Banned NBA owner Donald Sterling has a new audio recording out in which he tries to defend himself against accusations of racism that have been leveled against him.
On the tape, Sterling defiantly tells the person on the other end of the line that he’s not a racist.
“You think I’m a racist?” Sterling asks his friend. “You think I have anything in the world but love for everybody? You don’t think that! You know I’m not a racist!”
Sterling, of course, is trying to defend himself despite the entire world knowing he told Vanessa Stiviano “It bothers me a lot that you want to broadcast that you’re associating with black people.”
There’s also that whole thing about him refusing to accept rent money from black and hispanic tenants living at his properties only to kick those same people out for not paying rent. And there's that time he said he wanted a southern plantation-style dynamic on his team where “poor black boys from the south play for a white coach.”
But anyways, back to Donald Sterling not being a racist.
“I grew up in East L.A …” Sterling reasons. “I was the president of the high school there. I mean, and I’m a Jew! And 50% of the people there were black and 40% were hispanic. … So I mean, people must have a good feeling for me.”
Sterling then calls out Magic Johnson and the media at large for not coming to him to hear his side of the story.
“It breaks my heart that Magic Johnson, a guy that I respect so much, wouldn’t stand up and say, ‘Well let’s get the facts. Let’s get him and talk to him.’ Nobody tried. Nobody!” he said.
Quick side note. Sterling’s claim that the media never went to him is a complete lie. It’s actually Sterling who has refused to share his side of the story. This week alone, Sterling cancelled interviews with both Barbara Walters and Anderson Cooper.
On the recording, Sterling also says he’ll fight a forced sale of the Clippers by the NBA.
“You can’t force someone to sell property in America!” he exclaims. “I’m a lawyer, that’s my opinion.”
If Sterling owned an independent business, this claim might be true. But he doesn’t. He owns an NBA franchise in partnership with the NBA’s 29 other owners. If his business partners want to kick him out of their enterprise over damaging statements like this, they have every right to. Sterling has the right to say what he wants about other people, and the NBA’s other owners have the right to react to those statements as they wish. It works both ways.
Here’s the audio: