The trial over the sale of the Los Angeles Clippers had an explosive day on Wednesday, as both Donald and Shelly Sterling testified in court, and Donald drew a reprimand from the judge for lashing out at his wife.
As Shelly Sterling walked past her husband following her testimony, Sterling said to her, "Stay away from me, you pig." He attempted to continue his comments, however Judge Michael Levanas interrupted him saying, "Please don’t make any comments to your wife. That’s somewhat disturbing."
That moment came after some combative testimony from Mr. Sterling. Shelly Sterling's attorney questioned Donald about why he had brought this suit against her and the NBA, after earlier agreeing to sell the team. A seasoned attorney himself, Sterling often played the courtroom and made them laugh, but he took this question very seriously:
The reason you are handling the case is because you want to charge millions in fees, right? The reason is not because of my dignity. The reason is that the Lakers signed a deal with Warners for $3 billion. The reason is, I am negotiating with Fox."
Sterling was referring to the $3 billion deal the crosstown Lakers have with Time Warner Cable to broadcast games over the next twenty years. Fox has not confirmed this negotiation with the Clippers.
In regards to why Donald Sterling flip-flopped on the sale of the team, he argued once again that he thought if he agreed to sell, he would no longer be banned from the NBA for life:
They indicated they would resolve all of the issues that remained, implying that if there was any punishment, which was the most serious punishment in the history of the Bar association and the history of sports. To impose a $2.5 million fine. To bar somebody forever. There's something behind that, and we'll find out what it is."
Donald Sterling also had some choice words for NBA Commissioner Silver, "This guy's been in office all of 60 days and he's going to show the world he's not going to permit racism. But I'm not a racist. I love all people."
As for the actual NBA, he isn't pleased with them either: "This is the worst corporation in America, and everyone will find out how terrible and dishonest they are. ... I will never ever ever sell this team. Until I die I will be suing the NBA.
Shelly Sterling, with the help of the NBA, is attempting sell the L.A. Clippers to Steve Ballmer for $2 billion, by removing Donald from the Sterling Family Trust after doctors found her husband "mentally incapacitated." Donald Sterling's lawsuit aims to prohibit this sale and argues she released his medical history without his consent.
Thus far, the trial has made it abundantly evident Donald Sterling is not at all concerned about burning his existing bridges. It also became evident that both Sterlings are rather fed up with one another. When asked in court if they were separated, Shelly Sterling answered "sort of," and hen asked for how long they were married, Donald Sterling answered,"A hundred years." Then more accurately he said, "I’ve been married 58 years."
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.
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