Donald Sterling: Proceedings a sham


It has been made clear to the Sterlings that the NBA would not accept any situation in which either of them retains an interest in the team after it is sold, according to a source with knowledge of the discussions.

Donald Sterling responded Tuesday evening to the NBA's charges and attempt to terminate his ownership by calling the league's penalties "draconian" and the proceedings a "sham."

"I believe what they've done is illegal and it will not hold up in court," Blecher told ESPN. "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.

"So if the basis of their case is illegal evidence, they don't have much of a case. ... The whole thing is a pile of garbage."

In the documents sent to the NBA offices Tuesday, Sterling denies every allegation and charge made by the NBA and asks that the proceedings to terminate him at the June 3 hearing be dismissed.

Both Sterlings had until midnight ET to respond to the NBA's charges that Donald Sterling damaged the league and its business partners, including the players, with his racist comments. Shelly Sterling also filed a response to the league's termination charges, reasserting her 50 percent ownership interest in the team and contending that she is being unfairly punished for her husband's actions.

In a statement from vice president of communications Mike Bass, the NBA said the responses from the lawyers representing Donald and Shelly Sterling will be distributed -- together with the charge -- to the board of governors before the hearing next Tuesday.

"Should the board vote to sustain the charge, the Sterlings' interests in the Clippers will be terminated and the team will be sold," the league said.

In his written response, Donald Sterling also threatens future legal action against the NBA under state or federal law, questions his ability to get a fair hearing from the board of governors (many of whom issued statements condemning his words and praising the actions of commissioner Adam Silver) and states that he never intended to harm the NBA with his comments.

"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 response 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.'"

Sterling also argues that he is being unfairly punished commensurate with other offenses, such as the $100,000 fine Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant received in 2011 for directing a gay slur at a referee.

While his "opinions may be unpopular and false, they remain opinions," Sterling's response reads. He also questions whether the NBA is "willing to set a standard that an individual can be punished for voicing a negative opinion.

"If so, such a standard will make short shrift of many players and coaches. It will also needlessly suppress free speech."

Sterling specifically references Orlando Magic owner Richard DeVos, who, in his words, "has made highly controversial comments against individuals with HIV/AIDS and generously supports anti-homosexual causes with impunity."

  • 1
  • |
  • 2
  • |
  • 3
Join the Discussion
blog comments powered by Disqus
You Might Also Like...