shelly & donald sterling

*If you thought getting rid of Donald Sterling would end the LA Clippers ‘ problem with the NBA and the players, think again.

Now comes word via an article in the LA Times that documents how Shelly Sterling, the wife of the embattled racist owner, says she believes she is legally entitled to maintain ownership of the NBA team and will attempt to do so, even as the pro basketball league pushes to remove her husband from the team he has owned for 33 years.

Here’s the Times is reporting:

Sterling described her long tenure as a “die-hard” fan of the Clippers and said she believes that the sanctions against Donald Sterling — which included a lifetime ban and $2.5-million fine — do not apply to “me or my family.”

Shelly Sterling’s position presents a “wild card” for the pro basketball league as it faces its biggest crisis in memory, said a league official, who declined to be named because he was not authorized to speak publicly about the matter. Her intention to hold on to the team is a wrinkle apparently not contemplated by NBA officials when they moved nine days ago to strip her estranged husband of ownership.

Players, fans and other owners have signaled that they would like to see a fresh start for the Los Angeles franchise, which is in the midst of a playoff run in what could be its most successful season after decades of mediocrity. Ownership by any of the Sterlings could mean a continued flight of sponsors and a potential boycott from players and fans.

Broadcaster Ralph Lawler, the Clippers’ longest-serving employee, said Shelly Sterling’s plan to keep the team was understandable but that others in the organization were ready to move on.

“I think in the eyes of the players and the coaching staff and the basketball staff, the page has been turned, and I think it would be difficult to turn it back,” Lawler said.

Of course the world now knows of Donald Sterling’s bigotry via the taped recording from his “archivist” V. Stiviano. But the Times report also details the same charges against Shelly Sterling:

Donald Sterling faced allegations that he discriminated against building tenants based on their race and reached a 2009 settlement with the U.S. Justice Department for $2.8 million, without admitting any wrongdoing.

Tenants at that time accused Shelly Sterling of racist statements and actions. In a 2009 deposition, tenant Darrell Rhodes said she reacted harshly when he asked for a rent reduction. “Who do you think you are, you black [expletive],” Rhodes quoted Shelly Sterling as saying.

In an earlier deposition, a former property manager said Shelly Sterling had instructed her not to rent apartments to members of certain racial groups. The employee, Sumner Davenport, said that Shelly Sterling often seemed to be relaying the wishes of her husband, though she sometimes seemed to be speaking for herself.

Davenport also recalled that Donald Sterling had complained that “blacks smelled and blacks stunk and he wanted them out of his buildings.” During a visit to a building on Winona Boulevard, Shelly Sterling complained about an African American tenant’s uncleanliness and said “See, Sterling is right, they do smell,” according to Davenport’s deposition.

You can read the FULL article at the LA Times.