Further extending his proverbial middle finger to the world, banned L.A. Clipper's owner Donald Sterling won't pay the $2.5 million fine as part of his punishment for his racist remarks and is now threatening to sue the NBA, according to reports. What a way to give an apology, but what else did we really expect? It's clear he's not going down without a fight; apparently he's hired prominent antitrust lawyer Maxwell Blecher who informed the league of Sterling's demands.
Sterling's been digging himself deeper into a hole since a leaked recording surfaced of his racist rant, even criticizing Magic Johnson's HIV diagnosis. In an interview with Anderson Cooper, the team owner explained he made "a terrible, terrible mistake" and issued an apology for the world to hear. Or so we thought — because a new letter from his lawyer reportedly claims that Sterling has done nothing wrong and that "no punishment is warranted," according to Sports Illustrated.
The $2.4 million fine slapped on Sterling by NBA commissioner Adam Silver in April was supposed to be due this week, but Blecher's note says “We reject your demand for payment." So what basis do they really have? Sterling hasn't violated any article of the NBA's constitution, the letter explains, and his "due process rights" weren't met.
On the surface, a "violation" of his rights could be an arguable reason since the NBA banned him without any formal proceedings and just a four-day investigation — but the organization is also a private association that doesn't require the provision of due process rights. Perhaps Sterling's just grasping at straws here, since Silver's adamantly pushing for other owners to force a sale of the Clippers.
Still, based on NBA bylaws, Sterling's team ownership could be terminated if he doesn't pay up within 30 days of written notice from the commissioner.
Let's just face it: you just can't go on a racist rant, say "sorry" on national television, and wipe your hands clean of the whole deal. Everyone's got to face repercussions here, even rich, entitled old men.