Donald Sterling will fight to keep Clippers, L.A. mayor says


Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti spoke Tuesday along with Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (center) and Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson (right) after Donald Sterling’s punishment was announced. (David McNew / Reuters)

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti expects Donald Sterling to fight to retain ownership of the Los Angeles Clippers despite receiving a lifetime ban from the NBA and having his ouster recommended to other owners by Commissioner Adam Silver.

“My sense is that he will [fight]. I don’t believe that he thinks the league will impose the sort of penalties that they’ve said that they will,” Garcetti said on CBS’s “Face the Nation.” “I spoke with him a few days ago, urged him to apologize to my city and our city which he says he loves and to move towards transitioning the team and restoring, you know, the luster of a team that has Los Angeles on its jersey.”

Just what will Garcetti do, Bob Schieffer asked, if Sterling remains in denial?

“I’ll continue to pressure, to look at the fans, the sponsors, the players to try to help Don Sterling move forward,” Garcetti said. “I think he needs to recognize what he said, what’s in his heart. But Los Angeles is not represented by those statements. I mean, we’re at a place that has Jackie Robinson, that had Magic Johnson, Jason Collins comes from Los Angeles. We’ve always pushed forward civil rights and tolerance and Don Sterling certainly doesn’t represent my city.”

Players were prepared to boycott games if Silver’s punishment had not been severe and, if he fights the sale of the team, Garcetti said of a possible boycott: “I would certainly keep that arrow in my quiver.”

“I think that he thinks that he’s going to be the owner for a long time, that he wants to stay the owner,” Garcetti said. “And I said, ‘This will be a long, protracted fight and a painful thing for our city that is a great city, great American city.’”

On Saturday, the league announced that it and the Clippers would work together to name a new CEO to run the team during its transition. Sterling’s wife, Shelly, issued a statement about that in which she reminded everyone that she is a co-owner.

“I spoke with Commissioner Adam Silver this week to tell him that I fully supported his recent swift and decisive action,” Shelly Sterling said before going to Staples Center for Game 7. “We also agreed at that time that, as a next step, both the league and the team should work together to find some fresh, accomplished executive leadership for the Clippers. I welcome his active involvement in the search for a person of the utmost character, proven excellence and a commitment to promoting equality and inclusiveness.

“As a co-owner, I am fully committed to taking the necessary steps to make the Clippers the best team in the NBA. That has been my aspiration ever since 1981.”

After spending most of her career in traditional print sports journalism, Cindy began blogging and tweeting, first as NFL/Redskins editor, and, since August 2010, at The Early Lead. She also is the social media editor for Sports.
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