Donald Sterling refuses to pay fine, threatens to sue NBA

Donald Sterling

Donald Sterling

Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling has sent a letter to the National Basketball Association telling the league he won’t pay his $2.5 million fine and rejecting his lifetime ban, according to multiple media reports.

Sports Illustrated and USA Today, citing unnamed sources, reported the letter also threatens the NBA with a lawsuit if Sterling’s punishment for making racist remarks, handed down by NBA Commissioner Adam Silver in April, is not rescinded.

“We reject your demand for payment,” the letter says, according to Sports Illustrated.

CNN has not independently confirmed the reports.

In an exclusive interview with CNN’s “Anderson Cooper 360″ this week, Sterling repeatedly denied he is a racist despite remarks made in a private conversation with his friend V. Stiviano that were released online.

Sterling said was baited into saying those remarks.

“I’m apologizing and I’m asking for forgiveness,” he told Cooper. “Am I entitled to one mistake? After 35 years. I mean, I love my league, I love my partners … It’s a terrible mistake, and I’ll never do it again.”

The league’s 29 other owners have taken the initial steps to force Sterling to sell the franchise he has owned for 33 years.

Sterling has hired Maxwell Blecher, an antitrust lawyer, to represent him with the NBA, Sports Illustrated said.

Blecher represented the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in its lawsuit victory against the NFL that allowed the Raiders to move to the city from Oakland without approval from other owners before the 1982 season. The Raiders returned in 1995.

According to a 1982 Washington Post article, Blecher also represented Sterling when the Clippers owner wanted to move the team from San Diego to Los Angeles. The NBA fined the franchise $25 million when he did so in 1984, but Sterling sued until the league reduced the fine, according to multiple media reports.

CNN reached out to Blecher on Thursday night, but didn’t hear back immediately.

The Clippers were playing the Oklahoma City Thunder Thursday night in a bid to extend their playoff series to a decisive seventh game.

4 comments

  • anasam

    He should sue. Yes, he made a dumb statement, that is clear. But our first amendment rights are at stake, and he does have the right to say what he wishes. Will you lose your job or business some day in the near future if you say something dumb? The PC police are coming to a place near you, but the Constitution still matters!!.

    • A Simple Man

      The Bill of Rights only covers actions between you and the government. It doesn’t cover speech between private parties. Furthermore, if there is a morals clause in his ownership agreement that allows the NBA to fine him or force him to sell, he agreed to it. Learn proper legal principles before spouting off nonsense.

      • CIAA Alum

        As an American of African descent, while I find his comments distasteful, he was in the privacy of his own home, and therefore had the right to express whatever thoughts he chose. If we cannot freely express our thoughts in the privacy of our own homes, then this country is no longer a democracy. I’m sure that many of us have said things about our employers, while in our homes, that would get us fired if we said them on the job; or if we were unknowlingly recorded and the recording was turned over to our employers.

        Serling needs to investigate the laws in his state, as I suspect the young lady has broken the law by recording a private conversation in the manner she chose–obviously Serling was unaware of the recording device.

        Regardless of what is stated, especially in our homes, we must protect the First Ammendent for all U.S.citizens.

  • Will Grant

    Freedom of speech is gone in this world…its sad too. People can say what they want and should have no fear of repercussion. I mean say something less offensive to a direct person, but talking amongst yourselves or loved ones, freedom to say what you want with no fear of being judged. This gold digger woman should be sued for what she is (which is probably nothing anyways) because she just trying to make it rich and hope she doesnt. I am guilty of saying alot of things just like we all are that we shouldnt say directly to someone. Its the United States, not some racially run world! grow up, slavery is over but we can still talk about it….you all do when you have black history month and praise the efforts! let it go folks, nobody ever wins!

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