CEO: Sterling Staying On As Owner Is A 'Disaster' For LA Clipper

CEO: Sterling Staying On As Owner Is A 'Disaster' For LA Clippers

Posted: Updated:
Los Angeles, CA - (FOX 11 / AP) Coach Doc Rivers has said he'll resign from the Los Angeles Clippers if Donald Sterling remains owner, the team's interim CEO testified, saying such a move would be a "disaster" for the franchise."If Mr. Sterling continues as owner, he does not want to continue as coach," Richard Parsons said in court Tuesday, recounting recent conversations with Rivers.

His testimony was a rare foray into the basketball side of the Clippers at a probate-court trial that has focused on the narrow question of whether Sterling's wife, Shelly, can sell the team for $2 billion to former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer as the NBA looks to force Donald Sterling from the league over racist statements.

Shelly Sterling is scheduled to return to the stand Wednesday as the final witness, with the two sides returning for closing arguments next week.

Parsons, a former chief executive at Time Warner and Citigroup who took over leadership of the Clippers in May during the media blitz surrounding the banishment of Sterling, said under questioning by Ballmer's lawyer that the departure of Rivers would "accelerate the death spiral" of the Clippers.

"If Doc were to leave, that would be a disaster," Parsons said. "Doc is the father figure, the one who leads."

Team representatives said Rivers had no comment on the testimony.

Parsons said he fears there would also be an exodus of key players, including team captain Chris Paul, who heads the NBA players union.

The judge stopped Parsons from giving an account of his conversations with Paul when an NBA lawyer objected over privacy issues.

Parsons said corporate sponsors and season ticket holders would likely be the next to leave.

"If your coach leaves, if your players don't want to play with you, what do you have?" Parsons asked. "If your sponsors leave and the fans leave, it's going to spiral down and down."

Parsons also said he doesn't believe that anyone will offer as much money for the team as Ballmer. That opinion was seconded by witness Anwar Zakkour, an investment banker who helped broker the deal for Ballmer's purchase and said he never expected a bid so big.

Explaining why Ballmer would have bid over the value of the team, Zakkour said, "It was a trophy asset."

"This is the highest price ever achieved for a sports team," he said. "However way you count it, this is an amazing price that anyone should be satisfied with."

Parsons and Zakkour said that if the NBA seized the team and put it up for auction, the price would drop because there would be less certainty about the team's future.

Outside court, Sterling's lawyer, Bobby Samini, said the billionaire would persist in his opposition to the sale because "he feels he was wronged" by the NBA.

"He has no desire to destroy the team," Samini said. "He is fighting to protect his rights."

Later Tuesday, Sterling fired off another legal volley, filing a new lawsuit against his wife, the NBA and league Commissioner Adam Silver that alleges fraud, breach of contract, unfair business practices and infliction of emotional distress. He claimed, among other things, that he was tricked into being examined by psychiatrists to establish whether he was mentally competent.

The NBA declined to comment on the new lawsuit.

Shelly Sterling's attorney called it a "frivolous, last ditch act of desperation" in a statement.

"This action shows once more how obsessed he is with ruining a record-setting $2 billion sale of the Los Angeles Clippers," attorney Pierce O'Donnell said, "a sale that would solve the problems his racist rant started three months ago."

From Christina Gonzalez:


Everyone was waiting for Shelly Sterling to testify at the trial determining if she acted legally when she took control of the family trust that owns the Clippers.

Attorneys representing her husband, Donald Sterling, repeatedly said they wanted to go over how she allegedly "conspired" with doctors to declare her husband unfit to run the trust that managed the Clippers. Over Donald's objections, she has accepted a $2 billion dollar bid for the team from former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer.

So, why didn't they call her to the stand on the final day of testimony?

"She was already up there, and has already made the point for us" said attorney Bobby Samini after court.  Shelly did spend a couple of days testifying that she feared her husband's "strange" behavior was the result of Alzheimer's. 

"They have nothing" countered Shellly's attorney Pierce O'Donnell, about the defense's claims. "They've had nothing throughout the trial," he adds.  Her side is very confident the judge will rule in their favor, deciding that she acted properly when accepted Ballmer's offer for the team.

Donald's attorneys say they feel the judge will side with them!  They also say they are sure Judge Michael Levanas will actually find himself unable to make a ruling, because the issue does not belong in his probate court, so it will all "be thrown out anyway".

If he doesn't, Levanas will not only have to rule on the legality of Shelly Sterling's actions and the validity of the sale to Ballmer, but on a controversial and rarely used motion. In simple terms, if he validates her takeover of the trust that owns the Clippers, he can also rule that his decision can not be appealed.

It's a rarely used order, and to get it, Shelly must prove that without the intervention,  Donald's appeals would do irreparable harm to the team. That is why they've been having all kinds of testimony about players, coaches and sponsors threatening to leave if Donald Sterling remains in charge of the team.

Closing arguments start Monday. If the trial has been any indication, expect them to be lengthy, but rest assured that we will be there.


  • Los Angeles & SoCal SportsMore>>

  • Source says Rice video sent to NFL

    Source says Rice video sent to NFL

    Wednesday, September 10 2014 7:06 PM EDT2014-09-10 23:06:57 GMT
     A law enforcement official says he sent a video of Ray Rice punching his then-fiancee to an NFL executive five months ago, while league executives have insisted they didn't see the violent images until this week.
     A law enforcement official says he sent a video of Ray Rice punching his then-fiancee to an NFL executive five months ago, while league executives have insisted they didn't see the violent images until this week.
  • Ravens Cut RB Ray Rice After Release Of Striking Video

    Ravens Cut RB Ray Rice After Release Of Striking Video

    Tuesday, September 9 2014 12:47 AM EDT2014-09-09 04:47:48 GMT
    Ray Rice was let go by the Baltimore Ravens on Monday and suspended indefinitely by the NFL after a video was released that appears to show the running back striking his then-fiancee in February.
    Ray Rice was let go by the Baltimore Ravens on Monday and suspended indefinitely by the NFL after a video was released that appears to show the running back striking his then-fiancee in February.
  • NFL Increases Penalties For Domestic Violence With Players

    NFL Increases Penalties For Domestic Violence With Players

    Thursday, August 28 2014 3:51 PM EDT2014-08-28 19:51:29 GMT
    NFL players will be subject to a six-week suspension for a first domestic violence offense and banishment from the league for a second under a new policy outlined by Commissioner Roger Goodell.
    NFL players will be subject to a six-week suspension for a first domestic violence offense and banishment from the league for a second under a new policy outlined by Commissioner Roger Goodell.
Powered by WorldNow
Didn't find what you were looking for?
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Fox Television Stations, Inc. and Worldnow. All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy | New Terms of Service What's new | Ad Choices