By Terrence McCoy , May 12
For two weeks, Donald Sterling’s voice has been everywhere. Since April 25, when TMZ released a recording of Sterling making racist, disparaging comments about Magic Johnson, the clip has aired on radio, on television and on YouTube, ultimately culminating in the NBA banning him for life.
Now Sterling has spoken again. Hair swept back and wearing a black suit with an open-collar shirt, he told CNN’s Anderson Cooper in an interview to be aired Monday that he was “not a racist. … 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.”
But the 80-year-old did more than apologize. He also blamed V. Stiviano, his 31-year-old girlfriend, for baiting him. In the recording, Sterling lambasted Stiviano for posting online photos showing her with Johnson and other African Americans. “When I listen to that tape, I don’t even know how I can say words like that,” he told Cooper. “I don’t know why the girl had me say those things.”
“You’re saying you were set up?” Cooper responded.
“Well yes, I was baited,” said the Los Angeles Clippers owner, who’s been fined $2.5 million and may be forced to sell the team. “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.”
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Meanwhile, another leaked recording emerged over the weekend allegedly of a conversation involving Sterling. The recording, obtained by RadarOnline, has Sterling allegedly discussing the controversy with a “long-time friend.” He said that jealously over Stiviano had driven his racism.
“The girl is black,” Sterling allegedly said. “I like her. I’m jealous that she’s with other black guys. I want her. So what the hell. Can’t I in private tell her, ‘I don’t want you to be with anybody?’”
He added: “So they should take away for life your team [if] you say the wrong thing to a girl? … I know what I said was wrong. But I never thought the private conversation would go anywhere, out to the public.”
Donald Sterling blames woman for his own racial comments: ‘I was baited’