Donald Sterling now faces a charge by the NBA to terminate all ownership rights in the Los Angeles Clippers franchise. Sterling, who owns the team with his wife, Shelly, will also be allowed to make a presentation at a special Board of Governors meeting scheduled for June 3.
However, attorney Maxwell Blecher has demanded on behalf of Sterling that the NBA give the longtime owner a three-month extension to prepare his response, Sports Illustrated reported Monday night. The magazine, which like CNN is owned by Time Warner, said the NBA would reject the request.
A receptionist at Blecher’s office told CNN she had been advised to give a “no comment” to all media inquiries involving Donald Sterling.
The NBA declined to comment on the Sports Illustrated report.
In order to terminate the Sterlings’ franchise rights, 75% (23) of the 30 team owners would have to vote to sustain the charge and force a sale. Because Sterling is banned from any NBA activities, he is not allowed to vote, but the Clippers will have a vote, the NBA said.
NBA bylaws say that if Sterling doesn’t respond in five business days or appear at a hearing, it will be deemed an admission to the “total validity” of the charge.
If the owner does appear, he may be represented by a lawyer, but the NBA constitution says: “Strict rules of evidence shall not apply, and all relevant and material evidence submitted prior to and at the hearing may be received and considered.”
The 80-year-old lawyer and billionaire real estate investor is already fighting a $2.5 million fine and a lifetime ban imposed by NBA Commissioner Adam Silver. The longtime owner has argued he has been denied due process.
The NBA included his failure to pay among the reasons for the charge.
The league said it has been damaged by Sterling’s racist remarks to V. Stiviano that were posted online in April by TMZ and in an interview with CNN’s “Anderson Cooper 360.”
“Among other things, Mr. Sterling disparaged African-Americans and ‘minorities’; directed a female acquaintance not to associate publicly with African-Americans or to bring African-Americans to Clippers games; and criticized African-Americans for not supporting their communities,” the statement said.
In an exclusive interview with CNN’s “AC 360” last week, Sterling talked about his relationship with Stiviano and racism in America, and he trashed Magic Johnson and other minorities.
“That’s one problem I have. Jews, when they get successful, they will help their people. And some of the African-Americans, maybe I’ll get in trouble again, they don’t want to help anybody,” said Sterling, who is Jewish.