Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban, who is about as forward-thinking as they come, has already expressed hesitance about voting Sterling out. Cuban invokes the “slippery slope” argument: “I think you’ve got to be very, very careful when you start making blanket statements about what people say and think, as opposed to what they do. It’s a very, very slippery slope.” Cuban is the only owner saying this at the moment, but there’s a good chance at least a quarter of the others are thinking it. Throwing out Sterling would set a precedent for confiscating a valuable asset on the basis of someone having expressing taboo thoughts and opinions. While it’s unlikely that any owner will soon match Sterling for ugly behavior, that’s not a proposition any will want to test.
Sterling lawyers could put the believes and actions of NBA owners past and present into play.