Los Angeles Clippers co-owner Shelly Sterling thinks she is legally entitled to keep the NBA team even if the league forces her husband, Donald Sterling, out, The Los Angeles Times reported on Wednesday.
According to the Times, Shelly Sterling said in a statement that the sanctions against her husband — the league announced last week that he had been banned for life and fined $2.5 million — do not apply to “me or my family.” The league took action against Sterling, who has owned the Clippers for three decades, after the release of an audio recording featuring Sterling making numerous racist comments. NBA commissioner Adam Silver has called on the league’s other owners to force Sterling to sell the team.
But Shelly Sterling’s comments could complicate the picture. Sources told the Times the Clippers team is held as a family trust, and that Donald and Shelly Sterling each have equal ownership. And while Shelly Sterling has distanced herself from her husband’s racist remarks since their release online, she has in the past herself been accused of making racist comments.
Shelly Sterling’s attorney, Pierce O’Donnell, told the Times in a statement that she denied ever making racist comments. He also denied a suggestion made to the Times by an NBA source, that the league had discouraged her from attending playoff games at the Staples Center.