Clippers owner Sterling: NBA case a 'sham'

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Updated: 5/27 11:49 pm

( - Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling says the NBA has no right to take the team away from him and calls the league's attempts to do so a "sham."

Sterling responded on Tuesday to the NBA's formal charge last week seeking to end his ownership in the team over racist comments he made that were recorded by a female acquaintance and posted online.

In a 32-page response that was obtained by several media outlets and posted online by USA Today, Sterling says the lifetime ban and $2.5 million fine imposed on him by NBA commissioner Adam Silver amount to "draconian penalties" that won't be enforced by any court.

He says the league is attempting to strip his ownership of the Clippers over what he calls "remarks made in a living room during a 'lovers' quarrel,' which were illegally recorded and then disclosed months later in retaliation for a lawsuit by (Sterling's) wife."

The NBA said it was going forward with a meeting of the Board of Governors on June 3 in New York. If a three-fourths majority of that body votes to sustain the league's charge, Sterling will be stripped of his ownership in the team he bought in 1981 and it will be sold.

Sterling has the right under the NBA constitution to make a presentation at the meeting. The NBA has said its constitution provides grounds to terminate Sterling's ownership.

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