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In his argument to the NBA, Donald Sterling references Magic owner Rich DeVos

In his effort to keep the Los Angeles Clippers, Donald Sterling is arguing that the NBA is imposing a “grossly disproportionate” and “unparalleled” punishment against him for his racist remarks.

And to make that point, Sterling referenced Orlando Magic owner Rich DeVos.

In a document filed Tuesday with the league, Sterling wrote that DeVos “has made highly controversial comments against individuals with HIV/AIDS and generously supports anti-homosexual causes with impunity.” Sterling noted that the league didn’t punish DeVos when DeVos made comments about gay marriage and AIDS in a 2009 interview with the Grand Rapids Press.

Here’s the portion of the interview that Sterling is referencing:

Q: You gave $100,000 to the effort to defeat the recognition of gay marriage in Florida. Why did you choose to put money behind that cause?

A: Because I believe in it. That's just a sacred issue of respecting marriage. It was not an anti-gay thing.

I have been hung in effigy by the gay community for a long time, from when I was on President Reagan's first AIDS commission.

Q: How does that tie in with the gay marriage issue?

A: From that point on, that's when they were hanging me in effigy because I wasn't sympathetic to all of their requests for special treatment. Because at that time it was always somebody else's fault. And I said, "You are responsible for your actions, too, you know. Conduct yourself properly," which is a pretty solid Christian principle."

I would say, "I understand who you are. I accept who you are. Live your life. I will respect you. But don't keep asking for favors." Don't ask for a concession on the marriage issue, which is not vital to them, in my opinion. They've made it a vital issue because they want to.

A Magic spokesman would not comment about Sterling’s mention of DeVos.

Earlier this year, the Orlando Magic Youth Fund donated $35,000 to the Zebra Coalition, a nonprofit organization that provides housing and support services to homeless gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender youth in Central Florida.

The GLBT Community Center of Central Florida reserved 40 seats for the Magic’s April 9 game against the Brooklyn Nets to cheer on Nets center Jason Collins, who is the first openly gay player in North America’s four major professional team sports.

Sterling’s reference of DeVos was just one small segment of the 26-page document Sterling filed on Tuesday.

In that document, Sterling argues that the conversation between Sterling and V. Stiviano "cannot be used for any purpose" because the recording of that conversation was made without Sterling’s knowledge.

Sterling also contends that the NBA has misapplied one bylaw in the league constitution and that — even if the bylaw was applicable — the league didn’t demonstrate Sterling violated the league constitution.

On Tuesday night, the league issued a response to the document Sterling filed.

In a statement, the league’s executive vice president for communications, Mike Bass, said: “This evening, the NBA received responses from Donald and Shelly Sterling to the charge to terminate the current ownership interests in the Los Angeles Clippers.  The NBA Board of Governors will meet on June 3 at 1 p.m. in New York City to hear and vote upon this matter.  Should the Board vote to sustain the charge, the Sterlings’ interests in the Clippers will be terminated and the team will be sold.”

On April 29, Magic chairman Dan DeVos — one of Rich DeVos' sons — told the Orlando Sentinel that the team will vote to force Sterling to sell the Clippers

"We are whole-heartedly behind Adam's recommendation and plan to vote accordingly," Dan DeVos said.

Josh Robbins covers the Orlando Magic and the NBA for the Orlando Sentinel. You can reach him via e-mail at jbrobbins@tribune.com and connect with him on Facebook at facebook.com/JoshuaBRobbins. Follow him on Twitter at @JoshuaBRobbins.

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