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Clippers' Sterling apologizes, says 'not a racist'

LOS ANGELES (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.

Donald Sterling: 'I'm Not A Racist'

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."

The commissioner has said no decisions have been made about Sterling's family and team ownership.

ABC posted initial excerpts of the 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.

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cmax383666 May 11 2014 at 9:45 PM

What did he say that was racist?

Flag Reply +8 rate up
4 replies
hamcallk5co May 11 2014 at 9:45 PM

IF you have ever been around a group of persons such as the basketball players (i.e. black males), you would know that Sterling was simply using the same language that he has been hearing his players use for decades. It likely did not occur to him that he was not speaking in the common vernacular vis a vis the entire nation. Not that I'd like this guy; he is a peasant with some money.

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2 replies
woodguy1063 hamcallk5co May 11 2014 at 9:49 PM

Did you actually hear his comments?

Flag Reply 0 rate up
LeapinLeah hamcallk5co May 11 2014 at 10:54 PM

Bulltastic!

Flag Reply 0 rate up
beamncoke65 May 11 2014 at 9:49 PM

And just who in the you know what are you LABRON?!?!? You are just a basketball player and that is all. You nothing about anything but basitball!!! We want, we get, you do us wrong, you be gone!!

Flag Reply +1 rate up
soaring1216 May 11 2014 at 9:50 PM

All he said was for his assistant not to pose for pics. Liberals are making way too much of an issue here.

Flag Reply +3 rate up
tdorsett7 May 11 2014 at 9:51 PM

Oh I see now. You are only entitled to freedom of speech if what you say is politically correct.

Flag Reply +3 rate up
johnny18350 May 11 2014 at 9:51 PM

How could he be a raciest, his gold digger doesn't look very white?

Flag Reply +5 rate up
beamncoke65 May 11 2014 at 9:52 PM

I think he was set up and what he said wasn't bad. EVERYONE including the blacks say things! It is all bull crap. Making something out of nothing cause someone wants something that someone else wants. Hell Opra made more of a racist comment about owning the team.

Flag Reply +4 rate up
rwachm May 11 2014 at 9:52 PM

He just did not want her bringing her bed buddies to the games .

Flag Reply +6 rate up
stburhans May 11 2014 at 9:52 PM

If I were sterling I would dump the whole thing and walk. Lock up the money and take a long extended vacation with no communication. Let them sweat about being paid. Than maybe the morons who so strongly want his team can wait in the wings for years until the issue gets settled. That's not racist, that's the money game.

Flag Reply +4 rate up
cduncancvd May 11 2014 at 9:53 PM

The players need to also clean up their language and actions. I am not saying Sterling should be given a pass, but the players are also responsible for demonstrating a positive image.

Flag Reply +1 rate up
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