Donald Sterling Hits Back at NBA; Refuses to Pay $2.5M Fine, Sell Team

Image: Donald Sterling Hits Back at NBA; Refuses to Pay $2.5M Fine, Sell Team

Friday, 16 May 2014 10:06 AM

By Nick Sanchez

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L.A. Clippers owner Donald Sterling sent a letter to the NBA this week rejecting the lifetime ban and $2.5 million fine levied against him after a tape of his racist rant leaked to the public earlier this month. The 80-year-old also insisted he will not sell the team.

Sports Illustrated reported that prominent antitrust litigator Maxwell Blecher was hired to write the letter, in which it's stated, "We reject your demand for payment," "no punishment is warranted" for Sterling, and the matter "will be adjudicated."

The letter then goes on to explain the details of the claim, saying first and foremost that Sterling did not violate any article of the NBA constitution at any time.

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Article 13 (d) of the constitution states that owners should not engage in unethical conduct or take positions adverse to the NBA, and many predict that Sterling's surreptitiously recorded comments to his alleged mistress and public statements about Magic Johnson will ultimately prove to be a violation of this section.

The second item in the letter states that Sterling's due process rights have been violated, as he was thrown out after a mere four-day investigation with no formal proceedings taking against him before he got the boot.

Regarding ownership of the team moving forward, NBA commissioner Adam Silver has vowed to push the other 29 controlling owners of the team to vote against him in the ownership dispute. Sterling will need three-fourths of them on his side to make a case. Among those potential voters is Sterling's wife, Shelly, whose lawyer has said previously she would like to remain an owner whether or not Donald is ousted.

If he can be forced to sell the team, Sterling will likely get nearly $600 million for the Clippers, which he bought in 1981 for $12.5 million.

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