The latest in a line of skirmishes between Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling and NBA authorities is that he's unlikely to pay his $2.5 million fine, handed down because of his racial comments about blacks, sports sites are reporting.
He's also threatening to sue the NBA, several sources say, CBS reported.
Legal experts are guessing this battle is going to be a long on, CBS News reported. Mr. Sterling's wife, Shelly, said that if the NBA successfully forced her husband to sell the team, she would like to retain ownership of her stake.
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said Mr. Sterling signed a constitution when he took over controlling interest of the Clippers — and he broke that contract when he was captured on audio telling his female friend not to post photos of blacks on her Instagram account or bring them to the games.
Since then, Mr. Silver has pushed for the other 29 NBA owners to vote for his ouster and has imposed a lifetime ban on Mr. Sterling from the NBA.
He was also handed down a $2.5 million fine, but sources for SI.com and ESPN.com say that Mr. Sterling's attorney, Maxwell Blecher, has threatened to sue the league over its treatment of the embattled Clippers owner. Mr. Blecher's also made clear that Mr. Sterling isn't likely to pay the fine.
But legal minds say it's already too late for Mr. Sterling and that he'll have to face whatever punishments the NBA — which has broad authorities as outlined in its constitution — will impose.
"Sterling's own signature will come back to haunt him," said Michael McCann, the founding director of the Sports and Entertainment Law Institute at the University of New Hampshire. "You agree to certain basic understandings. That's what makes a sports league different from other businesses."
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