In an attempt to clear the air for the first time since being banned from the NBA, deposed Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling didn't likely earn much sympathy during a one-on-one interview with CNN's Anderson Cooper on Monday night.
The 80-year-old, who was outlawed from the NBA after being recorded making a series of racist comments, spoke publicly for the first time since the incident, pleading for reprieve.
"I'm a good member who made a mistake and I'm apologizing and I'm asking for forgiveness," he told Cooper, via CNN.com's Ismael Estrada and Catherine E. Shoichet. "Am I entitled to one mistake, am I after 35 years? I mean, I love my league, I love my partners. Am I entitled to one mistake? It's a terrible mistake, and I'll never do it again."
Despite the Clippers' protest against Sterling, he explained to Cooper he is confident the team still supports him, via Yahoo Sports on Twitter:
Donald Sterling on if he thinks the players on the Clippers love him: "Absolutely. They know I'm not a racist." #AC360— Yahoo Sports (@YahooSports) May 13, 2014
The last decade of stories exposing Sterling's racism might counteract the whole "one-mistake" argument.
ESPN The Magazine's Peter Keating did a feature on Sterling five years ago outlining his questionable past, and in 2009, he paid close to $3 million in settlements stemming from a housing discrimination lawsuit.
Boasting a rather inconceivable, distorted view of reality, Sterling continued to proclaim his innocence, insisting not only that this was his first mistake, but that he was "baited" into the comments by his girlfriend, V. Stiviano.
He told Cooper:
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: "I thought that woman really cared for me. But thank God this has all come to the light. This could have been worse." #AC360— Yahoo Sports (@YahooSports) May 13, 2014
Included among the people Sterling did talk about during his now-infamous rant was local hero and NBA legend Magic Johnson. The embattled Clippers owner, who called out Stiviano for posting an Instagram picture with the Hall of Famer, said he has talked to Johnson twice, but when Cooper asked him if he has apologized, Sterling sounded anything but conciliatory.
"If I said anything wrong, I'm sorry. He's a good person," Sterling said. "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."
As Cooper noted following the interview, that was pretty much as far from the truth as you can get:
Fact: @MagicJohnson has raised tremendous amounts of money for HIV/aids awareness, education, under served communities.— Anderson Cooper (@andersoncooper) May 13, 2014
Going out of your way to insult a far-reaching, popular and beloved figure like Johnson is probably the worst PR move ever if the desired outcome is gaining any sort of clemency, but Sterling went there, and just when you thought it was the low point of the interview, he continued to plummet into nonsensical and unintelligent.
Anderson Cooper 360 on Twitter provided a couple of Sterling's most outlandish quotes:
As the interview became more ludicrous by the second, Yahoo Sports' Dan Wetzel, among many others, wondered for good reason if the delusional Sterling received any sort of "coaching" prior to the interview:
Known as a slum lord and an all-timer cheapskate NBA owner, it's clear Donald Sterling didn't spend money on PR consultants either— Dan Wetzel (@DanWetzel) May 13, 2014
Clippers coach Doc Rivers quickly responded to the interview via CNN's Rachel Nichols:
Clippers Coach Doc Rivers on Donald Sterling's @CNN interview: "That doesn't sound like much of an apology to me."— Rachel Nichols (@Rachel__Nichols) May 13, 2014
Commissioner Adam Silver released a statement on the interview late Monday night via the NBA on ESPN:
Commissioner Adam Silver releases a statement in response to Donald Sterling's CNN interview: pic.twitter.com/Fj6n01zrJd— NBA on ESPN (@ESPNNBA) May 13, 2014
Johnson briefly spoke about the situation as well:
I'd rather be talking about these great NBA Playoffs than Donald Sterling's interview.— Earvin Magic Johnson (@MagicJohnson) May 13, 2014
As Sterling continues to fight in an attempt to keep his team, he is likely headed to court, where his future role in the Association will eventually be determined.
In the court of public opinion, though, the exiled owner—who had little chance in the first place of redemption—dug himself an insurmountable hole with this baffling interview.