Embattled Clippers owner Donald Sterling should apologize says female friend V. Stiviano in an interview with Barbara Walters. The 31 year old woman at the center of the released audio tapes, that her attorney states were not released by her, says that Sterling is probably unaware of the hurtful things he says but that he has been speaking this way and thinking this way since they met. She went on to say in the interview that she does not have a sexual relationship with Sterling but she does have love for him in a father figure way. She has been sued by Sterling’s wife for the approximately $1.8 million dollars worth of lavish gifts that Sterling has bestowed upon her.
Sterling who was banned for life from NBA commissioner Adam Silver and fined $2.5 million dollars, the maximum under NBA guidelines, is being forced by a special committee formed by the NBA owners to sell the team he has owned for over 30 years. Sterling’s wife is in support of the sale from Donald but it is unclear whether she herself is going to sell released a statement; “I spoke with Commissioner Adam Silver this week to tell him that I fully supported his recent swift and decisive action,” “We also agreed at that time that, as a next step, both the league and the team should work together to find some fresh, accomplished executive leadership for the Clippers. I welcome his active involvement in the search for a person of the utmost character, proven excellence and a commitment to promoting equality and inclusiveness.
“As a co-owner, I am fully committed to taking the necessary steps to make the Clippers the best team in the NBA. That has been my aspiration ever since 1981.” It has come out recently that Donald Sterling has prostate cancer and he is on constant medication. A source close to the situation said they thought it was possible that Sterling would pass away last year.
Sterling is reportedly on the hunt to hire a major L.A. law firm to sue the NBA for suspending him and attempting to strip him of ownership of the Los Angeles Clippers . Sterling’s people were in touch with several law firms last week, including Glaser Weil. Patty Glaser is one of the top litigators in the country and is no stranger to cases involving high profile public clients.
Sterling’s people have reportedly also contacted law firm Quinn Emanuel Urquhart and Sullivan, a 650-member law firm specializing in business litigation. The NBA will most likely vote unanimously to oust Sterling in the upcoming weeks but there will undoubtedly be a legal process to formally remove him or force a sale, which could play out for some time.
“I wish I had just paid her off,” Sterling said of V. Stiviano but unfortunately offered little else in way of a response to his stinging remarks. He did release a statement through a PR firm which said in part; We have heard the tape on TMZ. We do not know if it is legitimate or it has been altered,” “We do know that the woman on the tape — who we believe released it to TMZ — is the defendant in a lawsuit brought by the Sterling family alleging that she embezzled more than $1.8 million, who told Mr. Sterling that she would ‘get even’.”
Mr. Sterling is emphatic that what is reflected on that recording is not consistent with, nor does it reflect his views, beliefs or feelings. It is the antithesis of who he is, what he believes and how he has lived his life. He feels terrible that such sentiments are being attributed to him and apologizes to anyone who might have been hurt by them. He is also upset and apologizes for sentiments attributed to him about Earvin Johnson. He has long considered Magic a friend and has only the utmost respect and admiration for him — both in terms of who he is and what he has achieved. We are investigating this matter.”
Meanwhile the team owned by Sterling, the L.A. Clippers, showed signs of being adversely effected by all the drama but were able to regroup and survive a game seven against the Golden State Warriors in the first round of the NBA playoffs. Cheering from a luxury box was Sterling’s wife Shelly who personally called head coach Doc Rivers and asked if he minded she attend the games. The Clippers advanced to face the Oklahoma City Thunder in the second round of the NBA playoffs and signs of them overcoming all the controversy were apparent as they blew out the Western conference power 122-105.
Doc Rivers believes despite the hurt the comments caused and of course wishing they had never been made he does believe the team’s resolve is as strong as ever and that may serve them well as they continue on deeper into the playoffs.