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UPDATED: Donald Sterling Asks for Forgiveness

The interview with Anderson Cooper is set to run Monday. Here's a preview.

Donald Sterling. Patch file photo.
Donald Sterling. Patch file photo.

Originally posted at 6:36 p.m. May 11, 2014. Edited with new details.

Embattled Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling said he was baited into making "a terrible mistake" and asked for forgiveness in one interview reported today while his wife, Shelly Sterling, said in another that she will fight to retain her 50 percent ownership stake in the NBA team and plans to divorce her husband.

Donald Sterling unleashed a firestorm when recorded racist comments he made were leaked and widely publicized, leading NBA Commissioner Adam Silver to ban him from the league for life, fine him $2.5 million and move to force him to sell the team.

In an interview with CNN's Anderson Cooper, Sterling called his comments asking associate V. Stiviano to refrain from bringing black men to Clippers games and chastising her for posting a photo of her and Lakers legend Magic Johnson online "a terrible mistake and I'll never do it again."

Sterling said, however, that he felt he was "baited," by Stiviano, who recorded his comments but denied leaking the audio to the media.

"When I listen to that tape, I don't even know how I can say words like that. ... I don't know why the girl had me say those things," the 80-year- old real estate magnate told Cooper in an interview at Sterling's Los Angeles home.

When Cooper asked Sterling if he was saying that he was set up, Sterling said, "Well yes, I was baited. I mean, that's not they 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."

Sterling believes he should be forgiven by fellow NBA team owners, he told Cooper, whose full interview is due to air Monday night.

"I'm a good member who made a mistake and I'm apologizing and I'm asking for forgiveness," he is quoted as saying. "Am I entitled to one mistake? Am I after 35 years? I mean, 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."

Shelly Sterling told ABC's Barbara Walters that she will battle to retain her half of the team.

"I will fight that decision," she said in the interview, portions of which aired today. "I've been with the team for 33 years, through the good times and the bad times. It's my passion and I love it."

She also said she has never heard Donald Sterling "say racial things" and doesn't consider him a racist, but expressed disgust for his comments.

"It was just degrading and it made me sick to hear, but as far as a racist, I don't think he is a racist," she said.

Insisting she should not be punished for the actions of her estranged husband, Sterling said has been on the verge of filing for divorce for the last 20 years.

"Eventually, I'm going to," she told Walters, whose full interview was also scheduled to air Monday.

She also said she believes her husband is suffering from the early effects of dementia.

In response to her comments, NBA spokesman Mike Bass issued a statement today saying that if Donald Sterling loses his ownership stake in the team, Shelly Sterling will also lose hers.

"Under the NBA Constitution, if a controlling owner's interest is terminated by a 3/4 vote, all other team owners' interests are automatically terminated as well," he said. "It doesn't matter whether the owners are related as is the case here. These are the rules to which all NBA owners agreed to as a condition of owning their team."

But Pierce O'Donnell, Shelly Sterling's attorney, dismissed that stance in a statement of his own.

"We do not agree with the league's self-serving interpretation of its constitution, its application to Shelly Sterling or its validity under these unique circumstances," he said. "We live in a nation of laws. California law and the United States Constitution trump any such interpretation."

--City News Service


mimi May 12, 2014 at 04:39 PM
George - I'm sure there are some folks who believe it is an overblown story. All of them are Caucasian. Coincidence? You won't find anyone who identifies him/herself as a member of a minority group who shares your opinion. Using the N word ---even in private conversation --- is NEVER okay. It is racist behavior.
Leopoldo Ernesto Reyes May 12, 2014 at 08:43 PM
I am apalled at his comments towards Magic Johnson on Hiv/Aids. As an HIV + male. Not all of us are sleepless lovers, some are born with it, some unfortunately recieved a faulty blood transfusion,, some where raped or lied to. I was lied to. I despise you as a human being Donald Sterling. Shame on you!!!!
Adrienne Radovich Backer May 12, 2014 at 10:32 PM
May 12 th Good. evening my name is adrienne im the granddaughter of jack haley sr who was the tinman from the movie The Wizard Of Oz my grandparents my mom and uncle and myself and husband lived in beverly hills for many many years and i forgot to say my brother as well . excuss my french that donald sterling is the worst dum ass and rudeest son of bitch by saying what he said about magic johnson and to be honest with u all magic johnson is my hero always and forever . please people tell me what u think. Love adrienne the granddaughter of the tinman
George May 13, 2014 at 02:06 AM
You people are pure hypocrites for attacking poor elderly Donald Sterling. He did not say anything that none of us have said privately. The ONLY difference is some tramp was not recording our conversation. Imagine some of the things you have said privately how they would come across if they were recorded and played to the world to hear. Also, he did NOT use nig_ger in the recording. Had he said that it would be worse of course because the blacks are always just waiting to pounce on any white person to further their agenda ie Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson...... Now Magic Johnson has joined the ranks of black activists. Don Sterling owns the Clipper and you can not force someone to sell their property in America. He will win when this goes to court.

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