Allegations that Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling made racist remarks have turned the embattled owner into a social pariah. He agreed not to attend Sunday night’s playoff game against the Golden State Warriors, but his wife, Shelly, from whom he is separated, was present.
Players took off their warmups and tossed them in a pile at center court, wore their practice jerseys inside-out, concealing the Clippers logo, and also wore black socks and armbands in protest. Shelly Sterling was clad in all black.
In an exclusive statement obtained by TMZ posted Sunday night, Shelly appears to corroborate that it is indeed her husband’s voice on the tape:
“Our family is devastated by the racist comments made by my estranged husband. My children and I do not share these despicable views or prejudices,” she said. “We will not let one man’s small-mindedness poison the spirit of the fans and accomplishments of the team in the city we love. We are doing everything in our power to stand by and support our Clippers team.”
A man TMZ alleges is Sterling can be heard telling V. Stiviano, Sterling’s girlfriend, that he’s upset with her because of a photo she took with Magic Johnson, which she posted on her Instagram account. Stiviano’s account is now locked, and she has removed the photo. (Update: the account is, once again, unlocked.) The man on the tape also tells Stiviano not to bring black people to Clippers games, and that she’s supposed to be a “delicate white girl or a delicate Latina girl.” Stiviano is Mexican and African-American.
— Terrell J. Starr (@Russian_Starr) April 28, 2014
Shelly Sterling spoke to ESPN’s Lisa Salters at the game Sunday afternoon. She refused to give an on-camera interview, but told the reporter, “I do not condone those statements that you heard. I do not believe in them. I am not a racist. I never have been, never will be. The team is the most important thing to my family.”
Salters asked Shelly if it was her husband’s voice on the tape released Saturday by TMZ. “I don’t know,” Shelly Sterling said. “I haven’t listened to the entire thing, but I do believe there are some parts that were cut out. I will let the experts handle that.”
Deadspin has an extended version of the recording that’s 15 minutes long.
Shelley Sterling is suing V. Stiviano, her estranged husband’s girlfriend and the woman whose voice is on the recordings released to TMZ, in a lawsuit that predates the tape. Shelly states that she believes Stiviano “engages in conduct designed to target, befriend, seduce, and then entice, cajole, borrow from, cheat, and/or receive as gifts transfers of wealth from wealthy older men whom she targets for such purpose,” according to a copy of the lawsuit posted online by EveryJoe.com.
Basically, Shelly Sterling thinks her husband’s girlfriend is a gold digger, and she wants a judge to declare the same.
Stiviano is also identified by the aliases Vanessa Maria Perez, Monica Gallegos, Maria Monica Perez Gallegos, and Maria Valdez.
The lawsuit, filed in superior court for Los Angeles County on March 7, appears to be Shelley Sterling suing for the return of gifts her husband gave to Stiviano, which she’s asking be considered community property. The list includes a 2012 Ferrari, two Bentleys and a 2013 Range Rover, along with $240,000 in living expenses. Essentially, Shelly is saying Donald didn’t have the right to give the gifts, so Stiviano should return them. Stiviano has refused. Earlier reports, based on a statement by the Clippers, said that Sterling was suing Stiviano for embezzling $1.8 million from the Clippers. However, there’s no mention of this in the lawsuit, only the $1.8 million Los Angeles duplex Sterling bought for his girlfriend.
Said the Associated Press:
Clippers President Andy Roeser said in a statement that the team did not know if the tape is legitimate or has been altered. He said the woman on the tape, identified by TMZ as V. Stiviano, “is the defendant in a lawsuit brought by the Sterling family alleging that she embezzled more than $1.8 million, who told Mr. Sterling that she would ‘get even.’”