LA Clippers owner Sterling appeals for forgiveness but critics say he must sell

 

Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article titled “LA Clippers owner Sterling appeals for forgiveness but critics say he must sell” was written by Rory Carroll in Los Angeles, for theguardian.com on Monday 12th May 2014 21.32 UTC

Political and sporting figures have insisted that Donald Sterling must sell the Los Angeles Clippers despite his apology for racist remarks, with some warning of a player boycott if he tried to remain as owner of the NBA team.

The swift and uncompromising response to the billionaire’s appeal for forgiveness in an interview on CNN on Monday increased the likelihood of a costly legal battle between Sterling and the NBA, which wishes to expel him from the sport.

Magic Johnson, the basketball legend turned investor, said players might shun the team if the 80-year-old Sterling stayed on as owner. “They’ll probably boycott,” he told ESPN.

LeBron James of the Miami Heat said players also opposed Sterling’s wife, Shelly, remaining as an owner. “As players, we want what’s right, and we feel like no one in his family should be able to own the team.” The NBA has also said that Shelly Sterling should not remain as owner.

A spokesman for LA’s mayor, Eric Garcetti, said in a statement that Sterling had to go, notwithstanding his mea culpa. “We still believe a change of ownership is in the best interests of the fans and our city.”

The real estate tycoon broke his silence to CNN’s Anderson Cooper two weeks after the NBA banned him for life over a leaked tape in which he told a female friend, V Stiviano, to not associate with black people.

“I’m not a racist and I’ve never been a racist,” he said in one of the segments released on Sunday in advance of the full interview. “When I listen to that tape I don’t even know how I can say words like that.”

Sterling said he had been “foolish” and “baited” into making the comments by a woman 51 years his junior. “I don’t know why the girl had me say those things … I mean, that’s not the way I talk. I don’t talk about people for one thing, ever. I talk about ideas and other things. I don’t talk about people."

He said he was a good member of the NBA and requested forgiveness. "Am I entitled to one mistake? Am I? After 35 years? I mean, I love my league, I love my partners. Am I entitled to one mistake? It’s a terrible mistake, and I’ll never do it again."

The interview backfired to some extent, however, by making fresh swipes at Johnson, who is part of a consortium which wants to buy the Clippers. Sterling said the former Lakers star was “great” but had not done everything he could to help minorities. “I don’t think he’s a good example for the children of Los Angeles.”

In the original leaked conversation, which the celebrity news site TMZ posted last month, Sterling complained to Stiviano that she had posed for photographs with Johnson, and asked her to not bring black people to Clippers games.

Commentators and social media expressed indignation and bafflement at the renewed dig at an African American sporting hero. “At least that shows a bit of his true self,” tweeted the Los Angeles Times sports columnist BillPlaschke.

Sterling has faced previous accusations of racism related to the Clippers and his property empire.

The CNN interview came after the Clippers made a thrilling comeback on Sunday to beat Oklahoma City Thunder and tie their play-off series 2-2, with some calling it the biggest victory in the team’s history. The teams meet again on Tuesday.

The Clippers’ murky fate continued to overshadow the season’s climax, however, with Sterling hinting of a protracted legal battle with the NBA. “If they fight with me, and they spend millions, and I spend millions, let’s say I win or they win – I just don’t know if that’s important.”

TMZ reported that at least eight big law firms in LA and San Francisco had rebuffed Sterling because they considered him a “toxic” figure who would alienate their other clients.

His estranged wife Shelly has vowed to fight the NBA’s effort to also push her out of the team, setting the scene for a possible three-way fight.

In a statement released on Sunday night, the NBA said it would not be possible for Shelley Sterling to retain ownership of the team if her husband was forced to relinquish control. It said: "Under the NBA Constitution, if a controlling owner’s interest is terminated by a three-quarter vote, all other team owners’ interests are automatically terminated as well. It doesn’t matter whether the owners are related as is the case here. These are the rules to which all NBA owners agreed to as a condition of owning their team."

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CES 2013: as big as ever, but is it out of date?


Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article titled “CES 2013: as big as ever, but is it out of date?” was written by Rory Carroll in Las Vegas, for The Guardian on Wednesday 9th January 2013 08.53 UTC

The world’s biggest consumer technology expo opened on Tuesday to a familiar scene: thousands of gadget buffs streaming down Paradise Road to the cavernous Las Vegas convention centre, eager to glimpse the devices and trends of the future.

For the next four days the Consumer Electronics Show will unveil technological advances and launch 20,000 products and prototypes – a vast bazaar showcasing new phones, new televisions, new tablets, new everything.

“Oh my God, I can’t believe I’m here!” squealed a voice as crowds surged through the doors. Tweets from those visiting the booths of Samsung and the like declared them “awesome” and “amazing”.

The event is as big as ever: around 150,000 industry professionals – entrepreneurs, executives, designers, bloggers – crawling over 1.85m sq ft of exhibition space. The chief executive of mobile chip maker Qualcomm, Paul Jacobs, who delivered the keynote speech on Monday night, said its wares would change the world. “There are almost as many mobile connections as people on earth. Pretty soon mobile connections will outnumber us.”

But there is a problem. Sceptics say that the world has changed faster than CES, that the pre-eminence of the internet and software has marginalised an event still tethered mainly to hardware, and that CES is sliding into limbo as a consequence.

Wired, the technology magazine, declared on the convention’s eve: “As software matters more and more, CES matters less and less. The internet is already the world’s largest trade show. Gadget blogs are the new conventions.

“Sure, big electronics shows offer the opportunity to meet people and forge relationships. But even that transaction is being moved online in the era of real-time social media.”

Hardware has become increasingly meaningless as upgrade cycles accelerate and spread across platforms, it argues, citing the Nokia Lumia 900, a flagship phone hailed as the next big thing at last year’s CES. It was a hardware triumph but disappeared after Microsoft announced Windows Phone 8, rendering the Lumia, which used Windows Phone 7.5, obsolete.

Wired at least sent reporters to Las Vegas. The news site BuzzFeed boycotted and published a story headlined “Why We’re Not at the Biggest Tech Show in the World.”

After years of dwindling relevance CES was no longer the most important place to go to see trends in technology, it said. “Seriously doesn’t the word ‘electronics’ in the conference’s dusty title make your eyes instantly droop a bit?”

One problem raised by the news site BuzzFeed was the event’s focus on hardware at the expense of software and services. The other was that social media had displaced traditional conventions as forums to showcase products and ideas. It noted that none of the four technology companies which “truly matter to people” – Apple, Amazon, Facebook and Google – were exhibiting at the expo.

For years Microsoft’s chief executive, Steve Ballmer, had given the keynote speech at the Venetian resort hotel. But the company pulled out this year, handing the job to Jacobs of Qualcomm. In his speech Jacobs exuded optimism and said “Gen M” – generation mobile – would keep the industry humming. He underlined his point by unveiling Qualcomm’s new Snapdragon 800 Series processor. Due on the market this summer, it should improve the performance of smartphones and cars and give rival Intel a run for its money. And as if to rebuff accusations of dwindling relevance, Jacobs spiced up his speech with eclectic celebrity guests. Director Guillermo del Toro came on stage to show a clip of his new robot film, Pacific Rim, streaming it from a tablet that uses a new Qualcomm chip.

“Snapdragon ensures the film you see will be viewed exactly as I want it to be seen. When you’re watching a great film, you want a great experience.”

The Nascar driver Brad Keselowski displayed an app which lets fans follow drivers during races. The actor Alice Eve lauded a new app for her new film, Star Trek: Into Darkness. Big Bird from Sesame Street appeared to plug an app which helps children with vocabulary. For the industry audience the biggest and most welcome surprise was Microsoft’s Ballmer, who made a cameo to talk up the tech giant’s new generation tablets and smartphones.

This week’s CES is expected to be dominated by ultra HD TVs, supersized smartphones, acrobatic PCs and sensors which replace the mouse by tracking gestures and eye movements. If any of that catches on CES will claim, as ever, that you saw the future here first.

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