L.A. Clippers owner Donald Sterling released a statement on Monday titled, “The Team is not for Sale.” In his statement, Sterling claims he will not assent to the forced sale of his team and will fight it in court. Sterling intends to move forward with a $1 Billion lawsuit against the NBA and commissioner Adam Silver for the forced sale of the Clippers. Sterling argues that the NBA breached their contract by fining him and that it breached antitrust law by forcing a sale of the team.
Last week, Sterling signed the deal to sell the team to Steve Ballmer, assuming “all their differences had been resolved.” However, the NBA did not rescind the $2.5 Million fine or Sterling’s lifetime ban. An NBA spokesman said that there “was never a discussion involving the NBA in which we would modify Mr. Sterling’s penalty in any way whatsoever.”
It was also revealed that the deal to sell the team to Ballmer included a provision for Shelly Sterling to stay within the organization as the head of a charitable foundation receiving 10% of the team in donations to benefit underprivileged families and minorities. Also as a part of the deal, she has access to floor seats and parking to Clipper games.
In his statement from Monday, Sterling argued that Silver’s haste actions came without any investigation and they “fly in the face of the freedoms that are afforded to all Americans.” Further, “I have decided that I must fight to protect my rights. While my position may not be popular, I believe that my rights to privacy and the preservation of my rights to due process should not be trampled.”
To sue the NBA, Sterling will need to contest his wife’s sale in California probate court. In the event that Sterling should be victorious, the damages he would be paid will come from the Sterling family trust. In the sale contract, Shelly Sterling promised to indemnify the NBA for any related lawsuit against the league by Donald Sterling.