News

Clippers owner Sterling says racist rant was ‘set up’

Clippers owner Sterling says racist rant was ‘set up’

BANNED FOR LIFE:Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling (R) puts his hand over his face as he sits courtside with his wife Shelly (L) while the Clippers trail the Chicago Bulls. Photo: Associated Press

(Reuters) – Embattled Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling said he was set up to make racist comments in a taped recording that led the National Basketball Association to ban him for life from the sport, CNN reported on Monday.

“Yes, I was baited,” Sterling, 80, told CNN’s Anderson Cooper 360 in an interview to be broadcast on Monday. “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.”

More than two weeks have passed since an audio recording emerged in which Sterling chastised a female friend for appearing in public with “black people,” including retired NBA great Earvin “Magic” Johnson.

The comments, recorded with Sterling’s consent according to an attorney for the woman he criticized on the tape, caused a fire storm of outrage after they were posted online by the celebrity website TMZ.com.

PHOTOS: Banned from sports

The league slapped Sterling with a $2.5 million fine after he admitted the voice on the recording was his. The NBA owners have started the process of forcing him to sell the team, which he bought in 1981 for $12.5 million and is now worth at least $575 million, according to Forbes. Meanwhile, his wife, Shelly Sterling, said she believed the comments might point to dementia. She told ABC News her husband had said he didn’t remember making the remarks that were on the recording.

“I said, ‘Well, this is the tape.’ And he says, ‘Hmm. I don’t remember it,'” Shelly Sterling said. “That’s when I thought he had dementia.”

Asked about his comments about former Los Angeles Lakers player Johnson, Sterling said, “If I said anything wrong, I’m sorry.”

“Has he done everything he can do to help minorities? I don’t think so. But I’ll say it, he’s great. But I don’t think he’s a good example for the children of Los Angeles.”

The woman Sterling was speaking with on the tape, 31-year-old V. Stiviano, had a low national profile before the recording of Sterling’s comments was released. She had been a fixture at Clippers games and was often seen with Sterling at social events.

“An 80-year-old man is kind of foolish, and I’m kind of foolish. I thought she liked me and really cared for me. I guess being 51 years older than her, I was deluding myself,” Sterling said of the relationship. “I just wish I could ask her why, and if she was just setting me up.”

(Reporting by Scott Malone in Boston; Editing by Colleen Jenkins and Bernadette Baum)

Recent Headlines

in Local

Forensic Scientist from Riverton Wins Top State Police Honor

Fresh
illinois state police

Kimberly Kunkler of Riverton works in the "trace" section of the Illinois State Police Forensic Science Laboratory.

in Local

Third Person Dead from Legionnaires’ Disease in Quincy

Fresh
Quincy VA Home

The new case increases the number of residents contaminated there to 29.

in Local

Plane Crash Kills 2 in Illinois

Fresh
airplane at sunset

Crash outside Kewanee killed two Texans.

in Local

More Second City Shows Cancelled Following Last Week’s Fire

Fresh
secondcityfire

The Second City comedy theater says last week's fire that destroyed its Chicago offices has forced the cancellation of this week's performances.

in Local

Plenty New at Decatur Farm Progress Show

Fresh
farm progress show

Crop demonstrations are back after an absence of a couple of years at the show.