If you turned on a TV, opened a newspaper or used the Internet this past week, you probably heard about the latest scandal in the NBA. A recording of Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling making racist remarks to his (then ?) girlfriend was leaked to celebrity gossip website TMZ and subsequently blasted across all media outlets. Advertisers started dropping their sponsorship of the team faster than John Wall and there were rumblings of fan protests. The response from the NBA was swift, and NBA commissioner Adam Silver announced that Sterling was fined $2.5 million--the maximum penalty available under league bylaws--and banned from the league for life.
Although the NBA acted quickly, it didn’t take the allegations lodged against Sterling at face value. The league hired Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz to authenticate the recordings. The Clippers also conducted an investigation, retaining Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, LLP. Although it has not been confirmed that either of these firms will continue to represent the league or the team, this scandal will surely be generating billiable hours for months to come.
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