Sterling apologizes, says he's 'not a racist'

05/12/2014 1:10 PM

05/12/2014 8:15 PM

Los Angeles Clippers Donald Sterling, asking forgiveness in his first interview since racist comments brought an unprecedented punishment from the NBA, attempted an apology to Lakers great Magic Johnson.

“If I said anything wrong, I’m sorry. He’s a good person,” Sterling said of Magic in a CNN interview with Anderson Cooper that will be shown tonight. “I mean, what am I going to say? Has he done everything he can do to help minorities? I don’t think so. But I’ll say it, he’s great. But I don’t think he’s a good example for the children of Los Angeles.”

Johnson was drawn into the drama when Sterling, in an audio recording, asked girlfriend V. Stiviano to not bring blacks to games and to delete an Instagram photo of herself and Johnson. Magic was angered and promised immediately to never attend another Clippers game. In the three weeks since the tape surfaced, Johnson’s name has surfaced as a potential owner, if the rest of the NBA owners succeed in forcing Sterling to sell. Sterling told Cooper he has spoken to Johnson twice.

In the interview, Sterling asked for forgiveness from the other NBA owners, who will decide his fate.

“I’m a good member who made a mistake and I’m apologizing and I’m asking for forgiveness,” he 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.”

Sterling is speaking for the first time since the recording became public a little over three weeks ago. His punishment was handed down three weeks ago Tuesday and Cooper asked why he waited so long to speak.

“Well, that’s a very good question. I just — I’m just so emotionally distraught, and the reason it’s hard for me, very hard for me is that I’m wrong. I caused the problem. I don’t know how to correct it.

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