So much for any notion that Donald Sterling would take his punishment, surrender his team and walk away quietly from the NBA.
The Los Angeles Clippers owner, whose intention seems to change with each passing day, has hired not one but four private investigation firms to look for dirt on the NBA’s other 29 owners and on Commissioner Adam Silver and former commissioner David Stern. Investigators, according to the Associated Press report, have a six-figure budget and a 30-day timeframe in which to examine the league’s finances, allegations of previous discriminatory conduct and compensation to past Commissioner David Stern and current Commissioner Adam Silver. Specifically, investigators will be looking for comments by other owners that are off-color, racist, homophobic or sexist.
”The gloves are off, as they say,” an anonymous source told the AP.”Have them dig up all the dirt they can find.”
It isn’t clear exactly what his end game is; it may be nothing more than an attempt to make other owners look bad. Meanwhile, his $1 billion lawsuit, in which he contends the league violated his constitutional rights because he may have been illegally recorded making racist comments, and violated antitrust laws by trying to force him to sell the team, proceeds. Never mind that he is essentially suing himself because his wife, Shelly, has negotiated a sale of the team to Steve Ballmer for about $2 billion and agreed to indemnify the league in any lawsuit. (Sterling and Shelly co-own the team in a family trust.)
Next month, he has a probate court hearing to determine whether Shelly Sterling was legally empowered to unilaterally negotiate the sale. Her lawyer said she could do so because doctors determined her husband was “incapacitated” after he was unable to pass mental acuity tests that included spelling the word “world” backwards and had difficulty drawing a clock face (via the Los Angeles Times). Sterling is fighting her on that, too.
”He realized these guys will literally go to any low to get this sold,” the person said. ”Even if it gets [him] nothing other than exposing all these guys and shaking up the league and seeing a change in the leadership of the league, it’ll be worth it to him.”