Donald Sterling: "I'm not a racist and I've never been a racist"

The disgraced Clippers owner opens up to Anderson Cooper about his now-infamous recording

By Prachi Gupta
May 12, 2014 5:41PM (UTC)
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Two weeks after the NBA barred Donald Sterling for life, the disgraced Los Angeles Clippers owner is publicly asking for forgiveness. Sterling was banned after a recording of him making racist comments about black people was leaked to TMZ. After the fallout, RadarOnline released two more recorded conversations with Sterling, in which he apologized for the comments but blamed his girlfriend V. Stiviano for baiting him.

On Monday night, CNN will air Sterling's first public interview responding to the incident, in which he tells anchor Anderson Cooper that he "made a mistake" and is "apologizing" for the comments, but feels that he was "baited." CNN's "New Day" offered a preview of the interview Monday morning, and it's incredible to observe how the 80-year-old billionaire attempts to dismiss words he spoke as just things that flew out of his mouth without his knowledge.


"Am I entitled to one mistake?" said Sterling, apologizing to America and begging for forgiveness. "I'm not a racist and I've never been a racist."

But, as Deadspin has noted, Sterling has a long history of racist things accidentally coming out of his mouth. His racism is well-documented.

Sterling has no idea who leaked the recordings, and hasn't given any interviews, but said that he has talked to former Lakers player Magic Johnson twice since the incident. In the original recording, Sterling said that she didn't want Stiviano to hang out with "black people," including Johnson.


Sterling would not say whether he apologized to Johnson for those comments, however. Impressively absolving himself of any wrongdoing, Sterling said only, "If I said anything wrong, I'm sorry."

"He's a good person. I mean, what am I going to say?" Sterling pleaded with Cooper. "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."

And again, if Sterling said anything that you found offensive, it was all Stiviano's fault! "I don't know why the girl had me say those things," Sterling said. It's simple: "I spoke to a girl that I was fond of," and then she "baited" him into saying things he didn't mean to say.


The full interview will air at 8 p.m. ET Monday on CNN's "AC360."

Prachi Gupta

Prachi Gupta is an Assistant News Editor for Salon, focusing on pop culture. Follow her on Twitter at @prachigu or email her at

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Anderson Cooper Basketball Donald Sterling Los Angeles Clippers Magic Johnson Nba Racism V. Stiviano Video