In another (completely predictable) attempt to prove why they are generally considered to be among the least respected franchises in professional sports, the Los Angeles Clippers are being taken to binding arbitration by Mike Dunleavy for allegedly refusing to pay over 6.5 million dollars.
This isn’t the first, or the second, or the third time such issues have come up with the Clippers. There is a consistent pattern, dating back over 20 years, of the Clips trying to weasel out of contractual obligations to former employees, (executives, coaches and injured players).
Some of the more entertaining legal highlights from the Clipper’s & Donald Sterling:
1985- Clippers sue to cancel a six player trade involving Marques Johnson over treatment he had previously received at a substance abuse center. Settled in arbitration ruling against Clippers
1986- Still bitter over having lost the lawsuit in 1985, the Clippers then sue Marques Johnson over his refusal to have an operation – settled out of court.
1987- Johnson then sues the Clippers claiming they refused to pay $1.3 million he was owed on his contract when he got injured – went to arbitration. Johnson also claimed several other players had similar issues getting paid after having been injured.
1985- Bill Walton is sued by Clippers for “certain activities that were detrimental to Walton’s health” widely believed to be referencing the use of illegal drug – settled in arbitration. I’m with the Clippers on this one, who could possibly have expected a self-proclaimed hippie who went to college at UCLA in the 70’s and was known to follow the Grateful Dead would potentially use illegal substances?
April 2001 – Clippers sue former coach Bill Fitch for breach of contract, claiming he failed to try to get another coaching job after he was fired in 1998.
June 2001- Bill Fitch sues the Clippers for $4 million in back pay and deferred compensation. NOTE TO ANYONE NEGOTIATING WITH THE CLIPPERS: JUST SAY NO TO DEFERRED COMPENSATION.
February 2009 Elgin Baylor – long time executive for the Clippers sued for racial and age discrimination after being fired following 22 mostly unsuccessful years with the team. In his lawsuit Baylor detailed numerous conversations in which Clipper’s owned Donald Sterling supposedly made racist remarks regarding players. Seemed a little bit like sour grapes at the time, but then…
November 2009- Clippers owned Donald Sterling pay $2.75 million to settle a racial discrimination lawsuit filed on the behalf of African American and Hispanic families who were tenants of Sterling’s apartment buildings. It is the largest ever fine obtained by the Justice department in a housing discrimination case.
January 2010 – Former West Wing actress Kim Webster sues over an electrical fire at her apartment building, owned Donald Sterling.
April 2010 – Mike Dunleavy takes Clippers to arbitration.