Just when it looked like Los Angeles Clippers embattled owner Donald Sterling was set to ride off into the sunset of a forced sale to former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, Sterling has pulled the reins once again.
According to the Associated Press, Sterling will not sign off on a deal to sell the team and his lawyer, Maxwell Blecher, reports that he has been instructed to continue pursuing the $1 billion federal lawsuit Sterling filed against the NBA claiming that the league violated Sterling’s constitutional rights.
Sterling became the NBA’s public enemy No. 1 after he was heard on recordings telling alleged mistress V. Stiviano that she needed to stop associating with black people and to no longer bring black people to Clippers games.
On Monday, Sterling issued a one-page statement viewed by AP and titled “The Team is not for Sale,” which claimed that “from the onset, I did not want to sell the Los Angeles Clippers.”
Just last week it was reported that Sterling was in favor of the sale negotiated by his wife, Shelly Sterling, for a reported $2 billion after Donald Sterling had given her the go-ahead to shop the team.
Blecher noted that Sterling had approved the sale and was dropping his billion-dollar lawsuit against the NBA, but it appears that Sterling, who has been notorious in his backtracking since his racist rant and lifetime ban from the NBA, has had another change of heart.
“I have decided that I must fight to protect my rights,” Donald Sterling said. “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.”
Sources close to Sterling who spoke with AP claim that Sterling refused to sign papers authorizing the sale when he learned that his lifetime ban and $2.5 million fine would not be revoked.
“There was never a discussion involving the NBA in which we would modify Mr. Sterling’s penalty in any way whatsoever. Any suggestion otherwise is complete fabrication,” NBA spokesman Mike Bass told the Associated Press.