National Basketball Association franchise owner Donald Sterling has been handed a lifetime ban from the sport, but that does not mean he is going down without a fight. Sources say that the man, known for being an aggressive litigator, is likely to fight the league’s decision through several business litigation claims. Sterling, the owner of the Los Angeles Clippers, was banned after reportedly making racist comments that were made public in late April.
The league’s commissioner, Adam Silver, enacted the lifetime ban in late April, after recordings of Sterling’s racist rants surfaced in the sports media. Now, it appears that Sterling is making moves to retain legal representation, exploring his options in the wake of the ban. Sterling stands to lose ownership of his franchise for allegedly violating league rules.
In fact, it appears that the man’s business relationship with his fellow owners is on the rocks. Reports show that the other owners are nearly unanimous in agreement that Sterling should be stripped of his franchise. Only a two-thirds vote is required to achieve that end.
Sterling could pursue business torts under antitrust law, which would allow him to claim that the NBA is forcing him to endure unfair economic loss. The league could be attacked for putting the man in an untenable position, in which he is almost guaranteed to lose money because of the limited number of bidders. He could also pursue direct business litigation for breach of contract against the league and other owners, though experts say that the NBA’s bylaws and constitution could make that extraordinarily difficult. No matter the outcome, this is likely to be one of the most sensational legal cases facing the NBA in decades.
Source: Sports Illustrated, “Report: Donald Sterling seeking counsel for upcoming lawsuit against NBA” Brad Rowland, May. 05, 2014