Sterling was banned for life by the National Basketball
Association in April over a leaked recording of racist remarks he
Then, on May 30, Sterling sued the NBA and its commissioner, Adam
Silver, seeking at least $1 billion in damages, just as the league
tentatively approved a deal by his estranged wife, co-owner of the
franchise, to sell the club for $2 billion to former Microsoft Corp
chief executive Steve Ballmer.
Besides the lifetime ban, Silver also fined Sterling $2.5 million,
the league's maximum penalty.
Sterling's attorney, Maxwell Blecher, told Reuters in a statement on
Monday that Sterling had withdrawn his support of the Clippers sale
and that he will press ahead with his lawsuit.
In a statement carried by NBC News, Sterling said he had been
treated unfairly and must defend his rights to privacy and due
"From the onset, I did not want to sell the Los Angeles Clippers. I
have worked for 33 years to build the team ... I intend to fight to
keep the team," NBC News quoted the 80-year-old Sterling as saying
Amid fury at Sterling's remarks from fans, players and sponsors of
the Clippers, the NBA commissioner also urged the league's 29 other
team owners to take the unprecedented step of forcing Sterling to
sell the Clippers, which he bought in 1981.
Sterling also said in the statement that he was extremely sorry for
the hurtful comments he made in private, and that they were made in
anger and jealousy.
But he said he believed Silver "acted in haste by illegally ordering
the forced sale of the Clippers," banning him for life, and imposing
"The action taken by Adam Silver and the NBA constitutes a violation
of my rights and flies in the face of the freedoms that are afforded
to all Americans," Sterling said.
"I have decided that I must fight to protect my rights. While my
position may not be popular, I believe that my rights to privacy and
the preservation of my rights to due process should not be
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On Sunday, Silver said Sterling's lawsuit against the league was the
only obstacle to completion of the sale of the Clippers to Ballmer.
After first threatening not to give up the team without a fight,
Sterling ceded a controlling interest in the team to his wife,
Shelly, who was already a 50-percent co-owner through a family
trust, for the purpose of negotiating a sale.
After she struck a deal to sell the Clippers to Ballmer for a league
record of $2 billion, Sterling sued the NBA, seeking - among other
things - to recoup the capital gains taxes he would have to pay.
A lawyer for Sterling subsequently said that lawsuit would be
dropped and that his client had agreed to the team's sale.
It was not possible to verify the status of the lawsuit on Monday.
Silver said in San Antonio on Sunday that part of the deal struck
with Sterling's wife included her agreeing to indemnify the NBA
against lawsuits from her husband.
"So in essence, Donald is suing himself and he knows that," Silver
told reporters before Game 2 of the NBA Finals.
A spokesman for Sterling's wife's company said she had no comment on
(Reporting by Daniel Wallis in Denver and Eric Kelsey in Los
Angeles; Editing by Jeremy Laurence and Clarence Fernandez)
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