Clippers' Donald Sterling To Anderson Cooper: My Girlfriend Was To Blame For That Racist Rant, Honestly
After a few weeks of laying low, Clippers owner Donald Sterling — recently banned for life from the NBA over a recorded racist diatribe he aimed at his girlfriend — sat down for a televised interview with CNN's Anderson Cooper. Sterling told Cooper that he's not a racist all the time, but made one "terrible mistake" after being "baited" by his former girlfriend, V. Stiviano. (Bear in mind, Sterling also has a wife.)
"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," Sterling said in the interview. "I'm here to apologize." He added that he was "baited" by Stiviano. " I don't even know how I can say words like that. ... I don't know why the girl had me say those things," he said.
Even now, Sterling doesn't have many kind words for Magic Johnson, the former L.A. Lakers star who was allegedly the target of Sterling's rant against black people attending games. Former girlfriend Stiviano is friends with Johnson, and has posted photos to her Instagram of the two of them at Clippers games. "[Magic Johnson's] great, I just don't think he's a good example for the children of Los Angeles," Sterling said.
Among everything else, we should be skeptical about Sterling's claim that he's only been a racist that one time. In both his NBA and real estate careers, Sterling has not only made several racially charged comments, but has also apparently discriminated against people of color. For example, in 2009 Sterling settled a $2.75 million housing discrimination lawsuit following allegations that he blocked African-Americans, Hispanics and families with children from the scores of apartment buildings he owns throughout Los Angeles. It was the largest house discrimination settlement obtained by the U.S. Justice Department at the time.
Sterling was also sued in 2009 by former Clippers general manager Elgin Baylor, who alleged that he was fired on the basis of age and race. In the court documents, Baylor claimed Sterling wanted to establish "a Southern plantation-type structure” and had an "ongoing racist attitude” with former Clippers All-Star Danny Manning. Sterling reportedly told Manning's agent at the time: "I’m offering you a lot of money for a poor black kid.”
Court documents also revealed several other racist remarks from Sterling. After interviewing Jim Brewer, then-Clippers assistant and uncle of current Clippers coach Doc Rivers, for the team's head coaching job, Sterling reportedly said: "Personally, I would like to have a white Southern coach coaching poor black players."
Now he's apparently adopted the "my girlfriend made me do it!" defense. Good one, Sterling.