Clippers' Sterling apologizes, says 'not a racist'

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Clippers' Sterling apologizes, says 'not a racist'
Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling, right, and V. Stiviano, left, watch the Clippers play the Los Angeles Lakers during an NBA preseason basketball game in Los Angeles on Monday, Dec. 19, 2011. The NBA is investigating a report of an audio recording in which a man purported to be Sterling makes racist remarks while speaking to Stiviano. NBA spokesman Mike Bass said in a statement Saturday, April 26, 2014, that the league is in the process of authenticating the validity of the recording posted on TMZ's website. Bass called the comments "disturbing and offensive." (AP Photo/Danny Moloshok)
Citigroup chief executive officer Richard Parsons listens as President Barack Obama, not pictured, addresses Business Roundtable, an association of chief executive officers of leading U.S. companies, at a hotel in Washington, Thursday, March 12, 2009. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)
Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling attends the NBA playoff game between the Clippers and the Golden State Warriors, April 21, 2014 at Staples Center in Los Angeles, California. NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said April 26 that the NBA is investigating Sterling for alleged racist comments. AFP PHOTO / ROBYN BECK (Photo credit should read ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images)
AOL/Time Warner CEO Dick Parsons helps announce a new partnership to produce "Showtime at the Apollo" variety show Wednesday, Aug. 21, 2002, in New York's Harlem neighborhood. Earlier Wednesday, AOL Time Warner Inc. announced it is buying out AT&T Corp.'s stake in their cable television, moviemaking and programming partnership for an estimated $8.5 billion to $9 billion.(AP Photo/Beth A. Keiser)
LOS ANGELES, CA - APRIL 1: Los Angeles Clippers owner, Donald Sterling and Rochelle Sterling, attend a game against the Indiana Pacers at Staples Center on April 1, 2013 in Los Angeles, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2013 NBAE (Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 13: Chris Paul #3 of the Los Angeles Clippers tosses a basketball to team owner Donald Sterling during a game against the Houston Rockets at Staples Center on February 13, 2013 in Los Angeles, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2013 NBAE (Photo by Noah Graham/NBAE via Getty Images)
In this photo taken on Friday, Oct. 25, 2013, Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling, right, and V. Stiviano, left, watch the Clippers play the Sacramento Kings during the first half of an NBA basketball game in Los Angeles. The NBA is investigating a report of an audio recording in which a man purported to be Sterling makes racist remarks while speaking to Stiviano. NBA spokesman Mike Bass said in a statement Saturday, April 26, 2014, that the league is in the process of authenticating the validity of the recording posted on TMZ's website. Bass called the comments "disturbing and offensive." (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
In this photo taken on Friday, Oct. 25, 2013, Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling, center, and V. Stiviano, right, watch the Clippers play the Sacramento Kings during the first half of an NBA basketball game, in Los Angeles. The NBA is investigating a report of an audio recording in which a man purported to be Sterling makes racist remarks while speaking to Stiviano. NBA spokesman Mike Bass said in a statement Saturday, April 26, 2014, that the league is in the process of authenticating the validity of the recording posted on TMZ's website. Bass called the comments "disturbing and offensive." (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
FILE - In this Oct. 17, 2010 file photo, Los Angeles Clippers team owner Donald Sterling watches his team play in Los Angeles. A jury has returned a $17.3 million verdict against Sterling in a lawsuit by an actress who lost most of her belongings in a fire at a West Hollywood apartment building he owns. City News Service says the jury awarded $15 million in punitive damages to Robyn Cohen on Tuesday, Dec. 17, 2012, in her breach-of-contract and emotional distress lawsuit. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill, File)
Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling, center, and V. Stiviano, left, watch the Clippers play the Los Angeles Lakers during an NBA preseason basketball game in Los Angeles on Monday, Dec. 19, 2011. NBA spokesman Mike Bass said in a statement Saturday, April 26, 2014, that the league is in the process of authenticating the validity of the recording posted on TMZ's website. Bass called the comments "disturbing and offensive." (AP Photo/Danny Moloshok)
Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald T. Sterling, center, sits with his wife Rochelle during the second half of their NBA basketball game, Wednesday, Jan. 5, 2011, in Los Angeles. The Clippers won 106-93. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling attends the NBA basketball game between the San Antonio Spurs and Los Angeles Clippers in Los Angeles on Monday, March 2, 2009. (AP Photo/Danny Moloshok)
Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald T. Sterling, right, sits with his wife Rochelle during the Clippers NBA basketball game against the Detroit Pistons, Friday, Nov. 12, 2010, in Los Angeles. The Pistons won 113-107.(AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling and his wife Rochelle look on during the second half in Game 3 of an NBA basketball playoffs Western Conference semifinal against the San Antonio Spurs, Saturday, May 19, 2012, in Los Angeles. The Spurs won 96-86. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald T. Sterling, right, sits with his wife Rochelle during the first half of the Clippers' NBA basketball game against the Houston Rockets, Wednesday, Feb. 13, 2013, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
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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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