In an interview to run Monday evening, embattled Clippers owner Donald Sterling told CNN’s Anderson Cooper that he is sorry about his racist rant but feels he was “baited” into making it.
The billionaire NBA team owner, whose taped comments to his girlfriend about Instagraming pictures of herself with Lakers great Magic Johnson among others resulted in his banishment from the league and a $2.5 million fine, apologized before saying “I talk about ideas and other things. I don’t talk about people.”
However that admission didn’t keep him from taking a swipe at Johnson, saying he didn’t think he was “a good example for the children of Los Angeles.”
“When I listen to that tape, I don’t even know how I can say words like that. … I don’t know why the girl had me say those things,” Sterling told Cooper.
Asked by Cooper if he thought he was set up by girlfriend V. Stiviano, Sterling replied that he felt she was baiting him.
“Well yes, I was baited,” Sterling explained. “I mean, 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.”
In another audio released last week, Sterling explained that he was jealous of Stiviano being with a black man and he was only trying to get her into bed and would have said anything.
Sterling told Cooper that he is “not a racist,” before apologizing for his comments.
“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,” he said.
In the initial tape that eventually led to his downfall, Sterling specifically cautioned against Magic Johnson, saying, “”Admire him, bring him here, feed him, f**k him, but don’t put (Magic) on an Instagram for the world to have to see so they have to call me. And don’t bring him to my games.”
Asked by Cooper if he had apologized to Johnson, Sterling skirted the question before taking a shot at the former NBA great.
“If I said anything wrong, I’m sorry. He’s a good person,” he said before adding, “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.”
Presumably Sterlingwas alluding to the fact that Johnson retired from basketball after becoming HIV-positive.
Sterling also stated that he hoped the other NBA would owners give him another chance and wouldn’t vote to force him to sell his team.
“I’m a good member who made a mistake and I’m apologizing and I’m asking for forgiveness,” he said. “Am I entitled to one mistake, am I after 35 years?
Tom Boggioni is based in the quaint seaside community of Pacific Beach in less quaint San Diego. He writes about politics, media, culture, and other annoyances. Mostly he spends his days at the beach gazing at the horizon waiting for the end of the world, or the sun to go down. Whichever comes first.
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