The Los Angeles Times reports that the NBA, which is moving to oust Donald Sterling from his ownership of the Los Angeles Clippers, alleges that Sterling lied to its internal investigators and asked "archivist" V. Stiviano to lie about the contents of the infamous tape of Sterling's racist remarks. The NBA also says that he and his wife Shelly are not in fact estranged, as she has argued by way of trying to retain half of the ownership of the Clippers.
The league believes Sterling knew that his conversation with Stiviano had been recorded more than two weeks before it appeared on TMZ. When the story broke, Sterling initially claimed the tape might not be authentic.
The NBA's case said that on April 26, the day after the recording became public, Sterling and his wife and [Clippers president Andy] Roeser huddled in a San Francisco hotel room, where they were awaiting that night's playoff game against the Golden State Warriors.
The NBA claimed the group helped work out a statement from the Clippers that said, in part: "We have heard the tape on TMZ. We do not know if it is legitimate or if it has been altered." The NBA called the statement intentionally misleading, given that Sterling knew that it was his voice on the recording...
In a phone conversation with investigator Anders that same day, Donald Sterling denied he made some of the inflammatory statements and suggested other comments must have been altered.
Sterling later allegedly met Stiviano at a hotel where she was being interviewed by Barbara Walters and asked her to tell the NBA that she had altered the tape. Read the whole story here, and while you're at it, read the L.A. Times' tragicomic documentation of the Sterlings' history of petty litigation as well.
NBA owners will vote on whether to force Sterling to sell the Clippers after a June 3 hearing.
Update, 11:30 a.m.: Deadspin points out that the NBA alleges Sterling asked V. Stiviano to lie about the tape at the same time he offered to pay for her to settle a lawsuit that had been filed against her by Shelly Sterling, which seems like an obvious attempt to pay Stiviano for her support.
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