The NBA says Donald Sterling made several attempts to avoid responsibility for his rant against African Americans, even asking his companion V. Stiviano to lie about the authenticity of the recording of the incident.
The new claim was made by the NBA's chief investigator and is among a voluminous collection of accusations and statements that the league compiled in its effort to strip Sterling and his wife, Shelly, of ownership of the Los Angeles Clippers.
Confidential NBA documents reviewed by the Los Angeles Times alleged that Sterling and his wife of 58 years "are not in any sense estranged," as she has said. Shelly Sterling has been trying to distance herself from her husband as she makes her case to keep half ownership of the Clippers.
The league has asserted that it must oust Shelly Sterling as an owner, along with her husband, to avoid the appearance that he is still in charge, which would "undoubtedly and dramatically reduce the value of the team," The Times reported.
The documents also contended that Clippers President Andy Roeser discussed the recording with Donald Sterling and then instructed an employee to destroy the copy, more than two weeks before it became public. Roeser, placed on indefinite leave by the NBA, declined to comment, according to The Times.
Sterling, 80, was heard on the recording telling Stiviano, 31, not to bring African Americans to Clipper games. The revelation touched off outrage among fans, advertisers and players.
The celebrity news website TMZ.com released the recording April 25. Four days later, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver fined Sterling $2.5 million, banned him for life from the league and asked the other 29 franchise holders to force a sale of the team.
--City News Service