WASHINGTON (CBSDC) – Embattled Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling sat down for a lengthy interview with Anderson Cooper addressing for the first time racial remarks he’d made on an audio recording leaked to the media.
Sterling has already suffered tremendous public backlash for the recordings, on which he can be heard telling alleged mistress V. Stiviano not to bring African Americans to his basketball games, and received a lifetime NBA ban as a result of the fallout.
In the interview with Cooper, which aired on CNN’s “AC360” Monday night, Sterling alleged he only waited so long to apologize for his racial remarks at the behest of Magic Johnson, who he claims advised him to “be patient … we’ll work it out.”
Asked by Cooper what he thought John’s intentions behind telling him to wait would be, Sterling alleged, “I think he wanted me to just do nothing so he could buy the team. He thought maybe the whole thing would be resolved in two weeks.”
Sterling appears to vacillate about his feelings toward Johnson in the interview, at one point saying he admires the former Lakers star, only to later attack his character.
“He’s got AIDS,” Sterling said. “Did he do any business? Did he help anybody in South LA?”
“Well, I think he has HIV,” Cooper corrected Sterling. “He doesn’t actually have full-blown AIDS.”
“Well what kind of a guy goes to every city, has sex with every girl, then he catches HIV?” Sterling asked. “Is that someone we want to respect and tell our kids about?”
As for the racial remarks which initial landed him the target of public admonishment, Sterling offered his apologies while asserting he’s “not a racist.”
“I’m not a racist,” he said. “I made a terrible, terrible mistake. And I’m here with you today to apologize, and to ask for forgiveness for all the people that I’ve hurt. And I’ve hurt so many people, so many innocent people. I spoke to a girl that I was fond of, and I don’t know why – when I listen to that tape – I don’t even know how I could say words like that. I’m not a racist. I love people. I always have. But those words came out of my mouth, I guess. And I’m so sorry.”
Although he declined to divulge the extent of their relationship, Sterling would go on to say he felt betrayed by Stiviano for recording their private conversations, adding he felt like she was baiting into making racial remarks. He also attempted to clarify the context of one specific comment: “Don’t bring blacks to my game.”
“One of the things that I said is ‘Don’t bring blacks to my game.’ Well there’s 25 percent of my whole game are black people and I love them,” Steling said. “She would always use the word ‘black.’ That’s a ‘black girl.’ That’s a ‘black guy.’ This is ‘black.’ That’s ‘black.’ So when she says to me ‘I’m gonna bring four gorgeous black guys to the game’ … players, she was referring to, I was a little jealous.”
“When did she say that?” Cooper asked.
“Just before,” Sterling said. “And I said to her ‘Don’t bring them to the game.’ Because of my jealousy, I mean. In any event, she never brought anybody to the game. It was like she was baiting me just to say things.”
Listen to the audio clips below, as heard this morning on The Junkies.