Donald Sterling, Disgraced Clippers Owner to Anderson Cooper: I'm Not Racist

Celebrity News May. 12, 2014 AT 8:35AM
Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling Donald Sterling told Anderson Cooper that he is not racist. Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports/Kirby Lee/LANDOV

Donald Sterling is speaking out. The disgraced Clippers owner recently sat down with Anderson Cooper for a CNN interview airing Monday, May 12, and is defending himself, saying he was "baited" to make the offensive comments that got him banned from the NBA. 

"I'm not a racist," Sterling, 80, told Cooper. The businessman landed in the headlines last month when an audio recording of him making scathing racist comments leaked online. Speaking to his alleged mistress V. Stiviano, who attended a Clippers game with NBA great Magic Johnson, Sterling said, "Don’t put him on an Instagram for the world to have to see so they have to call me. And don’t bring him to my games. Yeah, it bothers me a lot that you want to promo, broadcast that you’re associating with black people."

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"I made a terrible, terrible mistake," he continued in the interview. "And I'm here with you today to apologize and to ask for forgiveness for all the people that I've hurt."

Sterling went on to offer an explanation for his words, claiming he had been "baited" into making the comments. 

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"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," Sterling, who was handed a $2.5 million fine and a lifetime ban from the NBA, said of Stiviano. "Well yes, I was baited. I mean, that's not the 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."

Speaking to his fate in the NBA, Sterling, who may be forced to sell his team, told Cooper, "I'm a good member [of the NBA] who made a mistake and I'm apologizing and I'm asking for forgiveness. 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."

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For more from Sterling, head over to CNN.com

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