Donald Sterling was thrust into the spotlight when recordings leaked of him making racist comments. Nearly two weeks after the NBA gave him a $2.5 million fine and banned him for life, he’s agreed to speak to Anderson Cooper.
“I’m a good member who made a mistake and I’m apologizing and I’m asking for forgiveness,” he told Cooper in an interview that will air on CNN’s “Anderson Cooper 360″ on Monday. “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.”
“I’m sorry that so many people are hurt,” said Sterling. “I never dreamed that this could happen it’s a terrible, terrible nightmare. My players, they didn’t need this.”
“And for them to hear that I’m a possible racist is so painful to me,” he went on. “I’m not a racist and I’ve never been a racist. It’s not me.”
Sterling also accused former girlfriend V. Stiviano of “baiting” him to say the comments.
“I don’t know why the girl had me say those things,” he said. “I was baited. 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. “
Last month, recordings of Sterling scolding Stiviano for posting an Instagram photo with Magic Johnson hit the web via TMZ and Deadspin, causing a massive backlash against him.
“It bothers me a lot that you want to broadcast that you’re associating with black people,” Sterling said on the tape. “You can sleep with (black people). You can bring them in, you can do whatever you want. The little I ask you is not to promote it … and not to bring them to my games.”
While a statement released by the Clippers originally denied that it was Sterling in the recordings, an investigation by the NBA determined that it was indeed the team owner on the tape. Since then, in addition to NBA penalties, the NAACP has dropped plans to honor him at a banquet and several sponsors dropped support of the Clippers.
Stiviano has also been in the media for her involvement with the recordings, giving an interview to Barbara Walters early this month.
The episode of “AC360″ will air Monday at 8p.m. ET.
- Alex Stedman/Variety.com