Sterling: Fighting for fundamental rights against 'despicable monsters'
JUN 11, 2014 1:58a ET
Donald Sterling said in a statement released by his attorney on Tuesday that he's fighting for the fundamental rights of Americans against the NBA, which he calls "a band of hypocrites and bullies" and "despicable monsters."
His statement is titled in caps and underlined: "WHY I AM FIGHTING THE NBA? THE NBA WANTS TO TAKE AWAY OUR PRIVACY RIGHTS AND FREEDOM OF SPEECH."
Sterling's statement says the NBA's efforts against him are motivated by the "personal grievances they have harbored against me for years" and accuses the NBA and commissioner Adam Silver of discriminatory practices.
"The NBA has a history of discriminatory practices which is supported by the numerous lawsuits filed by NBA employees claiming gender based discrimination. Adam Silver has worked for the NBA since 1992. He must know about the discriminatory practices of the NBA which are all matters of public record. The reason Adam Silver is focused on the sale, instead the larger social issue, is because doing so would require him to examine the NBA's own discriminatory practices, including those that occurred under his many years in leadership."
Sterling's statement closes by saying: "THIS IS THE REASON I WILL NOT SELL MY TEAM."
Silver said he has "no idea what (Sterling)'s talking about" during an interview at haltime of Game 3 of the NBA Finals.
"This is about Donald Sterling and his conduct," Silver said. "And if he wants to litigate, he'll litigate."
Shelly Sterling contends she is the sole trustee of The Sterling Family Trust, which owns the Los Angeles Clippers. Donald Sterling was stripped as co-trustee after two neurologists last month determined he was suffering from dementia and "mentally incapacitated" under the trust's conditions, according to a person who is familiar with the trust and the medical evaluations but could not speak publicly.
Shelly Sterling is scheduled to appear in probate court Wednesday to have a judge confirm provisions of the family trust and ensure the sale of the Clippers to Steve Ballmer moves forward without a hitch. Donald Sterling has the right to present his side at any hearing and appeal any decision.
His attorney Maxwell Blecher said a representative for Donald Sterling will be at the hearing, and that the main issue to be decided is whether Donald Sterling is mentally competent.
"There isn't the slightest evidence he's incapable of managing his affairs," Blecher said. He said the next step is to have other doctors evaluate Sterling.
"I have no doubt at the end of the day the court is not going to say he's incompetent. That's a very high burden in the probate court -- otherwise people would get their sisters and wife and brother-in-laws and everybody declared incompetent."
Though both Sterlings will have their own attorneys at the hearing Wednesday and they live apart, the couple remains "chummy," Blecher said.
"It's what I describe to people as a strange estrangement, they don't seem at all hostile to each other, and he's very solicitous of her," Blecher said. "They've been married 58 years. Each threatens the other one they're going to get a divorce but they never did and never have."
On Monday, Donald Sterling pulled his support from the Ballmer deal. He instructed his attorneys to prosecute a $1 billion lawsuit against the NBA that alleges the league violated his constitutional rights by relying on information from an "illegal" recording that publicized racist remarks he made to a girlfriend.
It also said the league committed a breach of contract by fining Sterling $2.5 million and that it violated antitrust laws by trying to force a sale.
Donald Sterling agreed to ink the deal and drop the suit last week assuming "all their differences had been resolved," his attorneys said. But individuals close to the negotiations who weren't authorized to speak publicly said he decided to not sign the papers after learning the NBA won't revoke its lifetime ban and $2.5 million fine.
"He never voluntarily said, 'Oh let's sell the team for $2 billion,' he didn't care about the money and he's walking away from it now. It's not about the money," Blecher said. "To him it's about the ownership of the team, the maintenance of his integrity, reputation and dignity. That's what he wanted from the league. He wanted to have them help him restore it and they wouldn't do it."
Donald Sterling's comments to V. Stiviano included telling her to not bring black people to Clippers games, specifically mentioning Hall of Famer Magic Johnson. They resulted in outrage from the public and players and even President Barack Obama.