TIME Basketball

Sources: Donald Sterling Refuses to Pay NBA Fine, Threatens Litigation

Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling attends the NBA basketball game between the Toronto Raptors and the Los Angeles Clippers at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, on Dec. 22, 2008.
Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling attends the NBA basketball game between the Toronto Raptors and the Los Angeles Clippers at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, on Dec. 22, 2008. Landov

L.A. Clippers owner Donald Sterling has reportedly hired prominent antitrust litigator Maxwell Blecher, who has written a letter to the NBA's general counsel about denying any wrongdoing and rejecting the league's fine, following Sterling's leaked racist comments

Sports Illustrated is reporting that L.A. Clippers owner Donald Sterling is poised to unleash renowned antitrust litigator Maxwell Blecher in order to avoid being reprimanded by the NBA.

The 80-year-old property tycoon has been slapped with a $2.5 million fine and ordered to sell the team — eliminated from the playoffs by the Oklahoma City Thunder on Thursday — after his racist rant was leaked to the media.

Sources told SI.com that Blecher filed a letter on Sterling’s behalf to NBA executive vice president and general counsel Rick Buchanan. The missive denies any wrongdoing, argues “no punishment is warranted” and warns that the controversy “will be adjudicated,” suggesting a lengthy legal battle could lie ahead.

“We reject your demand for payment,” the letter tells Buchanan, basing its assertions on two key points: first, that Sterling has not violated any article of the NBA constitution, and second, that his “due-process rights” have not been met.

Read more from the Sports Illustrated story here.

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