The Washington Post

Donald Sterling says ‘I’m not a racist’ on new tape as wife moves to protect her share of Clippers

FILE - In this May 19, 2012, file photo, Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling, left, and his wife Rochelle watch during the second half in Game 3 of an NBA basketball playoffs Western Conference semifinal against the San Antonio Spurs in Los Angeles. An attorney representing the estranged wife of Clippers owner Donald Sterling said Thursday, May 8, 2014, that she will fight to retain her 50 percent ownership stake in the team. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill) The Sterlings in 2012. (Mark J. Terrill / AP)

A new recording reveals some of Donald Sterling’s mindset since being banned by the NBA for making racist comments while a report indicates that his wife, Shelly, hopes to retain her share of the team.

In a new recording posted by Radar Online and authenticated by ABC News, Sterling yells, “You know I’m not a racist!” to another prson who is not identified. “You think I’m a racist?” he said. “You think I have anything in the world but love for everybody? You don’t think that! You know I’m not a racist!”

As part of Sterling’s punishment, Commissioner Adam Silver urged NBA owners to force him to sell, a process that began just over a week ago. Sterling, in the audio, goes on to point out that he was president of the diverse high school he attended in east Los Angeles and asks: “How can you be in this [NBA] business and be a racist? Do you think I tell the coach to get white players? Or to get the best player he can get?”

It is unclear when the recording was made and Sterling addressed the original audio in which he told V. Stiviano to delete an Instagram photo of her with Magic Johnson. Johnson responded by saying he would never attend another Clippers game and urged Sterling to sell. His name has surfaced in reports that he’d like to buy the team, but he has denied that.

“It breaks my heart that Magic Johnson, a guy that I respect so much, wouldn’t stand up and say, ‘Well, let’s get the facts. Let’s get him and talk to him,'” Sterling says. “Nobody tried. Nobody!”

Shelly Sterling has not been banned from games and hopes to retain her 50 percent share of the team, an unnamed source told USA Today. She does not intend to attempt to buy out her husband’s share and would accept an outside buyer of his share, remaining a silent partner.

It’s a complication for the NBA, although perhaps not an unanticipated one. In announcing Sterling’s punishment, Silver said that the ruling “applies specifically to Donald Sterling and Donald Sterling’s conduct only.”

Sterling distanced herself from her husband’s comments almost immediately, saying she was not a racist, and has continued to attend the Clippers’ playoff games since the story broke April 26. On Thursday, the Los Angeles Times reported that she has hired a law firm to help her retain her share of the team, which substantiates the belief of L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti that the Sterlings will not go quietly.

“You can’t force someone to sell property in America,” Donald Sterling says on the audio. “I’m a lawyer, that’s my opinion.”


After spending most of her career in traditional print sports journalism, Cindy began blogging and tweeting, first as NFL/Redskins editor, and, since August 2010, at The Early Lead. She also is the social media editor for Sports.



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