In what marked his first step in asking for forgiveness surrounding racially disparaging remarks on an audio recording released 2 1/2 weeks ago, embattled Clippers owner Donald Sterling may have ruffled more feathers.
Sterling talked with CNN’s Anderson Cooper for an interview that will be aired at 8 p.m. ET tonight in a wide-ranging interview, which will highlight his contention that V. Stiviano set him up into making racially offensive remarks.
“I was baited. That’s not the way I talk. I don’t talk about people for one thing ever. I talk about ideas and other things. I don’t talk about people,” Sterling said. “I don’t know. An 80 year old man is kind of foolish. I thought she liked me and really cared for me. I guess being 51 years older than her, I was deluding myself.”
Sterling chastised Stiviano for posting a picture of herself with Magic Johnson on Instagram. Sterling then told Stiviano not to bring black people to Clippers games. Since then, Sterling said he met with Johnson. But it sounded unclear if he actually apologized.
“If I said anything wrong, I’m sorry,” Sterling said. “He’s a good person. I mean, what am I going to say? Has he done everything he can do to help minorities? I don’t think so. But I’ll say it, he’s great. But I don’t think he’s a good example for the children of Los Angeles.”
It is unclear what Sterling meant by that. Johnson has donated money and resources in urban communities through his foundation, various businesses and scholarship programs. Johnson has also proven instrumental in bringing awareness to the HIV/AIDS virus after announcing he had the disease in 1991. But it’s possible Sterling was referring to Johnson’s admitted infidelities after learning he had the virus. Yet, Sterling has been linked with numerous affairs, too. Despite being the winner of numerous humanitarian awards, Sterling was also the subject of various racial suits that either were dismissed out of court or privately settled.
Yet, Sterling maintained that he is not racist.
“I’m here with you today to apologize and to ask for forgiveness for all the people I hurt,” Sterling said. “I hurt so many people, so many innocent people. I’ve hurt myself. I spoke to a girl I was fond of, when I listened to that tape, I don’t even know how I could say words like that. I’m so sorry and apologetic. I’m sorry so many people are hurt.”
I never dreamt that could happen. It’s a terrible terrible nightmare. My players didn’t need this and didn’t need this cloud over their head. They are good people. I love them and respect them and will always be there for him. For them to hear I’m a possible racist is so painful to me because I’m not a racist and I’ve never been a racist.”
Regardless, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver issued Sterling a life-time ban and a $2.5 million fine. The league plans to have a vote among the Board of Governors to force Sterling to sell the team, which would require a 3/4 majority as stated in the NBA Constitution. The NBA recently has said that such a vote would also strip away his wife, Shelly, from owning the team. Donald and Shelly Sterling currently have an equally split trust fund.
The NBA has expected Donald Sterling to sue because of his extensive litigation history. But Sterling suggested he will not fight in the courtroom.
“If you fight with my partners, what at the end of the road, what do I benefit especially at my age?” Sterling said. “If you fight with me and I spend millions and they spend millions, let’s say if I win or they win, that’s not important. I’m so emotionally distraught. The reason it’s hard for me is I’m wrong and I caused the problem. I don’t know how to correct it.”
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