Why did Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling wait weeks to apologize for his racist remarks? He told CNN Magic Johnson told him to keep quiet.
“Wait, be patient, I’ll help you, we’ll work it out,” Sterling said Johnson told him.
In an interview with CNN’s Anderson Cooper Monday night, Sterling criticized the NBA star’s character and struggle with HIV, among other things. Here’s the highlights:
1. Although Sterling profusely apologized and admitted he had hurt others, he said he is hurt as well.
I’m hurt that he [Johnson] called me up and he said: “Don’t do anything. Wait until you hear from me.” Then somebody called me later and said, he doesn’t want to be involved. And then he released the tape that I sent to him, that I talked to him in confidence.
2. Sterling blamed V. Stiviano, his 31-year-old girlfriend, for “baiting” him. He said he had no idea he was being recorded.
I don’t know why the girl had me say those things. …
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, but I don’t talk about people.
3. Sterling questioned Johnson’s character — focusing on the NBA player’s battle with HIV.
He acts so holy. I mean, he made love to every girl in every city in America. And he had AIDS.
And when he had those AIDS, I went to my synagogue and I prayed for him. I hoped he could live and be well.
I didn’t criticize him. I could have. Is he an example for children? You know, because he has money, he’s able to treat himself.
But Magic Johnson is irrelevant in this thing. He didn’t do anything harmful to anybody. And I respect him. And I admire everything that he does.
4. Sterling said Jewish people spend a lot of money helping poor Jews while rich African Americans ignore those in need.
Do you know what I do? I spend millions on giving away and helping minorities.
Does he do that? That’s one problem I have. Jews, when they get successful, they will help their people. And some of the African Americans — maybe I will get in trouble again — they don’t want to help anybody.
5. Sterling admitted he made a mistake, but he argued he’s not 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 have hurt. And I have hurt so many people, so many innocent people.
And I have hurt myself. You know, I spoke to a girl that I was fond of. And I don’t know why I can never — when I listen to that tape, I don’t even know how I could say words like that.
I’m not a racist. I love people. I always have. But those words came out of my mouth, I guess. And I’m so sorry. And I’m so apologetic.
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver responded to the interview in a statement released Monday night. He called the comments “malicious”:
I just read a transcript of Donald Sterling’s interview with Anderson Cooper and while Magic Johnson doesn’t need me to, I feel compelled on behalf of the NBA family to apologize to him that he continues to be dragged into this situation and be degraded by such a malicious and personal attack. The NBA Board of Governors is continuing with its process to remove Mr. Sterling as expeditiously as possible.
Sterling told CNN the fans still love him. It’s the media that hates him, he said.