Culture of Hoops

Donald Sterling: Woman in TMZ tape will not help in NBA’s investigation

Baller Mind Frame’s No Layups brings you the hottest NBA stories on the web mixed with personal opinion from our very own Aaron Lanton

The woman you hear talking to Donald Sterling during a taped conversation in which he makes racist remarks will NOT cooperate with the NBA Commissioner’s investigation … and we’ve learned her refusal has nothing to do with the tape.

A rep from the law office representing V. Stiviano tells TMZ … they heard NBA Commissioner Adam Silver state his intention to interview Stiviano, but that’s not going to happen right now. We’re told her lawyer, Mac Nehoray, will not allow her to answer questions about pending litigation against his client filed by Sterling’s estranged wife.

Shelly Sterling claims in her lawsuit Stiviano embezzled $1.8 million by scheming to get as much as she could from an old man — Donald Sterling. Stiviano claims everything she got was a gift.

Nehoray says her refusal to talk to the Commish has nothing to do with the audio tape … he believes talking to Silver would get in the way of her defense in the lawsuit. TMZ

The Clippers released a statement on Donald Sterling’s behalf that read as follows.

“We have heard the tape on TMZ. We do not know if it is legitimate or it has been altered. We do know that the woman on the tape — who we believe released it to TMZ — is the defendant in a lawsuit brought by the Sterling family alleging that she embezzled more than $1.8 million, who told Mr. Sterling that she would ‘get even.’ Mr. Sterling is emphatic that what is reflected on that recording is not consistent with, nor does it reflect his views, beliefs or feelings. It is the antithesis of who he is, what he believes and how he has lived his life. He feels terrible that such sentiments are being attributed to him and apologizes to anyone who might have been hurt by them. He is also upset and apologizes for sentiments attributed to him about Earvin Johnson. He has long considered Magic a friend and has only the utmost respect and admiration for him–both in terms of who he is and what he has achieved. We are investigating this matter.”

Here’s what we know:

  • Shelly Sterling, Donald Sterling’s wife is suing V. Stiviano, a former girlfriend of Donald, for embezzlement.
  •  The tape in question is assumed to be a recorded conversation between V. Stiviano and Donald Sterling. Its’ authenticity has not been verified and it is possible the NBA will not be able to obtain the original recording to determine if it was doctored in any way.
  • The Clippers maintain that V. Stiviano has released the tape to “get even” with Mr. Sterling, and that the opinion expressed on the tape do not “reflect his views, beliefs or feelings.”
  • V. Stiviano is unlikely to cooperate with the NBA because of Mrs. Sterling’s lawsuit. 

This saga is only going to become more complicated but it will be handled swiftly. That’s all the NBA family can ask for. – AL

Featured image courtesy of Josh Hallett/Flickr.

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