Excerpted from Sports Illustrated: 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.”
Blecher’s letter makes clear what many have anticipated: Donald Sterling will not go down without a fight and that he is taking active steps toward litigation. A letter of this type is considered a precursor to the filing of a lawsuit. Blecher’s letter offers no ambiguity about Sterling’s intentions.
“We reject your demand for payment,” the letter tells Buchanan, who on May 14 informed Sterling by letter that he must pay the $2.5 million fine.
Blecher’s letter goes on to identify two basic legal defenses for Sterling.
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First, Blecher claims that Sterling has not violated any article of the NBA constitution. The letter curiously references Article 35, which governs players’ misconduct, and several other provisions. The NBA is expected to argue that Sterling violated Article 13(d) among other provisions. Article 13 (d) bars owners from violating contractual obligations, including the obligation that owners no engage in unethical conduct or take positions adverse to the NBA. Blecher does not explain how he intends to prove Sterling’s racist remarks captured on the secret recording — followed by Sterling’s incendiary remarks to Anderson Cooper about Magic Johnson — do not give rise to unethical conduct or positions adverse to the NBA.
Second, Blecher argues that Sterling’s “due process rights” have been violated by the NBA. A due process claim may sound superficially reasonable. After all, Sterling was banned permanently from the NBA after a mere four-day investigation, without any formal proceedings. If the NBA were a federal agency or a state college, Sterling might have a good argument, as those are public entities that must provide safeguards found under the U.S. Constitution and state constitutions. The problem for Sterling is that the NBA is a private association and is not required to provide due process rights. Sterling, moreover, contractually assented to the NBA’s system of justice through various contracts, including his franchise agreement to purchase the Clippers and the joint venture agreement, which indicates the NBA has binding authority over the teams.Keep reading
9 thoughts on “Goliath Vs Goliath: Donald Sterling Refuses NBA’s $2.5 Million Fine, Sends Letter Threatening Lawsuit”
Hey Sterling, how about you quit crying about it and get a real job and pay your fine you over paid POS.
Sterling is just that, he’s a “filthy rich son of a bitch” who has never answered to anyone his entire life. He just “exists” to give us the definition of “douchebag” for the dictionary.
Pat Dollard = excellent site
Agreed. I like his stuff.
Rappoport is another of my favorites.
“Blecher does not explain how he intends to prove Sterling’s racist remarks captured on the secret recording — followed by Sterling’s incendiary remarks to Anderson Cooper about Magic Johnson — do not give rise to unethical conduct or positions adverse to the NBA.”
The onus is on the NBA to prove that the “Clipper” contract covers Sterling, and if it does, that his private remarks give rise to unethical conduct or positions adverse to the NBA.
If the clause referred to covers “Players” then clearly sterling cannot be a party to the clause.
Just because you do not like what someone says, (in private!!!) does not give you rights to demand money from them.
It will all be about contract law.
He is 80 years old, got more money than he can ever spend and does not give a damn.
There is no law saying that I have to like Blacks, or Whites or Homosexuals or heterosexuals, but the 1st amendment tells me that I can say whatever I want.
We just need to define “douchebags” in legal terms and the courts would be flooded with new cases. “From hereon and henceforth, it is illegal to be a “douchbag” in public.” This is what bothers me about the gig. He was recorded unbeknownst to him in his own house by some hired slut, high-buck mind you, but hired slut just the same. Convicted in the court of “Public Opinion”, the poor guy will have to lay down even bigger cash for the next “high priced hooker” once word gets out!
Just being a douche does not void his right privacy. What he said in his own home in his private conversation is no ones business. It is not the business of the NBA or anyone else and as far as it hurting the NBA, that can only happen as a result of making someones private comments public. They will have to sue themselves for that one.
And if you think it is ok to do this to a person just because you do not like their remarks then you are just gonna love the way this country is headed.
He might be one of the biggest richest losers. But if someone is trying to take 2.5 million away from me for something I said. Then the fight is on.