I am so sick of writing about Donald Sterling. Honestly, I really can't even describe it to you guys. But after I wrote about DTS' change of heart earlier tonight, there were two additional developments which, sadly, cannot be ignored.
The first is that Donald released a statement. A statement that is completely off the charts on Bill Simmons Unintentional Humor scale. As I've written in the past, Donald Sterling's defining characteristic when all is said and done is his tone deafness. And his statement is his magnus opus of tone deafness.Why I Am Fighting the NBA?
THE NBA WANTS TO TAKE AWAY OUR PRIVACY RIGHTS AND FREEDOM OF SPEECH.
I was brought up in America and educated to believe that every citizen has a right to privacy and right to freedom of speech. As a lawyer and citizen, I am shocked (but not surprised) that the NBA wants to take away those fundamental rights.
I feel that every American has to protect those rights and that the NBA should not be allowed to take away those rights. I have apologized for my mistakes. My apology is sincere. I want every American to know that I will not give up fighting for those rights.
I also feel that the leadership of the NBA is incompetent, inexperienced and angry. It is clear that they took this opportunity to settle the personal grievances they have harbored against me for years.
The NBA has a history of discriminatory practices which is supported by the numerous lawsuits filed by NBA employees claiming gender based discrimination. Adam Silver has worked for the NBA since 1992. He must know about the discriminatory practices of the NBA which are all matters of public record. The reason Adam Silver is focused on the sale, instead (of) the larger social issue, is because doing so would require him to examine the NBA's own discriminatory practices, including those that occurred under his many years in leadership. If the NBA is sincere about their approach, Adam Silver needs to publicly examine the NBA's own conduct and the conduct of each and every Owner.
For now, it seems Adam Silver is content with focusing his energy on violating my rights, attempting to take my property, and signing autographs for TMZ. Maybe once the dust settles, he will have some time to focus on the NBA's own transgressions.
The NBA continues to thrive and exact its reign of terror in large part from the money it receives from the Fans. The NBA is a band of hypocrites and bullies. They will not stop until someone stands up. They have taken the liberty to desecrate my privacy rights and my right to own property. I have no doubt that they will continue to find new ways to violate my rights and the rights of any other person in order to draw attention away from their own discriminatory and repulsive conduct.
We have to fight for the rights of all Americans. We have to fight these despicable monsters. THIS IS THE REASON I WILL NOT SELL MY TEAM.
Donald T. Sterling
A part of me wants to vivisect this statement line by line, to lambaste the complete idiocy it represents. But I just don't think I have the stamina right now. And honestly, it doesn't deserve my time. It is a self-contradictory mess. Happily, Rodger Sherman did a decent job of pointing out some of the reasons why in his piece at SB Nation NBA, so check that out.
I will take the time to reiterate a point I've made many times and one that Sherman makes as well: there is simply no issue of privacy or freedom of speech as concerns Sterling and the NBA. Whether the recording was a private conversation or not, the NBA didn't release it -- all they did was react to the aftermath. As for freedom of speech, Sterling has the right to say what he wants to say, and the NBA has the right to determine that the things he said hurt their business -- which is undeniably what happened.
As I've said all along, a lawsuit against the NBA is a non-starter, and for Donald Sterling to present himself in this statement as a defender of the American way is funny and sad at the same time.
The other development however could end up being problematic for Clippers fans.
Shelly Sterling has asked for an expedited hearing in probate court to get a ruling on Donald's competency. As I've pointed out before, Donald's only viable strategy is to dispute the legitimacy of the sale of the Clippers to Steve Ballmer, which Shelly maintains she had the authority to undertake as sole trustee of the trust that owns the team. But whereas Shelly supposedly has two doctors who adjudged Donald to be mentally impaired, Donald's money can certainly buy a cadre of expert witnesses to testify that's he's just as sharp as a tack and that those gray areas on those brain scans don't really mean anything -- and unless the probate judge moonlights as a neurologist, it's going to be the word of one set of witnesses against the word of a second set of witnesses.
One wonders if Shelly shouldn't simply take the direct approach and present the letter, signed by Donald, that granted her authority to negotiate the sale. By taking the mental competency claim to the probate judge herself, Shelly is going to force Donald into defending himself with what he never seemed to realize was his best strategy all along.
Donald actually seemed reluctant to go down that road, perhaps because it would put his mental state under a microscope in a public forum. But if Shelly is going to put the question before a judge, then Donald has no choice but to dispute the competency argument. And at that point it's anyone's guess what could happen. Without knowing the wording regarding mental competency and the trusteeship, without knowing the details of the doctor's examination, there's simply no way of knowing whether Shelly is on solid footing here. The fact that Ballmer has gone so far down this path makes one think that he believes there's a real case. But who knows?
None of this means that Donald Sterling will keep the Clippers. He will not. It could very well mean however that the existing sale that is in place to Ballmer will be vacated. If that happens, the NBA will reinitiate the process of ousting the Sterlings as owners. The bad news is that it could drag out the process far longer than it seemed just days ago; the good news is that it could cost Sterling a lot of money, both in legal fees and potentially in the eventual sale. In fact, if the team were eventually sold to Ballmer for $1.5B after Sterling loses in court and then loses the team, that would be a decent outcome.
Here's hoping that a judge rules that Donald is mentally incompetent now so that we can get this over with sooner rather than later. Goodness knows that his recent behavior is not going to help his argument.