NBA says Shelly Sterling would be out if Donald sells
It took the lawyers a few days to find out how; but now they know how to get rid of two Sterlings at one time. The National Basketball Association announced Sunday night if and when disgraced Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling is forced to sell his team, his wife and co-owner Shelly Sterling won’t be able to stay. And they have a legal way to oust them both.
Shelly and Donald Sterling are estranged which potentially puts the Los Angeles Clippers in the middle of a future divorce settlement. Shelly Sterling has expressed a desire to keep her half of the team by way of the trust company that owns the team. In speaking with ABC’s Barbara Walters, Shelly Sterling said, “I will fight that decision. To be honest with you, I’m wondering if a wife of one of the owners, and there’s 30 owners, did something like that, said those racial slurs, would they oust the husband? Or would they leave the husband in? I don’t know why I should be punished for what his actions were.”
As the NBA lawyers have listened to Shelly Sterling, they have understood her position clearly. With public sentiment growing that her keeping in part ownership of the Los Angeles Clippers would not be accepted and only hurt the team, the legal research of what would happen to Shelly Sterling has been completed.
Mike Bass is a spokesperson for the NBA and released this statement Sunday night: “Under the NBA constitution, if a controlling owner’s interest is terminated by a three-quarter (owners’) vote, all other team owners’ interests are automatically terminated as well. It doesn’t matter whether the owners are related as is the case here. These are the rules to which all NBA owners agreed to as a condition of owning their team.”
Already setting up a lawsuit was Pierce O’Donnell, an attorney representing Shelly Sterling. His reply to the NBA’s statement was this: “We do not agree with the league’s self-serving interpretation of its constitution, its application to Shelly Sterling or its validity under these unique circumstances. We live in a nation of laws. California law and the United States Constitution trump any such interpretation.”
It would appear, at least according to the interview Shelly Sterling gave to Barbara Walters, that she is waiting for a better time to file her divorce papers. “For the last 20 years, I’ve been seeing attorneys for a divorce. In fact, I have here – I just filed – I was going to file the petition. I signed the petition for a divorce. And it came to almost being filed. And then, my financial adviser and my attorney said to me, ‘Not now.‘”
This case is going to take a long time to settle and there is no way of knowing how long the players will show patience. If Donald and/or Shelly Sterling still own the Los Angeles Clippers by the time next season arrives, there are going to be more legal headaches and public scrutiny from players all across the league.