In his first public comments since being banned from the NBA, Donald Sterling, the owner of the Los Angeles Clippers, has apologized for his racist comments.
On Sunday, Sterling broke his silence and told CNN’s Anderson Cooper that he was sorry for the things he said, and claims that he is not racist. “I’m not a racist,” Sterling said. “I made a terrible mistake. I’m here to apologize.”
The interview comes nearly two weeks after Sterling was banned from the NBA for life and fined $2.5 million. “I’m a good member who made a mistake,” Sterling added. “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.”
“The reason it’s hard for me, very hard for me, is that I’m wrong,” Sterling continued. “I caused the problem. I don’t know how to correct it. If the owners feel I have another chance, then they’ll give it to me.” So far, that chance does not seem likely as Cooper is urging the other league owners to force Sterling to sell his team.
Sterling’s wife Shelly Sterling says that she will fight to keep her 50 percent ownership of the team. ”I will fight that decision,” Shelly said. ”To be honest with you, I’m wondering if a wife of one of the owners, and there’s 30 owners, did something like that, said those racial slurs, would they oust the husband? Or would they leave the husband in? I don’t know why I should be punished for what his actions were.”
In response to Shelly’s concerns, NBA spokesman Mike Bass issued a statement. ”Under the NBA constitution, if a controlling owner’s interest is terminated by a three-quarter vote, all other team owners’ interests are automatically terminated as well,” Bass 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.”
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