Remember when it was reported that Donald Sterling would peacefully relinquish his ownership of the Los Angeles Clippers and let his estranged wife Shelly take the team? Yeah, that's probably not happening.

USA Today Sports has acquired a lengthy letter to the NBA sent by Sterling's legal team. In it, Sterling says the league's response is illegal in the state of California and that he won't take his punishment willingly. There's also the claim that he's received offers to sell the team in the range of $2.5 billion, which would make the Clippers the most valuable sports team in the world. Sure.

The main argument used in the letter is that the lifetime ban and fine are excessive and unjust because there was no precedent set in the NBA for Sterling's comments. It uses examples of offensive comments involving NBA employees, like Kobe Bryant calling an official a "faggot" and being fined only $100,000, or Jason Collins saying that an opponent said negative things toward him during a game, and the league did not investigate that.

Additionally, the letter states that Sterling isn't racist, and actually "was instrumental in fostering the diverse body of players, coaches, general managers, employees, and fans on which the NBA prides itself." The letter reminds everyone that the Clippers have had five African-American head coaches and "scores of African American players." And there's this, on page 11:

Indeed, Mr. Sterling recently terminated a Caucasian head coach and traded for an African American head coach who is now among the most highly paid and respected in the league.

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Yep, Sterling's using his firing of Vinny Del Negro and hiring of Doc Rivers as proof that he isn't racist.

You can read the whole document here.

[USA Today]

Photo: AP