Mayor Eric Garcetti says Donald Sterling thinks he will remain Clippers’ owner

In an interview on CBS’ “Face the Nation” this morning, Los Angeles mayor Eric Garcetti said that he spoke with Clippers’ owner Donald Sterling, and will continue to pressure him to sell the team.

However, Garcetti also said that he believes the 80-year-old Sterling — banned from the NBA for life on Tuesday after TMZ released audio of his racist remarks — isn’t going to relinquish the franchise quickly. The NBA’s Board of Governors can force him to sell with a three-quarters vote, but Sterling can elect to drag his case out in court.

“I think that he thinks he’s going to be the owner for a long time,” Garcetti told CBS’ Bob Schieffer. “That he wants to stay the owner. And I said this will be a long protracted fight, and a painful thing for a city that is a great city, a great American city. … To fight this for a long time only means the value of the team goes down, but more importantly, that this debate rages on forever. And I think we need to put an end to it.”

Sterling has not apologized for his recorded comments, in which he tells female friend V. Stiviano not to bring African Americans to Clippers games or to pose with them on Instagram. His only public response was made to DuJour magazine: “I wish I had just paid her off.”

“I think he believes in his heart that he’s a very good person,” Garcetti said. “I said to him, nobody’s so simple that we only do good things or bad things. Clearly, there’s good organizations that he’s given to in the past. There’s things he’s done of a civic nature. But these statements are what they are.”

Even his philanthropy has endured heavy criticism, both for his self-promotion of donations as well as the actual impact of his work. On Tuesday, UCLA rejected Sterling’s $3 million donation toward kidney research, adding that an ad thanking him in the Los Angeles Times was in fact self-placed.

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