News

Clippers’ Sterling apologizes, claims racist rant was ‘mistake’

Clippers’ Sterling apologizes, claims racist rant was ‘mistake’

BANNED FOR LIFE:Donald Sterling went on CNN on Monday in an attempt to apologize for a racist rant. Photo: Associated Press

(Reuters) – Embattled Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling said he was set up to make racist comments in a taped recording that led the National Basketball Association to ban him for life from the sport, CNN reported on Monday.

“Yes, I was baited,” Sterling, 80, told CNN’s Anderson Cooper 360 in an interview to be broadcast on Monday. “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.”

More than two weeks have passed since an audio recording emerged in which Sterling chastised a female friend for appearing in public with “black people,” including retired NBA great Earvin “Magic” Johnson.

PHOTOS: Banned from sports

The comments, recorded with Sterling’s consent according to an attorney for the woman he criticized on the tape, caused a fire storm of outrage after they were posted online by the celebrity website TMZ.com.

The league slapped Sterling with a $2.5 million fine after he admitted the voice on the recording was his. The NBA owners have started the process of forcing him to sell the team, which he bought in 1981 for $12.5 million and is now worth at least $575 million, according to Forbes. Meanwhile, his wife, Shelly Sterling, said she believed the comments might point to dementia. She told ABC News her husband had said he didn’t remember making the remarks that were on the recording.

“I said, ‘Well, this is the tape.’ And he says, ‘Hmm. I don’t remember it,'” Shelly Sterling said. “That’s when I thought he had dementia.”

Asked about his comments about former Los Angeles Lakers player Johnson, Sterling said, “If I said anything wrong, I’m sorry.”

“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.”

The woman Sterling was speaking with on the tape, 31-year-old V. Stiviano, had a low national profile before the recording of Sterling’s comments was released. She had been a fixture at Clippers games and was often seen with Sterling at social events.

“An 80-year-old man is kind of foolish, and I’m kind of foolish. I thought she liked me and really cared for me. I guess being 51 years older than her, I was deluding myself,” Sterling said of the relationship. “I just wish I could ask her why, and if she was just setting me up.”

(Reporting by Scott Malone in Boston; Editing by Colleen Jenkins and Bernadette Baum)

Recent Headlines

in Sports

Stanley Cup winner Schneider new Hall of Famer

Fresh
nhl

Stanley Cup winner Mathieu Schneider is among four new inductees to the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame.

in Sports

Prosecutors: Hernandez tipster had sex ties with ex-NFL star

Fresh
aaronhernandez

Massachusetts prosecutors said on Monday that an anonymous caller, who told lawyers for former NFL star Aaron Hernandez that one of the jurors who found him guilty of murder should have been disqualified, had a sexual relationship with the athlete.

in National

Illegal immigration a dominant theme at Republican forum even without Trump

Fresh
republicancandidates

There was no Donald Trump but his top issue, illegal immigration, was a dominant theme for 14 Republican presidential candidates who tested their messages at a forum to start a pivotal week on the campaign trail.

in National

Major U.S. airlines end trophy hunter shipments after Cecil outcry

Fresh
ceciloutcry

Three U.S. airlines have banned the transport of lion, leopard, elephant, rhino, and buffalo killed by trophy hunters, in the latest fallout from the killing of Zimbabwe's Cecil the lion.

in National

10 FOR TODAY: Tuesday, Aug. 4

Fresh
calfire

Your daily look at the stories that will be talked about today.