Donald Sterling Denies Being Racist

Tape Surfaces as Wife Launches Fight To Keep Team

getty images

By Reuters

Published May 08, 2014.
  • Print
  • Share Share

Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling, who was banned for life from the National Basketball Association after a tape of his racist comments became public, claimed in a new recording he was not a bigot, according to an online report on Thursday.

The new recording came as Sterling’s wife expressed interest in holding on to the Clippers, the Los Angeles Times reported, even as league officials worked to force a sale of the team.

Entertainment website Radar Online posted a recording of Sterling talking about race, which it said it obtained from an anonymous source. Radar said the source signed an affidavit confirming the voice was that of the 80-year-old billionaire.

“You think I’m a racist?” Radar Online quoted Sterling as saying on what it reported was a secretly recorded phone conversation. “You think I have anything in the world but love for everybody? You don’t think that! You know I’m not a racist!”

Radar included the recording in its report. Reuters could not independently confirm it was Sterling’s voice on the recording, and a Sterling representative could not be reached for comment on Thursday.

The NBA fined Sterling $2.5 million last month and banned him from the league for life after the website TMZ.com posted a separate audio recording of a voice said to be his that made derogatory remarks about black people.

The comments sparked outrage from players and fans, and led NBA Commissioner Adam Silver to ask team owners to force Sterling to relinquish ownership of the Clippers in what would be an unprecedented step under the league’s constitution and bylaws.

“How can you be in this business and be a racist?” Sterling said on the new tape, according to Radar Online. “Do you think I tell the coach to get white players? Or to get the best player he can get?”

WIFE INTENDS TO REMAIN AS OWNER

The new tape emerged as the Los Angeles Times reported on Wednesday that Sterling’s wife, Shelly, said she intended to remain an owner of the team and has hired a law firm as the NBA moved to terminate her husband’s ownership.

Shelly Sterling, who shares ownership of the Clippers through a family trust, contended the sanctions against her husband do not apply “to me or my family,” according to the newspaper. An NBA spokesman declined to comment on the report.

A representative for Shelly Sterling could not be reached immediately for comment on Thursday. But in a statement, she denied the league had let her know it would prefer she not attend Clippers playoff games this Friday and Sunday.

“As co-owner, I have attended games for 33 years and I will continue going to playoff games as the Clippers march towards a championship,” she said in the statement.

Silver was asked at a news conference last month whether any of Sterling’s relatives, including his wife, might exercise an ownership or managerial stake in the team.

“There have been no decisions about other members of the Sterling family,” Silver said at the time. “This ruling applies specifically to Donald Sterling and Donald Sterling’s conduct only.”

Sterling purchased the Clippers for $12.5 million in 1981, when it was based in San Diego. The team is now estimated to be worth at least $575 million, according to Forbes, which compiles a list of professional sports team values each year.

The Clippers are currently tied with the Oklahoma City Thunder in the second round of the NBA playoffs at one game a piece. Their next match is scheduled for Friday.


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • At which grade level should classroom discussions include topics like the death of civilians kidnapping of young Israelis and sirens warning of incoming rockets?
  • Wanted: Met Council CEO.
  • “Look, on the one hand, I understand him,” says Rivka Ben-Pazi, a niece of Elchanan Hameiri, the boy that Henk Zanoli saved. “He had a family tragedy.” But on the other hand, she said, “I think he was wrong.” What do you think?
  • How about a side of Hitler with your spaghetti?
  • Why "Be fruitful and multiply" isn't as simple as it seems:
  • William Schabas may be the least of Israel's problems.
  • You've heard of the #IceBucketChallenge, but Forward publisher Sam Norich has something better: a #SoupBucketChallenge (complete with matzo balls!) Jon Stewart, Sarah Silverman & David Remnick, you have 24 hours!
  • Did Hamas just take credit for kidnapping the three Israeli teens?
  • "We know what it means to be in the headlines. We know what it feels like when the world sits idly by and watches the news from the luxury of their living room couches. We know the pain of silence. We know the agony of inaction."
  • When YA romance becomes "Hasidsploitation":
  • "I am wrapping up the summer with a beach vacation with my non-Jewish in-laws. They’re good people and real leftists who try to live the values they preach. This was a quality I admired, until the latest war in Gaza. Now they are adamant that American Jews need to take more responsibility for the deaths in Gaza. They are educated people who understand the political complexity, but I don’t think they get the emotional complexity of being an American Jew who is capable of criticizing Israel but still feels a deep connection to it. How can I get this across to them?"
  • “'I made a new friend,' my son told his grandfather later that day. 'I don’t know her name, but she was very nice. We met on the bus.' Welcome to Israel."
  • A Jewish female sword swallower. It's as cool as it sounds (and looks)!
  • Why did David Menachem Gordon join the IDF? In his own words: "The Israel Defense Forces is an army that fights for her nation’s survival and the absence of its warriors equals destruction from numerous regional foes. America is not quite under the threat of total annihilation… Simply put, I felt I was needed more in Israel than in the United States."
  • Leonard Fein's most enduring legacy may be his rejection of dualism: the idea that Jews must choose between assertiveness and compassion, between tribalism and universalism. Steven M. Cohen remembers a great Jewish progressive:
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.