Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling sent a signed letter to NBA Commissioner Adam Silver that authorized his wife, Shelly, to sell the team before he seemed to have a change of heart on Tuesday.
TMZ obtained the letter, dated May 22, which reads:
“This letter confirms that Donald T. Sterling authorizes Rochelle Sterling to negotiate with the National Basketball Association regarding all issues in connection with a sale of the Los Angeles Clippers team, owned by LAC Basketball Club, Inc.”
According to TMZ, Sterling’s personal lawyer also writes, “As you know, I have been a long-time attorney for Donald T. Sterling. Mr. Sterling agrees to the sale of his interest in the Los Angeles Clippers.” Sterling signed the letter under his lawyer signature and the words, “read and approved.”
The letter stands in stark contrast to Sterling’s response to the NBA’s charges against him. On Tuesday, Sterling wrote that it was “illegal” for the NBA to force him to sell his team. He said the NBA’s actions would not stand up in a court of law and could even suppress free speech. His antitrust lawyer, Max Blecher, also told ESPN on Tuesday that Sterling would “fight to the bloody end” and has “disavowed” any actions his wife is taking to sell the team.
Shelly Sterling reportedly has until 5 pM EST on Wednesday to accept bids for the Clippers.
Silver banned Sterling from the NBA for life for his racist remarks to V. Stiviano, and the league has set a June 3 hearing where 3/4 of the owners could vote to force him to sell his franchise.