News

L.A. mayor foresees lengthy legal battle with Clippers owner

L.A. mayor foresees lengthy legal battle with Clippers owner

CLIPPERS CONTROVERSY:Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti speaks as retired basketball star Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (C) and Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson, who is working on behalf of the National Basketball Players Association, stand by at a news conference. Photo: Reuters

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said on Sunday he expects Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling to put up a “long, protracted fight” to retain ownership of the team after being banned for life from the National Basketball Association because of racial comments.

Garcetti, appearing on CBS News’ “Face the Nation” program, was asked about a potential boycott of Clippers games if Sterling balks and said, “I would certainly keep that arrow in my quiver.”

Last week NBA Commissioner Adam Silver fined Sterling $2.5 million and imposed a lifetime ban after the revelation of taped conversations in which he told his friend, V. Stiviano, that he did not want her to bring black people to Clippers games or pose for pictures with them.

The NBA Board of Governors is expected to meet within the next two weeks to vote on forcing a sale of the team.

WATCH: Playoff protest | PHOTOS: Banned from sports

Sterling, who built a fortune estimated at $1.9 billion through Los Angeles-area real estate holdings, bought the Clippers for $12 million in 1981 and the franchise now is valued at $430 million by Forbes magazine.

Garcetti said he had spoken with Sterling, urging him to apologize for his comments, but that he expects an ugly legal battle.

“I think that he thinks that he’s going to be the owner for a long time, that he wants to stay the owner,” Garcetti said. “And I said, ‘This will be a long, protracted fight and a painful thing for our city …'”

Garcetti said Sterling’s continued ownership could be “very tough” for the Clippers players, who advanced to the second round of the NBA playoffs Saturday, since further success would profit Sterling.

Kevin Johnson, a star guard for the Phoenix Suns in the 1980s and 1990s and now mayor of Sacramento, California, served as an emissary for the NBA players union after Sterling’s conversations were revealed. He said on NBC’s “Meet the Press” that he would like to see a unanimous or near-unanimous result when owners vote on making Sterling to sell the team.

A three-fourths vote by the board of governors would be required to force the sale.

“I think the players feel very strongly that they have confidence in the owners to make the right decision,” Johnson said. “I think the owners are going to put the Clippers in a position where this owner, Mr. Sterling, is going to have to sell the team. Whether it happens this week or next week, it’s going to have to run that process.”

“I think that everyone is anticipating there will be a legal fight,” Johnson said. “However, I’d like him (Sterling) to rethink that position. I think if Mr. Sterling was going to approach it the right way, he would apologize, he would embrace the sanctions and spend the rest of his life proving he wasn’t a racist.”

(Writing by Bill Trott; Editing by Jim Loney and Marguerita Choy)

Recent Headlines

in Entertainment

Today in entertainment history: March 27

beatles

A look back on Hollywood headlines of years past.

in Entertainment

‘Downton Abbey’ to end after season six

This photo released by PBS and Carnival Film and Television Limited shows, from left, Lesley Nicol as Mrs. Patmore, and Sophie McShera as Daisy, in a scene from season four of the Masterpiece TV series, "Downton Abbey." As it returns for its much-awaited fourth season, it remains a series about elegance, tradition and gentility, and the pressures of preserving them. The show premieres Sunday, January 5, 2014 at 9 pm ET on PBS.

Producers confirm that the next season of "Downton Abbey" will be the last.

in Sports

Aaron Hernandez trail delayed by bomb threat

Former New England Patriots football player Aaron Hernandez listens during a motion regarding jail phone recordings during his murder trial at the Bristol County Superior Court in Fall River, Mass., on Wednesday, March 25, 2015. Hernandez is accused in the June 2013 killing of Odin Lloyd.

A bomb threat has delayed proceedings of the Aaron Hernandez murder trial.

in National, World

Police search house of pilot who crashed A320

Police hold media away from the house where Andreas Lubitz lived in Montabaur, Germany, Thursday, March 26, 2015. Lubitz was the copilot on flight Germanwings 9525 that crashed with 150 people on board on Tuesday in the French Alps. (AP Photo/Michael Probst)

The co-pilot of the airliner that crashed in the French Alps, killing all 150 people aboard, appears to have brought the plane down deliberately.

in National, World

PHOTOS: Crash of Germanwings Flight 9525

AP41207304817_9

All 150 people on board the jet - including three Americans - were killed Tuesday when it crashed in the French Alps.