Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling, in an interview with CNN’s Anderson Cooper, offered an apology for the racist comments he made to purported personal assistant V. Stiviano, but it came with something of an excuse as well, via Ismael Estrada and Catherine E. Shoichet of CNN.com:
“I’m 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,” Sterling said.
When asked by Cooper if he felt he was set up, he responded with the following:
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…Well yes, I was baited…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.
Sterling also offered a wide array of opinions on Magic Johnson, a target of his racial intolerance in Stiviano's recorded conversation:
Sterling told CNN he's spoken twice with Johnson.
"Did you apologize to him?" Cooper asked.
"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."
Sterling's apology may help his standing in the eyes of some, but it certainly loses its luster since it came with the caveat that he was somehow tricked into saying what he did.
Sterling was banned from the NBA for life and fined $2.5 million not long after the audio tape was made public. At the same press conference where Sterling's penalties were announced, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver also requested the support of the league’s owners in forcing Sterling to sell the Clippers.
Seventy-five percent of the owners would have to approve a forced sale, but even if that motion were to pass, Sterling’s wife Shelly has made it clear that she wants to keep her stake in the squad—an outcome that would not sit well with many, including the league's most visible superstar:
Considering all the different forces at play here, don't be surprised if this ordeal drags out in the court of public opinion, as well as a court of law.
Click here for complete details on Cooper’s interview of Sterling or watch the entire thing for yourself Monday, per CNN Breaking News: