Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said that after speaking to Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling, he believes that Sterling will not give up his team easily even if the NBA attempts to force him to sell his team.
“I think that he thinks that he’s going to be the owner for a long time, that he wants to stay the owner. And I said, ‘This will be a long, protracted fight and a painful thing for our city that is a great city, great American city,'” Garcetti said on CBS’ “Face the Nation.”
He also said that he would not rule out calling for a boycott of Clippers games if Sterling is still the owner.
“I would certainly keep that arrow in the quiver,” he said.
Sterling spoke to Jim Gray before NBA Commissioner Adam Silver banned him for life from the league after an audio recording of Sterling was released in which he said he did not want V. Stiviano to bring “black people” to his games. Sterling reportedly told him he would never sell the team. He also spoke to Jason Binn of DuJour magazine and said, purportedly V. Stiviano, I wish I had just paid her off.”
Garcetti said he urged Sterling to apologize for his comments but indicated that Sterling “believes in his heart” that he is a “very good person.”
The NBA announced that it would appoint a CEO to supervise the Clippers and NBA players have suggested that they may boycott games at the start of next season if Sterling still owns the Clippers.
The Clippers beat the Golden State Warriors in Game 7 of their first-round series on Saturday to advance in the playoffs to face the Oklahoma City Thunder.