Shelly Sterling said Sunday that if the NBA tries to force her to sell her half of the Los Angeles Clippers, she would “absolutely” battle to keep her stake in the team.
“I will fight that decision,” the wife of embattled Clippers owner Donald Sterling told ABC News’ Barbara Walters in an exclusive interview. “To be honest with you, I’m wondering if a wife of one of the owners, and there’s 30 owners, did something like that, said those racial slurs, would they oust the husband? Or would they leave the husband in?”
“I’ve been with the team for 33 years, through the good times and the bad times,” she added, calling the team her “passion” and “legacy to my family.”
The comments come nearly two weeks after National Basketball Association Commissioner Adam Silver announced a lifetime ban and a $2.5 million fine for Donald Sterling on April 29, following racist comments from the 80-year-old, which were caught on tape and released to the media.
“I was shocked by what he said,” she told Walters. “And — well, I guess whatever their decision is — we have to live with it. But I don’t know why I should be punished for what his actions were.”
Shelly Sterling, who said that she though her husband was suffering from “the onset of dementia,” told Walters that had been thinking about divorce for years.
“For the last 20 years, I’ve been seeing attorneys for a divorce,” she said, laughing. “In fact, I have here — I just filed — I was going to file the petition. I signed the petition for a divorce. And it came to almost being filed. And then, my financial advisor and my attorney said to me, ‘Not now.'”
Sterling added that she thinks the stalling of the divorce stems from “financial arrangements.”
Also on Sunday, Donald Sterling took part in an interview with CNN talk show host Cooper Anderson, and the news network said that it will excerpt the talk beginning in the morning and air the entire session Monday night.