Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling apologized Sunday for racist comments captured on tape, saying they were a “terrible mistake.” Sterling granted CNN’s Anderson Cooper with his first sit-down interview, since the controversy. The interview came nearly two weeks after he was baned, fined $2.5 million and urged by the league owners to sell the team. Excerpts from the full interview, which air Monday, have been released. Sterling told Cooper:
I’m not a racist. 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. 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.
He explained that he waited to issue a public apology because he has been emotionally distraught.
The reason it’s hard for me, very hard for me, is that I’m wrong. 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.
On the same day, excerpts from Sterling’s wife, Shelly’s interview with Barbara Walters, were released. According to CNN, Shelly plans to fight to keep her 50 percent ownership stake of the team.
I will fight that decision. 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.
Check out a clip of Sterling’s conversation with Cooper.