- Special Features
Blogs & Columns
- Fun & Games
Despite reports to the contrary last week, Donald Sterling said in a scathing 32-page letter to the NBA Tuesday night that he will not stop fighting to retain ownership of the Los Angeles Clippers franchise.
Sterling had appeared to hand ownership of the team to his wife, Shelly Sterling, last week and Shelly Sterling’s attorney did say Tuesday that they were cooperating with selling the team.
Max Blecher, Sterling’s attorney, told ESPN Tuesday that Sterling “is going to fight to the bloody end” and he’s “disavowed” that agreement with Shelly Sterling from last week. “He says, 'It's my team, and I'll sell it when and if I get around to it,’” Blecher said.
In the letter, Sterling denied the charges that he hurt the league by making the racist comments that got him in trouble when TMZ published the recording. Blecher also believes that what the league has done - including banning him from NBA activities for life - is illegal.
“I believe what they're doing is a blatant invasion of his constitutional rights because they're using a tape recording that he did not consent to, and under California law, that recording cannot be used for any purpose, for any proceeding,” Blecher told ESPN, calling the NBA’s case “a pile of garbage."
According to USA Today, in Tuesday’s letter, Sterling claimed that he has heard offers of over $2.5 billion to buy the team from him. He also brought up other instances in NBA history when a player, coach or owner did not receive harsh punishments for offensive language. He pointed out that Kobe Bryant was fined “only a modest $100,000” after he used a gay slur in 2011.
Sterling insists that his comments could not have damaged the league. “This was an argument by a jealous man and the woman he loved that never should have left the privacy of the living room," the letter reads. "And while Mr. Sterling said some terrible words in the passion of the argument -- as he had already publicly admitted and for which he has apologized -- he has not taken a 'position' or an 'action.'"
The harsh language in the letter does come in stark contrast with last week’s agreement. ESPN did obtain a letter his lawyer sent to the NBA that was dated May 22, in which he gave Shelly Sterling the rights to talk with the NBA about selling the team.
The NBA Board of Governors is still meeting on June 3 to determine if Sterling will be officially forced to sell the team.