Clippers' Sterling apologizes, says 'not a racist'

(AP) -- Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling apologized Sunday for racist comments captured on tape, saying they were a "terrible mistake." "I'm not a racist," Sterling told CNN's Anderson Cooper

News 12 Staff

May 12, 2014, 4:30 PM

Updated 3,658 days ago

Share:

Clippers' Sterling apologizes, says 'not a racist'
(AP) -- Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling apologized Sunday for racist comments captured on tape, saying they were a "terrible mistake."
"I'm not a racist," Sterling told CNN's Anderson Cooper in excerpts posted from an interview taped Sunday and set to air Monday. "I made a terrible mistake. I'm here to apologize."
In his first public comments since being banned for life from the NBA, Sterling said years of good behavior as an owner should count toward his future.
"I'm a good member who made a mistake," Sterling said. "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 interview came nearly two weeks after NBA Commissioner Adam Silver banned Sterling, fined him $2.5 million and urged the other league owners to force him to sell the team.
Sterling said he waited to make a public apology because he was "emotionally distraught."
"The reason it's hard for me, very hard for me, is that I'm wrong," Sterling said. "I caused the problem. I don't know how to correct it."
He later added, "If the owners feel I have another chance, then they'll give it to me."
Sterling's comments came on the same day ABC News posted excerpts of an interview his estranged wife gave to Barbara Walters.
Shelly Sterling said she would fight to keep her 50 percent ownership stake of the team.
"I will fight that decision," Shelly Sterling 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."
NBA spokesman Mike Bass released a statement Sunday night in response to Shelly Sterling's comments.
"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."
Shelly Sterling's attorney, Pierce O'Donnell, responded to the NBA's statement.
"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," O'Donnell said. "We live in a nation of laws. California law and the United States Constitution trump any such interpretation."
ABC posted initial excerpts of Shelly Sterling's interview and planned to air the rest of it Monday.
Shelly Sterling also said she "eventually" will divorce her husband, and that she hadn't yet done so due to financial considerations.
"For the last 20 years, I've been seeing attorneys for a divorce," she said. "In fact, I have here -- I just filed -- I was going to file the petition. I signed the petition for a divorce. And it came to almost being filed. And then, my financial adviser and my attorney said to me, 'Not now.'"
LeBron James said Sunday after the Miami Heat practiced for Game 4 of the Eastern Conference semifinals against the Brooklyn Nets that NBA players believe nobody in the Sterling family should be able to own the Clippers if he's gone.
"As players, we want what's right and we don't feel like no one in his family should be able to own the team," James said.


More from News 12
1:25
Greenpoint residents continue to rally for safer streets

Greenpoint residents continue to rally for safer streets

1:35
Possible showers Saturday before a mild sunny Sunday

Possible showers Saturday before a mild sunny Sunday

2:11
Parents, students rally for safety at Parkside Preparatory Academy

Parents, students rally for safety at Parkside Preparatory Academy

1:05
Police: 2 boys assaulted in Bed-Stuy incident; hate crime probe underway

Police: 2 boys assaulted in Bed-Stuy incident; hate crime probe underway

1:55
Brooklyn business building unique campervans

Brooklyn business building unique campervans

1:50
Behind-the-scenes look at new aquarium sculpture exhibit made entirely of marine debris

Behind-the-scenes look at new aquarium sculpture exhibit made entirely of marine debris

0:24
NYPD arrests 19-year-old in fatal shooting incident of 16-year-old

NYPD arrests 19-year-old in fatal shooting incident of 16-year-old

0:30
Police: 2 men sought in string of violent e-bike robberies across Brooklyn

Police: 2 men sought in string of violent e-bike robberies across Brooklyn

1:17
Runners are lacing up for the Brooklyn Half Marathon! Here’s all you need to know about traffic and transit in the area

Runners are lacing up for the Brooklyn Half Marathon! Here’s all you need to know about traffic and transit in the area

0:29
Gov. Hochul: ‘Safe Housing Support Initiative’ helped more than 450 people in New York City

Gov. Hochul: ‘Safe Housing Support Initiative’ helped more than 450 people in New York City

1:36
The Real Deal: How to navigate the buying, renting market in New York

The Real Deal: How to navigate the buying, renting market in New York

Your New York City Graduation Photos

Your New York City Graduation Photos

1:59
Crown Heights woman says she is living with exposed asbestos in NYCHA apartment

Crown Heights woman says she is living with exposed asbestos in NYCHA apartment

0:51
NYPD: 20-year-old shot in East New York Thursday afternoon

NYPD: 20-year-old shot in East New York Thursday afternoon

2:00
Brooklyn man has homicide conviction vacated due to mistaken identity

Brooklyn man has homicide conviction vacated due to mistaken identity

1:13
Sweet treat: Brooklyn Heights Häagen-Dazs reopens with new decor & eco-friendly alternatives

Sweet treat: Brooklyn Heights Häagen-Dazs reopens with new decor & eco-friendly alternatives

0:58
Mayor Adams announces pilot program to fight against retail theft in NYC

Mayor Adams announces pilot program to fight against retail theft in NYC

1:49
Lithium-ion batteries fire prevention bill for Brooklyn goes to Senate for final vote

Lithium-ion batteries fire prevention bill for Brooklyn goes to Senate for final vote

1:44
Coast Guard 'Military Spouse of The Year' shares story on finding community between every move

Coast Guard 'Military Spouse of The Year' shares story on finding community between every move

1:59
Basketball program in Flatbush helping keep young athletes active

Basketball program in Flatbush helping keep young athletes active