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Attorney: Shelly Sterling wants to keep Clippers


LOS ANGELES (AP) -- The estranged wife of Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling will fight to retain her 50 percent ownership stake in the team, her lawyer said Thursday, adding an unwanted twist to the NBA's plan to force new ownership on the franchise.

Shelly Sterling's attorney, Pierce O'Donnell, said his client "will not agree to a forced or involuntary seizure of her interest."

"As her lawyers we will fight vigorously to defend her property rights," he said.

O'Donnell said Mrs. Sterling has no interest in managing the Clippers and wants a new investor group to come in with a professional management team.

O'Donnell also told The Associated Press that Shelly Sterling has been separated from her husband for the last year and is considering divorce. There is no record of legal separation documents being filed, though O'Donnell said the couple is living apart.

Shelly Sterling Fighting To Keep Clippers

Last week, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver banned Donald Sterling from the NBA for life and urged league owners to force him to sell the team. The move came after a recording surfaced in which Sterling made racist comments, telling friend V. Stiviano that he didn't want her to bring black people to Clippers games.

At a news conference announcing the decision, Silver said no decision had been made regarding whether Mrs. Sterling or any other Sterling family member will be allowed to retain an ownership position.

O'Donnell said he spoke with NBA officials Thursday morning but declined to elaborate. He said Mrs. Sterling has been working cooperatively with Silver and his staff and supported his announcement seeking a new chief executive officer for the team and the NBA's decision to place longtime team President Andy Roeser on leave.

O'Donnell said Mrs. Sterling "abhors" her husband's comments and that "the Sterlings may share the same last name, but she does not share his values on race." The Sterlings have been married 57 years, O'Donnell said.

"We abhor guilt by association in America," O'Donnell said. "The sins of the husband cannot be imputed to the wife or children."

Shelly and Donald Sterling faced allegations that they discriminated against tenants based on race in Los Angeles according to a lawsuit filed by U.S. Department of Justice in 2006. The Sterlings, who at the time owned and managed about 119 apartment buildings or 5,000 apartments throughout Los Angeles County, agreed to settle the suit for $2.725 million.

The settlement also included two suits filed by former tenants at one of the properties, including an African-American family and an interracial married couple with biracial children, who alleged the Sterlings demolished their private yards among other actions because of their race, according to the Justice Department.

"The charges against her by former tenants are false, unfounded and were never ever determined to be valid in a court of law," O'Donnell said. He said the case was settled without any admission of liability. "She doesn't have a racist bone in her body," O'Donnell said.

Clippers coach Doc Rivers said Thursday at the team's training facility that "it would be a very hard situation" if Mrs. Sterling retained her portion of ownership in the team.

"I guarantee you every person wouldn't be on board with that," Rivers said. "Whether I would or not, I'm not going to say."

O'Donnell said Mrs. Sterling hasn't been asked to stay away from games and will not. She is an ardent Clippers fan and plans to attend Friday night's playoff game against Oklahoma City. Rivers said "that's her choice. She can be a ticket buyer or whatever."

Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson, a former NBA All-Star guard who was asked to serve as a spokesman for NBA players after the Sterling scandal broke, didn't immediately return a call seeking comment.


AP Sports Writer Beth Harris in Los Angeles, and AP writers Anthony McCartney in Los Angeles and Juliet Williams in Sacramento contributed to this report.


Tami Abdollah can be reached at HTTP://WWW.TWITTER.COM/LATAMS


Join the discussion

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dave May 09 2014 at 8:31 AM

If the NBA does take the team away from him where will it end? If we tell an off color joke will the BMV come in and take our car away from us? or the IRS seize our real estate?

This was a private conversation that he did not know was being recorded. As long as this was not an official position taken by him as owner of the clippers the NBA should stay out of it.

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jm3wo May 09 2014 at 8:52 AM

It's sad that if you are not a minority that you are not entitled to your own opinion. If you have actions against others is one thing but to just speak your own opinion you are condemned. Heck you have to fire half the police and fire departments too if what they had to say about certain people ever got taped.

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2 replies
jdsept jm3wo May 09 2014 at 9:30 AM

One can have any opinion one wants, but one must accept the consequences of that opinion if it goes public. A door greeter at Wal Mart would lose their job for a racial slur. Jackson took many hits for his anti-Semitism and rightly so.

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1 reply
cagney 0224 jdsept May 09 2014 at 11:28 AM

How can so many people be so dense? If he got on Fox and said these things, if he announced it before a Clippers game in front of a packed arena then ,yes, he should pay the concequences. But he said it in the privacy of his own home to a "friend " he trusted. At it's best it is entrapment and at it's worse it is facism.

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officejet1238 jm3wo May 09 2014 at 9:42 AM

This what I have to say about all of this. If your Black you are aloud to call each other the N word they are aloud to use the N word in all the rap **** they can tell a young black man it's ok to kill a cop. It's ok for them to walk down the street with there pants below there ass and go to school like that which makes me sick to have to see my wife and daughters see this ****. And let me say as a male 63 and yes I am white if i where to wear my pants below my ass trust me i would be arrested for it. You I come too this point it's not about the color of there skin it's about the color of the Green and how much they can get and let me say this yes i worked hard for eveything i own i just retired after 40 years of working and if foor some reason i slip and used the N word i will be Dam if they think i will give them everything i worked for were did are rights go the president needs to say in the dam white house and his wife we didn't vote him in just to take care of the black people

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geburuh May 09 2014 at 8:59 AM

I have never gone to a basketball game & never will

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2 replies
jdsept geburuh May 09 2014 at 9:24 AM

Most places don't have a seat to sell YOU anyways so who cares?

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joelknowlton geburuh May 09 2014 at 9:53 AM

Me either, bunch of overpaid ignoramiousis

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ed2160 May 09 2014 at 9:03 AM

Sterling such go after her with all he has and make it known that this is clearly extortion. Magic Johnson is clearly in with her, He is a loser just like her.

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1 reply
jdsept ed2160 May 09 2014 at 9:26 AM

Magic a loser? He looks to have enough money to be involved in buying the team and YOU? Of course YOU have proof Magic is in with her? Odd since nobody else claims that. But America does give the right to have dumb unproven ideas.

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eacret2 May 09 2014 at 9:07 AM

haha the Sterlings are making hard for idiots trying take there business!

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1 reply
jdsept eacret2 May 09 2014 at 9:23 AM

idiots? and YOU use there instead of their? HUMM

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2 replies
momsname17 jdsept May 09 2014 at 9:46 AM

Take your grammar remark and shove it up your AWe don't need a pHd in English to know you are class less

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Camp Bulldog jdsept May 09 2014 at 9:48 AM

if you want too be a teecher...good fer you. go teech somwhear else

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IBruzEZ May 09 2014 at 9:10 AM

This whole deal is a crock of crap. I am so sick of the media and it's witch hunts. People have rights for free speech and opinions, especially in their own homes.

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1 reply
jdsept IBruzEZ May 09 2014 at 9:23 AM

And others have a right to respond to what others say, and what one says does bring consequences. Most places would fire somebody for being a KKKer and making racial slurs.

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1 reply
Camp Bulldog jdsept May 09 2014 at 9:46 AM

what you do with your time...when not on the clock...is of no one's concern.

even join the KKK

you start doing what you are proposing...where does the line get drawn?

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repsteel1 May 09 2014 at 9:12 AM


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1 reply
jdsept repsteel1 May 09 2014 at 9:21 AM

Nobody denies he can say what he wishes but that does not mean one does not get the consequences from what one says. if a door greeter at Wal-Mart and making a racial slur, you will lose your job.

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1 reply
Camp Bulldog jdsept May 09 2014 at 9:42 AM

yes because the door man works for WalMart.... Sterling does not work for the Clippers. And he has done NOTHING that has proven to be racially motivated with his team.

His feelings may be one thing...but so are his actions...

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thomashollman19 May 09 2014 at 9:15 AM


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2 replies
Wonderful Gray thomashollman19 May 09 2014 at 9:25 AM


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1 reply
joelknowlton Wonderful Gray May 09 2014 at 9:33 AM

So what the guy doesn't wan't her to bring blacks to his game, what the big deal????????? He has the right to his opinion. Pretty hard not to be racist these days when every time you turn the tv on the blacks are gang banging, murdering, druging, having 10 kids of different baby mamas. Perhaps when they start to contribute to society as a whole instead of costing the country trillions things will change.

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zeroagenow thomashollman19 May 09 2014 at 9:39 AM

keep supporting bigots, gop

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1 reply
joelknowlton zeroagenow May 09 2014 at 9:52 AM

I will stop supporting bigots when things change and the blacks actually contribute to society.

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one bad mama May 09 2014 at 9:15 AM

What is that "Thing" he's sitting with??.... A freak hobbit, a bridge Troll who illegally recorded him in the privacy of his own home...that caused all this BS

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4 replies
okhomejames May 09 2014 at 9:22 AM

She's right. It's community property.

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1 reply
jaded13640 okhomejames May 09 2014 at 9:53 AM

That may be true in family court but not as far as the NBA is concerned. If she signed the francise agreement as co owner then she's got a case. That doens't mean the rest of the NBA team owners can't vote to stip them of their ownership. That's the deal. That's the agreement you sign when you buy a franchise. It's literally not any different than buying a chick fil a franchise and anouncing to the world you're an athiest. Corproate could and would force you to sell. It's in the agreement.

I'm getting really tired of people crying about free speach and first amendment and rights and now communal property. None of that is relevent. Yes he has those right and no none of them are being violated. Freedom of speach applies to government restricting free speach. They have not in this case. I think this is bs, a personal conversation where he said he didn't want his girlfriend hanging out with black people. He didn't say he didn't like them or use the N word.

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1 reply
guinner16 jaded13640 May 09 2014 at 10:09 AM

You are only half right. You are correct the initial incident had nothing to do with free speech and the first amendment. However, it did become a free speech issue when the president said sterling should lose the team. That right there is the government using their influence to discourage free speech, and encourage penalties for exercising free speech.

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