Donald Sterling has returned to true litigious form, deciding to fight the NBA—and fight dirty if necessary. The AP reports that Sterling has hired investigators to "dig up all the dirt they can find" on the other 29 NBA owners and the current and former commissioners, David Stern and Adam Silver. The investigators’ objective: to look for any evidence of any discriminatory conduct, inappropriate comments, or questionable financing and compensation practices.
Investigators were given a six-figure budget over the next 30 days to examine the league's finances, allegations of previous discriminatory conduct, and compensation to past commissioner David Stern and current commissioner Adam Silver, said the AP source, who spoke Thursday night on condition of anonymity. The person wasn't authorized to talk publicly.
The person said the investigators also are looking into whether other owners made any off-color jokes, or racist or sexist remarks.
"The gloves are off, as they say," the person said. "Have them dig up all the dirt they can find."
The decision to fight comes after a few weeks of waffling from Sterling as he at one point signaled that he would allow his estranged wife to sell the team, changed his mind, then after the $2 billion deal was signed suggested that he wanted to “move on.” But now, the embattled owner has resumed his famously litigious mode, announcing that he is indeed suing the NBA for $1 billion and, if necessary, taking out the commissioner and other owners while he’s at it.
AP's inside source said that Sterling was hesitant to hire the private investigators, but decided to go all in after this week's court proceedings. "He realized these guys will literally go to any low to get this sold," the source said. "Even if it gets [him] nothing other than exposing all these guys and shaking up the league and seeing a change in the leadership of the league, it'll be worth it to him."
Sterling’s suit alleges that the NBA had violated his constitutional rights by using an illegal recording and that violated antitrust laws by forcing him to sell his own team. The team of investigators, Sterling’s attorney suggested, are part of Sterling’s plan to prove that the NBA leadership is hypocritical:
"Now his objective is to demonstrate for everybody that the NBA is a damned hypocrite," Sterling attorney Bobby Samini told ESPN.com on Wednesday. "We're going to pull every case against the NBA. Then we'll demonstrate that the culture of racism and gender discrimination is born at the NBA, where Adam Silver has worked in a high-level position for a long time."