Donald Sterling’s lawyer has informed the NBA that Sterling will not pay the $2.5 million fine and may sue the league.
According to Sports Illustrated, antitrust litigator Maxwell Blecher “has written a letter to NBA executive vice president and general counsel Rick Buchanan threatening to sue the NBA,” claiming that “no punishment is warranted” for Sterling.
“We reject your demand for payment,” the letter reportedly says.
Blecher reportedly “claims that Sterling has not violated any article of the NBA constitution” and the NBA has violated Sterling’s “due process rights.”
As Sports Illustrated notes, a failure to pay the fine may further justify his ouster from the league. In addition, regarding the due process claim, “the problem for Sterling is that the NBA is a private association and is not required to provide due process rights.” Further, Sterling “contractually assented to the NBA’s system of justice through various contracts, including his franchise agreement to purchase the Clippers and the joint venture agreement, which indicates the NBA has binding authority over the teams.”
Sterling was banned from the league for life after a tape in which he told V. Stiviano not to bring “black people” to his games was released by TMZ. Silver said he would try to expeditiously get 3/4 of the league’s owners to force Sterling to sell his team. NBA players may reportedly boycott games if Sterling is still associated with the team at the start of next year.