Two weeks after he was banned for life from the NBA for racist comments, Clippers owner Donald Sterling broke his silence in an interview with CNN’s Anderson Cooper.
He didn’t help himself. In a bizarre segment that aired Monday night, Sterling rambled deeper and deeper into self-delusion, all while taking shots at the media, his interviewer,
— He denied that his players hated him.
“We may work for an employer we don’t love,” Sterling told Cooper. “I contend that they love me. … The players don’t hate me, the sponsors don’t hate me, the fans don’t hate me. It’s the media, it’s all the media.”
Roger Mason Jr., the vice president of the National Basketball Players Association, said two weeks ago that NBA players were considering a boycott had commissioner Adam Silver not banned Sterling and forced him to sell the team.
Many civic leaders, including Los Angeles mayor Eric Garcetti, have called for a clean break between the Sterlings and the Clippers franchise.
— He accused Cooper of racism.
“I think you have more of a plantation mentality than I do,” he said. “And I think you’re more of a racist than I am. Because I’m not a racist, and I’ve never been a racist.”
— He further insulted Magic Johnson, a subject of his original comments to female friend V. Stiviano.
“What has Magic Johnson done? He’s got AIDS. Did he do any business? Did he help anybody in south L.A.? I think he should be ashamed of himself. What does he do for the black people? I’m telling you he does nothing. It’s all talk.
“I spent millions on giving away and helping minorities. Does he do that? That’s one problem I have. Jews, when they get successful, they will help their people.”
— Some in the Clippers organization had already responded to Sterling’s apology early Monday afternoon, before the full interview was aired.
“I would observe, as most Americans I think would observe, that he’s a little late, for sure,” said interim CEO Dick Parsons. “But beyond that, I’m here to help turn one of the burners off under the pot, not to turn it up higher. So I think I’ll keep my personal views personal.”
He also refuted Sterling’s claim that Magic Johnson had not done enough for the community: “Not the Magic I know. … Why do you think they call him ‘Magic’? Everybody loves Magic.”
On a teleconference Monday afternoon, head coach Doc Rivers was also asked about Sterling’s comments on Johnson.
“I don’t know what’s going on out there, and I try not to get involved in that part of it right now,” Rivers said. “So whatever it is, that doesn’t sound like much of an apology to me.”