Shelly Sterling’s lawyer threatened other NBA owners with war and potential Armageddon if they try to terminate Shelly Sterling’s ownership stake, suggesting he will attempt, through discovery, to unearth and air — including comments they may have made in private — their dirty laundry.
In an interview with the New York Times on Monday, lawyer Pierce O’Donnell said, “We’re ready to go to war if we have to.”
O’Donnell said he would “certainly be entitled to discovery” and “any fair administrative process would allow us to get discovery.”
“And I want to know a lot of different things about the records of the NBA and what information they have about the conduct or misconduct of other owners that was not acted upon,” he said. “The NBA is as much at risk as Mr. Sterling to have this whole thing aired publicly. So it’s not risk-free for either side. To answer your question, of course I’ll ask for discovery. But it’s in everybody’s best interests to avoid Armageddon.”
He also said that if the owners can terminate Shelly Sterling’s ownership stake, they can do it to any other owner.
“I’m sure other owners have said things in private. We’ve had owners who have taken anti-civil rights stands on certain issues over the years. So is there dirty laundry?” he said. “When the owners think about this in the quiet of their thoughts, and they have to render a vote, they have to think about the implications of it.”
Shelly Sterling, playing the Gloria Allred card, even suggested that sexism may be at work:
I often wonder: If the wife of one of the owners had done this, and if the roles were reversed, would they take the team away from the man? Is it something sexist? Is it the man’s club? The owners are afraid of their own issues. Because I’m sure if anybody goes into all their records, they have skeletons in their closets. They would probably like to defend Donald, because he’s one of the oldest owners. But I think they’re all afraid because of their players. They’re afraid to get involved because if one sticks up for him, then maybe the players will go against them.
The NBA, in a statement on Sunday night, said that if the league’s owners vote to force Sterling to sell the Clippers, then Shelly Sterling’s interests will “automatically be terminated” as well, per the league’s constitution:
“Under the NBA Constitution, if a controlling owner’s interest is terminated by a 3/4 vote, all other team owners’ interests are automatically terminated as well. It doesn’t matter whether the owners are related as is the case here. These are the rules to which all NBA owners agreed to as a condition of owning their team.”
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver banned Donald Sterling for life and is trying to get 3/4 of the league’s owners to oust him after an audio recording in which he told V. Stiviano to not bring “black people” to his games surfaced. Shelly Sterling spoke to the Times a day after Sterling’s rambling and incoherent interview with Anderson Cooper, which was taped on Sunday and aired on Monday, that will be remembered for the shots he took at Magic Johnson.