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Shelly Sterling accuses other NBA owners of being afraid to stick up for Donald Sterling

May 13, 2014, 10:50 AM EDT

Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling, his wife Shelly, and actor George Segal attend the NBA basketball game between the Toronto Raptors and the Los Angeles Clippers at the Staples Center in Los Angeles Reuters

Shelly Sterling is better at staying on message than Donald Sterling.

I don’t personally care much about that skill, but when reading her answers in an interview with Scott Cacciola of The York Times, I was struck by their similarity to her answers on the Today show.

With The Times, though, she spoke about an angle of the issue she didn’t cover with Today. Shelly:

The owners are afraid of their own issues. Because I’m sure if anybody goes into all their records, they have skeletons in their closets. They would probably like to defend Donald, because he’s one of the oldest owners. But I think they’re all afraid because of their players. They’re afraid to get involved because if one sticks up for him, then maybe the players will go against them.

Donald is approaching the other owners – his “partners” as he repeatedly calls them –  with honey, and Shelly is attacking from the other side with vinegar. A coordinated strategy?

Even if it is, it probably doesn’t matter.

I am convinced Adam Silver knew he had the 23 votes necessary to expel Sterling when he set that punishment in motion. If not, that would have been a colossal mistake by the NBA commissioner.

And once Silver has the votes, everyone will fall in line. I can’t imagine an NBA owner stupid enough to cast a protest vote against removing Sterling’s ownership. The PR hit would be huge – and, with Silver pushing his agenda, the owner’s identity would get leaked.

If an owner believes Sterling shouldn’t be ousted – perhaps worried, like Shelly said, about their own skeletons – why vote against removing him in a losing cause? At that point, who cares whether it’s 28-2 or unanimous? There’s no use going down with the ship.

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