first_imgClippers owner Donald Sterling has hired antitrust lawyer Maxwell Blecher and threatened to sue the NBA, a league source first reported the news.Blecher wrote a letter to NBA executive vice president and general counsel Rick Buchanan, claiming that his client — banned from NBA activities for life more than two weeks ago for racist comments — had done nothing wrong and that “no punishment is warranted.” The letter was a rejection of Buchanan’s request that Sterling pay a $2.5 million fine, which NBA commissioner Adam Silver had levied on him on April 29.Blecher also argued in the letter that Sterling has not violated any articles in the NBA constitution, and that the league in turn has violated his client’s “due process rights.” Sterling reportedly signed moral and ethical contracts with the league in the past. In late April, TMZ and Deadspin released audio of him telling female friend V. Stiviano not to associate with African Americans — including Johnson — and not to bring them to his games.The Clippers lost several corporate sponsors in the wake of the news, and risked a player boycott before Silver banned Sterling for life.By refusing to pay his fine, Sterling may also violate Article 13(c), which states that owners who “fail to pay any dues or other indebtedness owing to the Association within thirty (30) days after Written Notice from the Commissioner of default in such payment” may also have their interest in a team terminated.Sterling did not comment during the CNN interview when asked whether or not he would sue the league, appearing to hold out hope that his fellow owners might decide not to force him out. Blecher was named the 1998 Antitrust Lawyer of the Year by the State Bar of California. Over a decade before that, he defeated the NFL in Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum Commission v. National Football League, a case that followed the Oakland Raiders’ move to Southern California.When Sterling finally broke his silence earlier this week, he apologized repeatedly in an interview with CNN’s Anderson Cooper.“I’m a good member who made a mistake and I’m apologizing and I’m asking for forgiveness,” Sterling said in the Monday broadcast, one that only generated more backlash due to his attack on Magic Johnson. “Am I entitled to one mistake, am I after 35 years? I mean, I love my league, I love my partners. Am I entitled to one mistake? It’s a terrible mistake, and I’ll never do it again.”That admission could make Sterling’s case against the NBA more difficult.The league is expected to base its argument against the 80-year-old owner on Article 13(d) of its constitution, which stipulates that owners who “fail or refuse to fulfill its contractual obligations to the Association, its Members, Players, or any other third party in such a way as to affect the Association or its Members adversely” can be ousted with a three-fourths majority vote.center_img Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Errorlast_img

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