Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling is refusing to pay a $2.5 million fine imposed on him by the NBA and could sue to retain control of the team, Sports Illustrated legal expert Michael McCann reports.
SI.com has learned that Clippers owner Donald Sterling has hired prominent antitrust litigator Maxwell Blecher, who has written a letter to NBA executive vice president and general counsel Rick Buchanan threatening to sue the NBA. The letter, sources tell SI.com, claims that Sterling has done nothing wrong and that "no punishment is warranted" for Sterling. Blecher also tells Buchanan that Sterling will not pay the $2.5 million fine, which is already past due. Blecher ends the letter by saying this controversy "will be adjudicated."
Sterling will apparently argue that he did not violate any specific rule in the NBA constitution and has been denied due process rights. McCann is skeptical of both positions. Sterling seems to have broken bylaws regarding conduct that is unethical and takes "positions adverse to the NBA," McCann writes, and it's not clear why Sterling would have a right to due process given that the NBA is a private organization whose system of discipline he agreed to in multiple contracts related to his ownership.