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Man: LA Clipper’s owner, Donald Sterling, is back in the headlines tonight,
Woman: He says he is not paying the 2.5 million dollar fine imposed by the NBA. A letter was sent to the NBA by Sterling’s lawyer. Sports Illustrated reports that letter was from Maxwell Blecher. He is a prominent anti-trust attorney. Blecher acknowledged, sending a letter, but would not discuss its contents. NBA commissioner Adam Silver banned Sterling for life and imposed the fine following the release of the recording which Sterling made racist remarks. So, if the matter went to court, which side would prevail? We wanted to find out.
Man: That’s right. Defense attorney Enrique Latoison joins us live in the Digital Operations Center with his take on the matter. Enrique, good to see you. Let’s start from the basics, first, though. Do you believe that Sterling should have been banned for life and forced to give up his ownership of the LA Clippers?
Enrique: Well, his ownership of the Clippers is based on the NBA Constitution. The NBA Constitution under Article 13A says that they can terminate someone’s ownership with three-fourths vote of the members. They also… the member has to willfully violate the rules and provisions of this NBA Constitution. Now, I think what it’s going to come down to is whether or not did he willfully violate the rules and violations of this constitution given the fact that he was having a private conversation where he was secretly recorded in person in private that was then leaked to the media.
Woman: And adding onto that, Sterling’s then anti-trusts lawyer he hired is now saying that those constitutional rights – that Sterling’s due process rights were indeed violated. So how strong is that argument?
Enrique: That’s actually a very strong argument. The NBA moved very quickly. The NBA should have just banned him, waited ‘till the playoffs were over with, and then addressed the situation. That would have got it out of the media. That would have calmed things down, and then they could have went and did the due process. This constitution talks about different things – about how they have hearings and you’re allowed to be represented by an attorney, to be presented with the information of the violation. None of that was done in this. All what happened was it was a news conference, he was banned for life, and right after that news conference, they then started telling the media and everyone that they were gonna force the sell of his team.
Man: So Enrique, the move today – what do you make of his attorney saying that Sterling did nothing wrong?
Enrique: Well, I believed what he’s saying is he did nothing legally wrong. I think that attorney would always say that what he said was wrong and it was a bigot comment, he shouldn’t have made those kind of comments. However, if you pay attention to what the articles say, it says you have to willfully, willfully violate the terms of the NBA Constitution, and I’m sure what his attorney is saying is he did nothing wrong by having a private conversation between two citizens that where he was secretly recorded and did not know that this would come out to the public, and therefore, those private conversations – he did nothing wrong. That’s what his attorney is saying.
Woman: All right. With the resistance now from Donald Sterling and his wife, we know this saga is far from over. We’ll be watching it closely. Enrique Latoison, thanks for joining us.
Enrique: Thank you.