Is Sterling Actually Giving Up?
Could it be?
Is Donald Sterling coming to grips with the old bromide about winning the battle but still losing the war?
Reports from everybody's favorite news source, TMZ.com, are that the billionaire bigot is willing to turn the Los Angeles Clippers over to wife Shelly so she can negotiate a way out of this mess with the NBA and sell the team.
Her end game is simple — she won’t object to the sale, but she wants to call the shots.
Our Sterling sources say Shelly is prepared to sue the NBA, and she will file legal docs on Tuesday if the NBA orders an involuntary sale. She’s down with a sale but only a voluntary one that puts her in control.
Attorney Pierce O’Donnell would not comment on this story but did say, “Shelly Sterling’s preference has always been to find a way to resolve this dispute amicably with the NBA in a mutually satisfactory manner.”
So why would Sterling settle now when many legal experts -- who have much more cred than TMZ -- think he would have the upper hand in court?
Yes, the last few days, there have been reports that Sterling was about to pay V Stiviano to lie to the NBA about the incident.
In fact, the Clippers brass had known for a while about Sterling's comments because she apparently took the recordings to them first.
But all that really shows is he's a sleazy dude, which has already been well established. The burden of proving that a private citizen -- even, as Mark Cuban says, a moron -- should be dispossessed from his property by claiming a clause designed to protect against substantial financial harm could also be used to ajudicate morals -- and do so even when he broke no laws -- was always going to be a tall order.
Could it be that it finally clicked with Sterling that even if he won the case, he'd be no better than a one-man leper colony in the aftermath?
For a victory that hollow, why should he blow millions of dollars in legal fees that could stay in his pocket instead? And that would be a pocket lined with a few hundred million dollars more once the Clips are sold.
Could it really be that simple? Or is there something more sinister bubbling under the rumor? This is Donald Sterling, after all. It's tempting to just let a sleeping dog lie, but this dog does lie.
Cue Yogi Berra.