A month has passed since Donald Sterling’s racist remarks were first reported by TMZ. Due to these remarks, L.A. Clipper’s co-owner Sterling was banned from the National Basketball Association (NBA). This ruling forces Sterling to give up his portion of the Clipper’s. Sterling is now suing the NBA for damages caused by breach of contract amid questions of how healthy his mental state is.
Breach of Contract
In his lawsuit, Sterling is suing for over one billion dollars of damages due to breach of contract. The recording released by TMZ against Sterling was illegally recorded in the state of California and therefore he states it cannot be used as evidence. The damages in his lawsuit include a loss of funds due to needing to quickly sell the Clippers rather than attaining true value. The breach of contract lawsuit also states the force of the sale is against the rights given by the free market.
Sterling’s Mental State
According to CNN, two neurologists state Sterling is mentally incapacitated. This means he would be unable to hold his position as a co-owner of the Clippers. His lawyers, though, argue this is not true. Sterling is facing some minor mental impairment that comes with 80 years of age. The importance of this is due to a previous contract that says if Sterling or his wife became mentally incapacitated, the other takes full ownership of the trust. Sterling and his wife are not currently together and his wife is ready to sell.
The Impending Deal
Currently, Steve Ballmer is waiting for the okay to buy the Clipper’s from Sterling’s wife. The two reached an agreed upon two billion dollar sale, which would be the largest amount of money an NBA team has ever sold for. Ballmer previously tried to purchase the Sacramento Kings, but that deal fell through. The NBA Board of Governors needs to approve the sale with a ¾’s vote, which is currently on hold with the pending lawsuit. Lawyers will need to conduct a contract review to decide if a breach of contract was in fact done.
This breach of contract lawsuit is not clear-cut with issues of mental capacity needing to be cleared. There is also letter written by Sterling dated May 20th that states he agrees to sell his portion of the Clippers. Either way, the LA Clippers are hoping for a fast resolution so that their team can bond and rebuild themselves. The players are trying to stay away from the scandal and distraction to focus on improving their team.