Newt Gingrich: Clippers Should Be Publicly Owned

Friday, 02 May 2014 07:06 PM

By Cathy Burke

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Former Speaker of the House and 2012 GOP presidential contender Newt Gingrich said Friday the people of Los Angeles ought to be allowed "to bid against the billionaires" for ownership of the Clippers.

Appearing on "CNN Newsroom With Brooke Baldwin," Gingrich said the Green Bay Packers model of a publicly owned franchise could be the basis for any new ownership of the team in the wake of the NBA's banishment of Clippers owner Donald Sterling.

"I think the people of Los Angeles should be given a chance to bid against the billionaires and let the people of California have the right to buy in common stock just exactly like Green Bay," Gingrich said. "It would be very healthy for America to move professional sports back to a community-based system instead of a billionaire-based system."

Gingrich, who said he owns a share of the Packers, noted, "[i]t's the taxpayers who provide all these sports arenas anyway.

"So why shouldn't the taxpayers actually have a chance to own the team?"

Lawyer and civil rights activist Van Jones, who has clashed with Gingrich in the past, applauded the idea.

"Bravo," Jones said. "I hate to agree with you, Newt, on anything. But as I live in Los Angeles, my family and I, we're in California. This is the best idea I've heard out of this whole mess. I hope that everybody in L.A. takes him up on this. I think it's a brilliant, brilliant idea. I'm for it."

Gingrich also wrote a column Friday for CNN advocating for the Clippers' public ownership and hosted a question-and-answer discussion — #clippers —on his Facebook page.

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