Donald Sterling is refusing to pay a $2.5 million fine the NBA handed down in response to racist comments made by long-time Los Angeles Clippers owner, according to published reports.
NBC4 has reached out to the NBA, but the league, which has also banned Sterling for life and is trying to force a sale of his team, would not comment on the reports by USA Today and several other publications. A league spokesman, speaking on condition of anonymity, told the Los Angeles Times the league had received the letter.
NBC4 has not received a response after attempts to contact Sterling's attorney.
Sterling's attorney wrote a letter to the NBA informing the league of the decision, according a report citing a "person with first-hand knowledge of the letter" who requested anonymity. The fine, announced by NBA Commissioner Adam Silver April 29, violates Sterling's due process rights, the letter states, according to the report.
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The deadline for paying the fine was earlier this week. The letter was sent Thursday, according to USA Today.
The letter also indicated Sterling will sue if he is not afforded due process, according to the reports.
Silver has urged the NBA's other 29 owners to back a move to oust Sterling, 80, as team owner. Sterling has owned the Clippers since 1981 and is the league's longest-tenured team owner.
The fine and ban were issued in response to racist comments made by Sterling during a recorded conversation with a companion, whom he chastises for posting Instagram pictures of herself posing with black people, including Lakers legend Magic Johnson. He also can be heard telling the woman not to bring Johnson to Clippers games.
The recording was posted on TMZ.com late last month, prompting an NBA investigation that determined Sterling made the comments.
His termination would require a three-fourths vote by NBA owners. The process so far has included a series of meetings by the league's 10-member finance/advisory committee to discuss the timeline and process for removal.
The NBA Constitution and bylaws guide the process by which ownership is terminated. It gives owners and the commissioner broad powers regarding team ownership termination when the owner's actions affect the "Association or its members adversely."
- Read: Donald Sterling Timeline
The comments drew threats of an NBA boycott, sponsorship withdrawals and backlash from current and former players.
Sterling's estranged wife, Rochelle Sterling, has said she plans to fight for her stake in the team. The NBA released a statement last week that said if a controlling owner's interest is terminated by a three-fourths vote of the other league owners, "all other team owners' interests are automatically terminated as well. It doesn't matter whether the owners are related as is the case here. These are the rules to which all NBA owners agreed to as a condition of owning their team."
The Clippers' most successful season in team history came to an end Thursday night with a loss to Oklahoma City in Game 6 of the Western Conference semifinals.