Donald Sterling isn’t going quietly into the night, with TMZ Sports reporting that the embattled owner of the Los Angeles Clippers, caught on tape telling a female friend not to bring black players to the games, is looking for lawyers to fight the NBA’s lifetime ban and possible forced sale of the team.
According to the New York Daily News, Sterling is looking at several law firms including Los Angeles-based Glaser Weil. Most recently, Glaser Weil helped defend Paula Deen in a discrimination case in which the white Southern chef admitted to having used the n-word.
TMZ reports that Sterling, 80, has also contacted the firm of Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, also based in L.A., to discuss representation.
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, who says he has spoken with Sterling since the tapes were released on TMZ, says he believes that Sterling is steeling for a “long, protracted fight.”
“I think that he thinks that he’s going to be the owner for a long time, that he wants to stay the owner,” Garcetti said on CBS News’ Face the Nation.
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver, who said he would use his power to force Sterling to sell the team, is limited regarding how that process is enacted by the constitution of the NBA owners. Silver or one of the other 29 owners can start the process of forcing a sale by filing a written charge against Sterling. Sterling would then have five days to respond to the charges and then Silver would call for a hearing, which would subsequently lead to a vote. If 75 percent of owners voted against Sterling, he would be forced to sell the team.
Sacramento Kings owner Vivek Ranadive told the Daily News that he hopes Sterling decides to sell the team without owners forcing him.
“I would hope that at some point Mr. Sterling would come to his senses and do the right thing. That he would apologize to Magic Johnson, that he would apologize to the fans, the league, the black community, and he would do the right thing and he would accept what Commissioner Silver has suggested, he would put the team up for sale and perhaps even take a very small portion of the substantial profits and donate them to a good cause,” he said.
“It’s not going to be easy to own a team where the fans don’t welcome you, where the sponsors shun you and where you’re not welcomed by the other owners. And I think he can do the right thing and hopefully good sense will prevail at some point,” Ranadive said.
Sterling has not publicly addressed the scandal nor issued an apology since the news broke on April 25.