Shelly and Donald Sterling at odds over the sale of the Clippers
. (John W. McDonough/SI)
Disgraced Clippers owner Donald Sterling issued an extended statement Tuesday, declaring his intention to try and derail the agreement to sell the Clippers negotiated by his wife, Shelly Sterling, and former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, while also using some harsh rhetoric in criticizing the NBA.
Sterling, who received a lifetime ban and a $2.5 million fine from NBA commissioner Adam Silver after an audio recording that captured Sterling making a series of racist remarks became public, called the NBA "a band of hypocrites and bullies" and referred to the league as "despicable monsters."
The full text of Sterling's screed -- published by CNN -- is below.
June 10, 2014
WHY I AM FIGHTING THE NBA? THE NBA WANTS TO TAKE AWAY OUR PRIVACY RIGHTS AND FREEDOM OF SPEECH
I was brought up in America and educated to believe that every citizen has a right to privacy and right to freedom of speech. As a lawyer and citizen, I am shocked (but not surprised) that the NBA wants to take away those fundamental rights.
I feel that every American has to protect those rights and that the NBA should not be allowed to take away those rights. I have apologized for my mistakes. My apology is sincere. I want every American to know that I will not give up fighting for those rights.
I also feel that the leadership of the NBA is incompetent, inexperienced and angry. It is clear that they took this opportunity to settle the personal grievances they have harbored against me for years.
The NBA has a history of discriminatory practices which is supported by the numerous lawsuits filed by NBA employees claiming gender based discrimination. Adam Silver has worked for the NBA since 1992. He must know about the discriminatory practices of the NBA which are all matters of public record. The reason Adam Silver is focused on the sale, instead [of] the larger social issue, is because doing so would require him to examine the NBA's own discriminatory practices, including those that occurred under his many years in leadership. If the NBA is sincere about their approach, Adam Silver needs to publicly examine the NBA's own conduct and the conduct of each and every Owner.
For now, it seems Adam Silver is content with focusing his energy on violating my rights, attempting to take my property, and signing autographs for TMZ. Maybe once the dust settles, he will have some time to focus on the NBA's own transgressions.
The NBA continues to thrive and exact its reign of terror in large part from the money it receives from the Fans. The NBA is a band of hypocrites and bullies. They will not stop until someone stands up. They have taken the liberty to desecrate my privacy rights and my right to own property. I have no doubt that they will continue to find new ways to violate my rights and the rights of any person in order to draw attention away from their discriminatory and repulsive conduct.
We have to fight for the rights of all Americans. We have to fight these despicable monsters. THIS IS THE REASON I WILL NOT SELL MY TEAM.
Donald T. Sterling
Shelly Sterling and Ballmer reached agreement on a $2 billion sale price for the Clippers earlier this month. That agreement includes indemnification for the league from potential legal action brought by Donald Sterling. Reports have also indicated that Donald Sterling, 80, has been ruled "mentally incapacitated" due to dementia, but Sterling's legal counsel has pushed back against those statements.
The Associated Press reports Tuesday that Shelly Sterling head to court in California on Wednesday hoping to confirm her legal right to sell the Clippers.
Shelly Sterling contends she is the sole trustee of The Sterling Family Trust, which owns the team. Donald Sterling was stripped as co-trustee after two neurologists last month determined he was suffering from dementia and ''mentally incapacitated'' under the trust's conditions, according to a person who is familiar with the trust and the medical evaluations but could not speak publicly.
The aim of Sterling's court bid is to have a judge confirm provisions of the family trust to ensure the Ballmer sale moves forward without a hitch. Donald Sterling has the right to present his side at any hearing and appeal any decision.
Speaking at his annual Finals press conference before Game 2 of the Finals in San Antonio, Silver acknowledged that Donald Sterling's pending litigation against the NBA was one of the hurdles that needed to be overcome before Ballmer could officially become the new owner of the Clippers.
Silver made it clear that he would not consider lifting Donald Sterling's lifetime ban or reducing the $2.5 million fine he levied against Sterling.
McCANN: What's next for Sterling, NBA in lawsuit?
"There is absolutely no possibility that the lifetime ban will be rescinded or that the fine will be changed in any way," Silver said.
Additionally, he revealed that he spoke with a "distraught" Sterling shortly after levying the lifetime ban, noting that Sterling "was not remorseful at that time."
The NBA's Board of Governors is set to meet in mid-July. A vote on the sale of the Clippers is expected to occur at that meeting, but it could happen more quickly, depending on the completion of the sale process and the resolution of Donald Sterling's lawsuit.