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Donald Sterling Threatens To Sue The NBA, Says He Will Not Pay $2.5 Million Fine

The Clippers owner maintains he did nothing wrong.

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According to news reports, antitrust lawyer Maxwell Blecher sent a letter to the NBA Thursday on behalf of Donald Sterling, stating client's intent to sue and that he will not pay the $2.5 million fine, which is now past due.

Mark J. Terrill/Associated Press

In the letter, Belcher says his client's actions were not in violation of the NBA constitution and that Sterling's "due process rights" were not upheld.

The NBA says Donald Sterling's racist remarks violated a clause in the NBA constitution that forbids statements that "effect prejudicial or detrimental to the best interests of basketball or of the Association."

If the NBA were a federal agency or a state college, Sterling might have a good argument [on his due process rights], as those are public entities that must provide safeguards found under the U.S. Constitution and state constitutions. The problem for Sterling is that the NBA is a private association and is not required to provide due process rights. Sterling, moreover, contractually assented to the NBA's system of justice through various contracts, including his franchise agreement to purchase the Clippers and the joint venture agreement, which indicates the NBA has binding authority over the teams.

The NBA currently has unanimous support from other owners to force Donald Sterling to sell the Clippers, but the 80-year-old has made it clear he will not sell without a fight.

Danny Moloshok / Reuters

Sterling's wife, Shelly Sterling, who owns 50% of the team, also doesn’t want to sell the Clippers. Her attorney has said she would not “agree to a forced or involuntary seizure of her interest.”