylor sues Clippers, claiming racism

Quote:
Originally Posted by EllEffEll
I'm a Laker guy myself, but I have respect for the Clipper fans in this town. I'm not sure how you get emotionally aligned with such an outfit in the first place, but I have to hand it to you for your loyalty.

I don't know if it's possible in the foreseeable future without some changes at the top, but here's to better days ahead for the Clippers

this is a good point.. i have always wondered about this element... i for one, do not care for donald sterling as i think he is the worst kind of owner to have in a professional sport and i think his culture is the cancer that causes this organization to fail over and over... its probably an interesting thread to ask... "why are you a clipper fan?"

i do like it when the clippers are competitive, and i do hope that something dramatic changes (i.e. sterling sells team) so that they can sustain a competitive team.



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Old 02-14-2009, 06:06 PM   #8
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Default Re: Article: LA Times - Elgin Baylor sues Clippers, claiming racism

Quote:
Originally Posted by SoCalMike
this is a good point.. i have always wondered about this element... i for one, do not care for donald sterling as i think he is the worst kind of owner to have in a professional sport and i think his culture is the cancer that causes this organization to fail over and over... its probably an interesting thread to ask... "why are you a clipper fan?"

i do like it when the clippers are competitive, and i do hope that something dramatic changes (i.e. sterling sells team) so that they can sustain a competitive team.

here's an article from today that echoes your post

Baylor’s suit merely the latest for Sterling
By Peter May, Special to Yahoo! Sports

Quote:
Here’s a bit of a heads-up to Elgin Baylor: You may have worked for Donald Sterling for more than two decades, but when the depositions begin in your newly-minted civil discrimination suit against the Los Angeles Clippers’ owner, The Donald is likely to “misremember” (as Roger Clemens might say) just about everything.

If Sterling goes at it any other way, he’d be perjuring himself. That’s because he’s already on the record, in a May 2002 deposition, as testifying he has no knowledge of the Clippers’ basketball operation, no input into the Clippers’ basketball operation, and has no real concept, despite being a lawyer, of what a guaranteed contract is all about.

Honest.

So if The Donald adopts this same approach when attorney Carl Douglas gets him under oath, assuming his “hands-off” policy is still intact, how on earth can Douglas expect to prove that Sterling and the Clippers were racists and ageists in getting rid of Baylor?

My guess is Sterling’s first response will be “Elgin who?”

Baylor, the longtime Clippers general manager who was fired last October, filed suit Wednesday, saying that Sterling ran the Clippers like a “Southern plantation-type structure.” There are allegations that Sterling called Danny Manning “a poor, black kid” and that Baylor was woefully underpaid by NBA standards, earning a meager $350,000 a year. Baylor also alleges that the Clippers hassled him about his age.


The suit contends that this type of atmosphere went on for years, although Baylor never apparently raised the issue with anyone in the organization. The Clippers’ attorney, Robert Platt, noted in a statement that, “It’s hard to believe that he would now make these ridiculous claims after the organization stood by him for 22 years and only three playoff appearances.”

Going to court against former employees is nothing new for The Donald. The Clippers sued Bill Fitch and refused to pay him after firing him because they felt he wasn’t pursuing a new job with sufficient urgency and vigor. That suit was settled and the terms are confidential. But that suit also resulted in the now-famous Sterling deposition, which was first reported in The Boston Globe.

In the 94-page deposition, Sterling answered “No” to the following questions:

• “Did you have any input in that decision [to terminate Fitch?]”

• “Were you consulted as part of the decision to sue Mr. Fitch?”

• “Do you play any role in the final decision to sign a player, resign [sic] a player, draft a player, not sign a player, anything like that?”

• “Do you have any idea what a guaranteed contract is?”

Former coach Bob Weiss, who preceded Fitch, also had to go to court to fight for wages that he felt were his. Asked about Weiss in the deposition, Sterling said, “I don’t know who he is.”

Why should he? Weiss only coached the team for one season.

Fitch has got to be getting a chuckle out of all of this. He’s almost Ripkenesque in Clippers’ coaching service, lasting four complete seasons. Current coach Mike Dunleavy, however, has passed that, working his sixth season under Sterling. Dunleavy assumed Baylor’s title when the Clippers and Baylor parted ways, although Dunleavy had been the defacto GM for awhile, most recently revealed in Elton Brand’s decision to sign with Philadelphia.

Sterling has long maintained a public puzzlement (as Yul Brynner might say) about some of the ways of the NBA. Last season, when the Clippers and Sam Cassell were working on a buyout in late February, Sterling professed not to understand that if the Clippers simply released Cassell they would still have to pay him. (There’s that sticky guaranteed-contract thing again!) When approached by reporters Wednesday and told Baylor had filed suit, Sterling said, “Really? Against who?”

Baylor won Executive of the Year honors in 2006, the year the Clippers came within one victory of reaching the Western Conference finals. But for most of his tenure in Los Angeles, he was almost universally regarded as a genial, accommodating but nonetheless hapless individual. And a lot of that, or so everyone thought before the Sterling deposition, was because Sterling wouldn’t open his wallet. A lot of people still think that in spite of what the deposition revealed.

more here
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Old 02-15-2009, 02:04 AM   #9
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Default Re: Article: LA Times - Elgin Baylor sues Clippers, claiming racism

wow, powerful article...



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Old 02-15-2009, 03:28 AM   #10
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Default Re: Article: LA Times - Elgin Baylor sues Clippers, claiming racism

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Originally Posted by SoCalMike
so no clipper fans have opinions about this? i am really curious.... its a very provocative topic!


Nope because none of us care about him. 22 years and how many playoff appearances? Yeah....
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Old 02-15-2009, 05:33 PM   #11
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Default Re: Article: LA Times - Elgin Baylor sues Clippers, claiming racism

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Originally Posted by qrich
Nope because none of us care about him. 22 years and how many playoff appearances? Yeah....

so based on that logic, it would be difficult to like anyone in the clippers organization.

i have no clue why anyone would do a lawsuit like this... it does seem to have strange timing and little merit... but on the same token, i find it really difficult to believe that sterling knows nothing about how an nba team works.... i just don't buy that as credible.



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Old 02-15-2009, 07:25 PM   #12
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Default Re: Article: LA Times - Elgin Baylor sues Clippers, claiming racism

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Originally Posted by SoCalMike
so based on that logic, it would be difficult to like anyone in the clippers organization.

i have no clue why anyone would do a lawsuit like this... it does seem to have strange timing and little merit... but on the same token, i find it really difficult to believe that sterling knows nothing about how an nba team works.... i just don't buy that as credible.

That's a different story because I highly doubt anyone who could improve the team was here with Baylor for 22 years. Only guy who has been here for that length is one Ralph Lawler, and he's the commentator.

I can believe Sterling doesn't know anything about the franchise simply because he is a business man. What I find hard to believe is that Sterling all of a sudden decides to spend money with Dunleavy, but said no for twenty two years with Baylor. That only points to Baylor not doing what a GM is supposed to, and that is to try to persuade the owner that a move is worth making, or a player is worth signing.

Here is Baylors draft pick All-Star team by the way, I wonder if anyone can defend this:
C-Chris Kaman
PF-Antonio McDyess or Tyson Chadnler
SF-Toss up between Danny Manning and Lamar Odom
SG-Quentin Richardson
PG-Shaun Livingston
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Old 02-16-2009, 06:26 PM   #13
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Default Re: Article: LA Times - Elgin Baylor sues Clippers, claiming racism

Quote:
Originally Posted by qrich
Here is Baylors draft pick All-Star team by the way, I wonder if anyone can defend this:

C-Chris Kaman
PF-Antonio McDyess or Tyson Chadnler
SF-Toss up between Danny Manning and Lamar Odom
SG-Quentin Richardson
PG-Shaun Livingston

It is solid... not easy/necessary to poke holes in it.



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