Donald Sterling has enough money to head to to wherever he wants and lie low until everyone forgets that he doesn't like his women hanging around black men. He doesn't need the Clippers. He could hand his wife half of everything and still have more money than Midas. But Donald Sterling doesn't want to go out like that.
For weeks the story of Sterling's racist comments, caught on tape by his gal-on-the-side, V. Stiviano, has been on and off the front page. His players on the Clippers want nothing to do with him. His wife is fighting to keep her share of the team. And everyone seems to agree that the guy was long known to be a racist and that this revelation should not surprise anyone.
So when Donald Sterling agreed to talk to Anderson Cooper, he had some real damage control to do. But Anderson Cooper was not going to let Sterling get off with a friendly chat and bit of reputation polishing. Cooper asked him, "So, did that recording capture the real Donald Sterling, or was he being set up?"
Sterling said, "I'm not a racist. I made a terrible, terrible mistake. And I'm here with you today to apologize and to ask for forgiveness for all the people that I have hurt. And I have hurt so many people, so many innocent people."
But he also insisted that V. Stiviano "made me say those things." He says Stiviano had told him, before she started the recording, that she was bringing "four gorgeous black guys to the game." Sterling says she was trying to make him jealous. He says that his comments were in that context, not as blatant racist statements.
But it was Sterling's comments about Magic Johnson that sent things off into Weirdville.
Sterling claims Magic Johnson called him and asked him not to talk to the press until he got back to him. He says Johnson told him everything would be fine, and that he knew Stiviano.
"But he lulled me into waiting a week," Sterling said "Do you know what I mean? He says, 'Don't do anything.' He just said: 'Wait. Be patient. I will help you. We will -- we will work it out.'"
Sterling says Johnson kept him from talking to the press and to the NBA to do damage control because Johnson "wanted me just to do nothing, so he could buy the team."
But then came the "two steps back" part of the equation.
"Do you know what I do?" asked Sterling. "I spend millions on giving away and helping minorities. Does he do that? That's one problem I have. Jews, when they get successful, they will help their people. And some of the African-Americans -- maybe I will get in trouble again -- they don't want to help anybody."
Magic Johnson responded, "I just feel sorry for him. I really do. It's sad… I just wish he knew the facts when he's talking. He's a man who is reaching, trying to save his team. And it's not going to happen."
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