Friday, January 7, 2011

Elgin Baylor’s Wrongful Termination Claim Against Clippers Owner Donald Sterling

ESPN's J.A. Adande has written an article on Elgin Baylor’s wrongful termination suit against the Clippers owner Donald Sterling.

As reported by Adande, declarations from Baylor, the Clippers’ former GM, and Mike Dunleavy, the coach who took over Baylor’s GM duties before Dunleavy lost both jobs, were included in Baylor’s response to the Clippers’ motions for summary judgment. If you think a case is frivolous and completely without merit, you can move for summary judgement with a view to getting the case prematurely terminated.

Adande reports hat Sterling didn't like to spend money to keep players (not a big surprise given that "Clippers" is Latin for "irrelevant"). However, Baylor took it a step further, making it a racial issue: 
"Because of the Clippers unwillingness to fairly compensate African-American players we lost a lot of good talent, including Danny Manning, Charles Smith, Michael Cage, Ron Harper, Dominique Wilkins, [Corey] Maggette and others," Baylor said.
Adande continues his report,
Baylor, who describes himself as "an African-American male over the age of 40" in the declaration (the NBA Register lists his date of birth as Sept. 16, 1934), said that Sterling and Clippers president Andy Roeser made references to his age for the last 10 years of his employment and questioned his ability to still do his job.

Dunleavy referenced similar comments about Baylor’s age from the Clippers’ upper management, but Dunleavy stated, "The entire time that I worked for the Clippers, I never saw any change in Elgin’s ability to perform his duties, or that his age had any adverse impact on the performance of his duties and responsibilities as general manager."
Baylor's declaration also states that the owner would bring female reporters into the dressing room to watch the men shower:
"While ignoring my suggestions and isolating me from decisions customarily reserved for general managers, the Clippers attempted to place the blame for the team’s failures on me," Baylor said in the declaration. "During this same period, players Sam Cassell, Elton Brand and Corey Maggette complained to me that DONALD STERLING would bring women into the locker room after games, while the players were showering, and make comments such as, 'Look at those beautiful black bodies.' I brought this to Sterling’s attention, but he continued to bring women into the locker room."

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