FILE - In this Nov. 12, 2010, file photo, Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald T. Sterling, right, sits with his wife Rochelle during the Clippers NBA basketball game against the Detroit Pistons in Los Angeles. An attorney representing the estranged wife of Clippers owner Donald Sterling said Thursday, May 8, 2014, that she will fight to retain her 50 percent ownership stake in the team. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill, File)
Rochelle Sterling says she will fight to keep her part of the Clippers even if her husband is forced out over alleged racist comments.
AP

Rochelle Sterling, the co-owner of the Los Angeles Clippers, understands why the NBA wants her husband to lose his team. She just doesn’t understand why she should too, according to media reports.

Rochelle and Donald Sterling have been married for 58 years and together they have owned the Clippers through a family trust for 33 years. While she told ABC that eventually she will divorce her estanged husband and that she backs the NBA’s ban on Donald from the game for life for his recent racism comments, she thinks any attempt to remove her as owner would be sexist.

"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?" Sterling said to Barbara Walters. "Or would they leave the husband in?"

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below

An NBA spokesperson told the New York Times that league rules would not allow her to retain her ownership in the team if Donald, 80, is forced out as owner.

Sterling said her husband may have dementia and told NBC that feels bad for him.

"I really think, personally, he has dementia," she told 'Today.' I don't think it happened overnight. I think it's been happening ... I mean, he gets crazy and yells and screams and hollers one moment. The next moment, he'll talk about something else. Nothing makes sense."

She said she will fight the league to keep the team if necessary. Or perhaps her husband will transfer her full ownership, though they haven’t talked about that option, she told ABC.

But with celebrities such as Magic Johnson and Oprah Winfrey waiting in the wings as potential Clippers owners, it’s unclear if the 79-year-old Rochelle Sterling will have much of a shot if her husband is removed from the picture, especially with allegations of her own racism related to being a landlord still lurking.