LOS ANGELES — An attorney representing the estranged wife of Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling said today that she will fight to retain her 50 percent ownership stake in the team.
“She will not agree to a forced or involuntary seizure of her interest,” said Shelly Sterling’s attorney, Pierce O’Donnell. “As her lawyers we will fight vigorously to defend her property rights.”
O’Donnell also told The Associated Press that Shelly Sterling has been separated from her husband for the last year and is considering divorce.
Last week, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver banned Donald Sterling from the NBA for life and urged league owners to force him to sell the team. The move came after a recording surfaced in which Sterling made racist comments.
O’Donnell said Mrs. Sterling “abhors” the comments and that Silver had “exonerated” Mrs. Sterling in his statement last week by saying there was no decision made about other members of the family.
O’Donnell said he spoke with NBA officials early today but declined to elaborate. He said Mrs. Sterling has been working cooperatively with Silver and his staff and supported his announcement seeking a new chief executive officer and the NBA’s decision to place longtime team President Andy Roeser on leave.
O’Donnell said Mrs. Sterling is an ardent Clippers fan and plans to attend Friday’s playoff game against Oklahoma City.
“We abhor guilt by association in America,” O’Donnell said. “The sins of the husband cannot be imputed to the wife or children.”