DALLAS, Texas (105.3 THE FAN) – Donald Sterling issued a one-page statement dated Monday titled “The Team is not for Sale” and said that “from the onset, I did not want to sell the Los Angeles Clippers.”
But Sterling’s attempt to keep his grip on the team could ultimately lead to a revolt from a large number of NBA players that could delay the 2014-15 season.
Sterling’s inflammatory comments to then girlfriend V. Stiviano resulted in a storm of outrage from the public and players and even prompted President Barack Obama to comment on what he called Sterling’s “incredibly offensive racist statements.”
Former NBA star and current analyst Charles Barkley thinks it would be “very difficult on us players,” if Sterling remained connected to the team.
Sterling pulled his support from a deal to sell the team to former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer and will pursue his $1 billion federal lawsuit against the NBA, his attorney said Monday.
“I have decided that I must fight to protect my rights,” Donald Sterling said. “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 trampled. I love the team and have dedicated 33 years of my life to the organization. I intend to fight to keep the team.”
“Donald Sterling has to go,” Barkley told 105.3 The Fan. “We would have shut the season down next year if Donald Sterling was still the owner – and I think the commissioner understood that.”
Barkley indicated that players across the league, including many on the Clippers roster, supported the lifetime ban, fine and move to strip team ownership from Sterling by the NBA. “There was no way we were going to play basketball next year if Donald Sterling still owned the Clippers – I can promise you that” said Barkley.
Donald Sterling had agreed to ink the deal and drop the suit last week assuming “all their differences had been resolved,” his attorneys said. But individuals close to the negotiations who weren’t authorized to speak publicly said he decided to not sign the papers after learning the NBA won’t revoke its lifetime ban and fine.
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