Just when it seemed like Donald Sterling and the NBA had agreed to a respectable, quiet conclusion to a messy and controversial situation, everything appears to returning to square one.
After reportedly agreeing to the sale of the Clippers and dropping a lawsuit against the NBA regarding his suspension and fine, Sterling, through his lawyer, doesn’t seem to be going away quietly. ESPN writer Ramona Shelburne, who has been at the forefront of all the Sterling coverage, has revealed that Max Blecher, lawyer of Sterling, has said through an email that the “deal is off.”
The attorney for Donald Sterling, Max Blecher, says in an email, "the deal is off" and he's been instructed by DTS to pursue lawsuit vs NBA
— Ramona Shelburne (@ramonashelburne) June 10, 2014
Furthermore, Sterling released a statement to NBC entitled “The Team Is not for Sale.”
I would like to clarify some issues regarding the Los Angeles Clippers and affiliated matters. From the onset, I did not want to sell the Los Angeles Clippers. I have worked for 33 years to build the Team.
To be clear, I am extremely sorry for the hurtful statements I made privately. I made those statements in anger and out of jealousy all in the context of a private conversation. While this is not an excuse for the statements, like every other American, I never imagined that my private conversation would be made public.
Many things have been said about me in the media which are not true. I believe that Adam Silver acted in haste by illegally ordering the forced sale of the Clippers, banning me for life from the NBA and imposing the fine. Adam Silver’s conduct in doing so without conducting any real investigation was wrong.
The action taken by Adam Silver and the NBA constitutes a violation of my rights and fly in the face of the freedoms that are afforded to all Americans.
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.
I love the team and have dedicated 33 years of my life to the organization. I intend to fight to keep the Team.
Sterling’s change of heart comes on the heels of reportedly dropping the lawsuit and appearing to willingly to fade into the darkness with his $2 billion sale of the Clippers. While what led to Sterling’s mindset change is uncertain, his stubbornness through the whole ordeal was always evident.
This likely won’t effect the sale of the Clippers, who were purchased for the record amount by Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer. Sterling and his wife would have a 50/50 split of the team assuming it becomes final.
The return of the lawsuit, however, will further cloud when Sterling’s punishment goes into effect, namely the lifetime ban. As is, Sterling has been given a lifetime ban from the NBA and a $2.5 million fine, the largest allowable amount according to the NBA by-laws.