Sterling to NBA: Stuff Your $2.5M Fine
Lawyer's letter signals that he plans to go down fighting
By Rob Quinn, Newser Staff
Posted May 16, 2014 6:00 AM CDT
Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling looks on during a game against the Lakers.   (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill, File)

(Newser) – It looks like Donald Sterling isn't going down without a fight. The embattled LA Clippers owner has hired a prominent antitrust lawyer and informed the NBA that he has no intention of paying a $2.5 million fine imposed for making racist remarks, sources tell Sports Illustrated and USA Today. "We reject your demand for payment," the lawyer's letter informs the league per the sources; it claims "no punishment is warranted" because Sterling has done nothing wrong and says his "due process rights" have been violated. (SI notes that latter claim is somewhat backed up by the NBA's quickie 4-day investigation, but that as a private association it has no obligation to provide due-process rights.) The deadline for paying the fine actually came and went earlier this week.

The letter doesn't mention the potential forced sale of the Clippers, sources say, but such letters are generally considered a precursor to a lawsuit and Sterling is known for his litigious tactics, reports the New York Times. Any lawsuit, however, will be an uphill struggle for Sterling, since he is contractually bound to follow the NBA's system of justice and his claim he has done nothing wrong is at odds with his admission of a "terrible, terrible mistake" in a CNN interview. If he doesn't pay the fine and loses the team, the NBA could withhold $2.5 million, plus interest, from the sale, SI notes. (In the same interview, Sterling launched a bizarre attack on Magic Johnson for getting "those AIDS.")

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May 23, 2014 5:23 PM CDT
Hanna Storm, what say U? I know you are media and you can't talk. Oh... but if you could!
May 23, 2014 9:53 AM CDT
It is a time when you won't be able to have free speech. What he did was not appropiate but a fine and outed from NBA is just a way to kill another American business. What about Obama and Jackson and their racist comments? Fine them too! Every fan should boycott NBA. FREEDOM OF SPEECH! THIS MIGHT OFFEND SOMEONE!
May 22, 2014 10:16 AM CDT
Mark Cuban (Mavericks) has shown who he is by taking a step forward and letting all know that he cannot support the "gold-digger union" with their intended outser of Sterling. The man has great leadership qualities and is one of the best of "The Sharks" because he has the gift to see through a good deal, a bad deal and "unpopular possibilities". And... it is a gift. He is a 'to thine ownself, be true" personality. Mark, you are, indeed a winner! So let's see who else Sterlling has on the bench (from the bar) to storm the court besides his famous anti-trust lawyer. Perhaps he is a bigot, but bigots are simply annoying when compared to a racists. One thing Sterling is not: he is not stupid. Stupid people do not know how to make money and invest it successfully. He is a basketball team owner, and basketball team owners know how to play the game as well. Defense, defense, defense! (The Sterling combustion is giving those who like to bully (especially child bullies) the right-of-way on a road that needs traffic lights.)