Sterling: “If I said anything wrong, I apologize”

posted at 9:21 am on May 12, 2014 by Ed Morrissey

Is it enough? It depends on the apology, and this one may not be quite enough. Donald Sterling offered a mea culpa to Anderson Cooper in an interview to be aired later today, but it’s the kind of apology one often hears in politics — the conditional “If I said anything wrong, I’m sorry” variety. In fact, that’s a quote:

Racist LA Clippers owner Donald Sterling, desperate to cling to his team, begged forgiveness Sunday for making “a terrible mistake.”

“If I said anything wrong, I’m sorry,’’ Sterling told CNN’s Anderson Cooper in an interviewing airing Monday night. “I’m a good [NBA] member who made a mistake, and I’m apologizing and I’m asking for forgiveness.

“Am I entitled to one mistake, am I, after 35 years?’’ Sterling, 80, asked said during the interview at his Beverly Hills home — his first since the scandal broke.

Well, it’s not his first mistake. Don’t forget that Sterling got sued for age discrimination by his former GM, Elgin Baylor, who claimed that justice was served last week.  On top of that, Sterling has had numerous legal battles over allegations of racial discrimination in his real-estate businesses, which is why the NAACP’s repeated honors of Sterling raised so many eyebrows after this scandal blew open.

Sterling surprised Cooper by revealing that he’d had two conversations with Earvin “Magic” Johnson, one of the subjects in the taped discussions with Sterling’s mistress, since TMZ published its contents. Sterling wouldn’t answer when Cooper asked him whether he’d apologized to Johnson, whom Sterling specifically demeaned to his mistress. Instead, Sterling goes off on a weird tangent about Johnson, criticizing him for not doing enough for his community. “Has he done everything he can do to help minorities? I don’t think so … I just don’t think he is a good example for the children of Los Angeles.” That’s not the kind of repentance that’ll win over a nation.

Plus, Sterling tries playing the Marion Barry card, albeit with a little nudge from Cooper:

Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling says he’s sorry but feels he was “baited” to make racist comments, nearly two weeks after the NBA fined him and banned him for life for his remarks in a recorded conversation.

“When I listen to that tape, I don’t even know how I can say words like that. … I don’t know why the girl had me say those things,” he told CNN’s Anderson Cooper in an exclusive interview set to air on Monday.

“You’re saying you were set up?” Cooper asked.

“Well yes, I was baited,” Sterling said. “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.” …

Sterling told CNN he’s not sure who released the recording.

“I don’t know. An 80-year-old man is kind of foolish, and I’m kind of foolish. I thought she liked me and really cared for me,” he said. “I guess being 51 years older than her, I was deluding myself. … I just wish I could ask her why, and if she was just setting me up.”

Somehow, I doubt that this will deflect the NBA from its current course of forcing the Sterlings into a sale. With all of Sterling’s money and the time that has passed since the scandal erupted, it’s amazing that he hasn’t sought wiser council on public relations than what these interview excerpts indicate.


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Too late, life without parole.

jmtham156 on May 12, 2014 at 9:23 AM

Off with his head! Next …

TarheelBen on May 12, 2014 at 9:27 AM

Sterling’s wife is claiming he’s got symptoms of dementia…or something…

workingclass artist on May 12, 2014 at 9:28 AM

I don’t care if he apologizes, but man, he actually did the “If I said anything wrong, I’m sorry” bit. Ha.

Dongemaharu on May 12, 2014 at 9:29 AM

Maybe he could try the NFL.

Bmore on May 12, 2014 at 9:31 AM

Does anyone else get the “Carnival Of Souls” vibe from the Drudge Report these days?

I only mention it here because I already read this over there.

rihar on May 12, 2014 at 9:32 AM

Two things come to mind:

1 – Such apologies are only accepted for politically correct reasons, like if you’re a politician from the left side of the spectrum. Hillary, for example, could pull this off.

2 – I’ve listened to the tapes and I find at least a little basis to his ‘baited’ comments. The conversation felt ‘leading’ and doesn’t so much make him out to be the kind of racist he’s portrayed as in the media, but rather as simply pathetic.

Ricard on May 12, 2014 at 9:33 AM

That’s not the kind of repentance that’ll win over a nation.

What? Why does he have to win the nation over? FFS, can we please stop acting like he killed someone…hell, if he had there wouldn’t be this much handwringing.

Can we also stop pretending Magic Johnson is a saint, too?

changer1701 on May 12, 2014 at 9:33 AM

Too little too late. Not necessarily a fan of the move to try to force him to sell his team, but he’s not making a good case against that. Maybe he’s saving his big guns for the lawsuit.

22044 on May 12, 2014 at 9:37 AM

This country really really scares me. And the ones coming out saying they are going to buy his team, are nothing but thieves.

Blake on May 12, 2014 at 9:37 AM

The only thing that’ll save him at this point is if he publicly takes a new mistress.

Fenris on May 12, 2014 at 9:38 AM

Some group or someone wants that team,bad.

docflash on May 12, 2014 at 9:40 AM

I hope he sues that backstabbing skank and the nba.

Ever hear of the first amnendment there liberals?
also like an above blogger

seems a lot of wealthy minorities are boom ready with cash now, sort of like they were “pre informed” of something happening

an 80+ year old man says something somebody else does not like that was NOT ILLEGIAL i might add.

sniffles1999 on May 12, 2014 at 9:42 AM

Plus, Sterling tries playing the Marion Barry card, albeit with a little nudge from Cooper:

You know why I’m confident there’s no video of me smoking crack? Because I’ve never smoked crack.

If you don’t like blacks and Latinos, don’t own an NBA team in Los Angeles.

rbj on May 12, 2014 at 9:44 AM

Time to retire Mr. Sterling. If, as you say, you were “baited” and I think that you were, you probably aren’t sharp enough to handled the day to day aspects for team ownership. As for letting go of Mr. Baylor, hasn’t the team improved greatly? Kind of hard to knock him on that one if so.

Cindy Munford on May 12, 2014 at 9:46 AM

I hope he sues that backstabbing skank and the nba.

Ever hear of the first amnendment there liberals?

sniffles1999 on May 12, 2014 at 9:42 AM

Well, like others have said, this really isn’t a 1st Amendment issue; there could very well be a prior written agreement with the NBA that covers this sort of thing.

That being said, there’s no doubt the NBA is being rather hypocritical here in how evenhandedly they react to the off-court behavior of their players.

Ricard on May 12, 2014 at 9:46 AM

an 80+ year old man says something somebody else does not like that was NOT ILLEGIAL i might add.

sniffles1999 on May 12, 2014 at 9:42 AM

No, it wasn’t illegal, but then again he doesn’t own that team outright – he is part of a league that has rules, including the ability to set the behavior of its participants. The team only exists within the context of the bylaws of that league. This isn’t a First Amendment issue.

GWB on May 12, 2014 at 9:46 AM

And the ones coming out saying they are going to buy his team, are nothing but thieves.

Blake on May 12, 2014 at 9:37 AM

Maybe, let’s see how much he gets. It has taken on the appearance of vultures circling a carcass though.

Cindy Munford on May 12, 2014 at 9:48 AM

I hope he sues that backstabbing skank and the nba.

sniffles1999 on May 12, 2014 at 9:42 AM

Mistress or wife?

Cindy Munford on May 12, 2014 at 9:49 AM

Somehow, I doubt that this will deflect the NBA from its current course of forcing the Sterlings into a sale. With all of Sterling’s money and the time that has passed since the scandal erupted, it’s amazing that he hasn’t sought wiser council on public relations than what these interview excerpts indicate.

Sterling’s basically the public sector version of Anthony Weiner, in that he considers himself to be the smartest guy in the room and doesn’t take counsel from anyone when he’s in a problematic situation — and up until now, he hasn’t had to. Throwing money at the NAACP and the other groups and individuals who’ve perfected the victimology-for-profit game has been enough to smooth over any rough spots for Sterling (who apparently bought into the idea that he also were part of a persecuted minority, which therefore made him immune to the charges of racism)

jon1979 on May 12, 2014 at 9:51 AM

When is the NBA going to apologize for race-baiting, fear-mongering, and insipid pandering?

claudius on May 12, 2014 at 9:53 AM

An 80 year old got set up. His private comments have been known for years apparently. The only thing which will save him is if the other team members wonder when it will happen to them. There are comments being made only blacks should own an NBA team.

CW20 on May 12, 2014 at 10:05 AM

So if someone is offended you must sell your team.
whats next loose your job
how about rappers
how about rev al and rev jessie
how about msnbc
how about harry reid and all the dems with thier tbagger insults
how about gay pride parades, those are offensive
if sterling is forced to sell, why not the above list can they be forced to loose thier jobs or investments???
who decides what is offensive
what LAW did the guy break?
So an old guy got mad, cause his mistress is messing around on him. and she “conveniently” recorded what he said
if that is not a set up what is?

sniffles1999 on May 12, 2014 at 10:05 AM

Meh, he should have doubled down and referred to Anderson as Michael Sam. LOL For Heaven’s sake, we are in the midst of the Cultural Revolution.

Some of the exhibits show gruesome scenes where victims are tortured and humiliated, while others bear insults that persecutors used to describe their “class enemies.”

I prefer this:

“I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.”

Fallon on May 12, 2014 at 10:09 AM

Sterling needs to come out as bisexual. It’s his only hope.

gwelf on May 12, 2014 at 10:14 AM

The NBA should be dissolved. It is a monopoly. Sterling doesn’t really own the franchise. The NBA owns it. That is why they can force him to sell it even though he did nothing even remotely legally wrong.

I am completely serious. Sterling can’t go down the road and compete with the NBA. The NBA is a partnership that holds a monopoly. We don’t allow that in other parts of the economy, so why are we allowing these stinking rich clowns to charge us sky high prices to go to games? Why do we allow them to shut out all competition?

It’s a stupid game, anyway, one only a physically bizarre few can play competitively.

fadetogray on May 12, 2014 at 10:15 AM

Dan Snyder is next. I believe he donates to Republicans.

Cindy Munford on May 12, 2014 at 10:16 AM

Don’t forget that Sterling got sued for age discrimination by his former GM, Elgin Baylor

Aw, jeez, Ed. Anyone can sue anyone for anything.

I keep hearing this garbage about how Sterling was always this bad guy with a long history of discrimination, but all I ever hear about anything he ever did wrong is this kind of garbage about his having been accused of discriminating, and then one case where he settled.

Guess what? In business people settle bogus discrimination claims all of the time to avoid the risk of facing a jury full of “poor people are good and rich people have too much anyway” jerks.

fadetogray on May 12, 2014 at 10:22 AM

The man in over 80 and not in the best of health. I’m certain that he’ll drag out litigation to the point that the NBA is going have to be dealing with his estate.

That being said, the “friend” who taped all this stuff sure is in cozy with the millionaires who just “happened” to decide they might like to have a basketball team after all. It’s all too convenient.

Happy Nomad on May 12, 2014 at 10:27 AM

No, it wasn’t illegal, but then again he doesn’t own that team outright – he is part of a league that has rules, including the ability to set the behavior of its participants. The team only exists within the context of the bylaws of that league. This isn’t a First Amendment issue.

GWB on May 12, 2014 at 9:46 AM

A lot hinges on whether he knew that his “friend” was recording his comments or not.

I agree that it isn’t a First Amendment issue but the legality of what the NBA is attempting is not as clear as you are suggesting. The NBA wants him gone for PC reasons but that doesn’t mean they can legally force a sale.

Happy Nomad on May 12, 2014 at 10:31 AM

This all boils down to a “love” triangle, or a rectangle or rhombus.
The “love” in this tawdry tale is the love of money.
- Wife wants her stake in the team. Early on I read she basically runs it anyway, not him. Of course she claims he has dementia, but honey, she is no spring chicken herself!
- That V. person wants more Bentleys and weird face visors, plus a new (younger) owner (Magic) from which to siphon money and possessions. The old man will be gone soon and she is probably not in his will.
- Magic has been wanting that team for years, and finally found a way to get it, via taking out the opponent through that V. person.
Smells like the tactics of one young Barry Soetoro whose political opponents suddenly fall by the wayside.

Brat on May 12, 2014 at 10:32 AM

…I think MSNBC should give him a talk show…pre-empting or following Al Sharpton’s show. They can go for the rating bigot bang!

KOOLAID2 on May 12, 2014 at 10:40 AM

Government prosecuted Linda Tripp for recording Monica who was urging her to commit a crime. Recording Sterling is different, how?

rhombus on May 12, 2014 at 10:43 AM

B*t*h set me up

tmitsss on May 12, 2014 at 11:03 AM

Can we also stop pretending Magic Johnson is a saint, too?

changer1701 on May 12, 2014 at 9:33 AM

A-freaking-men

cptacek on May 12, 2014 at 11:10 AM

Legally, the NBA and it’s commissioner have no basis to force the sale of the team regardless of it’s owner’s comments and how anyone feels about them. The First Amendment does guarantee the right for Sterling to make outrageous statements to which some people do not agree nor like (just like it guarantees our president and vice president to do the same). The left seems to forget this only when it suits their needs.

The only missing part of the story is the person who released the tapes and what if any hidden motive there was as in was there an attempt to force the sale of the team to interested parties by the release of the tape?

terlizzi99 on May 12, 2014 at 11:22 AM

Happy Nomad on May 12, 2014 at 10:31 AM

The illegal part was in reference to sniffles – he said what the old guy said wasn’t illegal, and I agreed. As to the legality of a froced sale, that will depend entirely on the level of lawyers both sides get to interpret the bylaws. I believe there have been other cases where someone was banned from an organization because of bylaws violations, and they were required to sell their shares in the organization (it might have been privileges or whatnot in the club) based on the idea that they couldn’t own it if they weren’t a member.

You can say it’s PC, or you can say it’s marketing. I’m still trying to decide why I care, with an organization like the NBA.

GWB on May 12, 2014 at 11:24 AM

The First Amendment does guarantee the right for Sterling to make outrageous statements to which some people do not agree nor like (just like it guarantees our president and vice president to do the same).

terlizzi99 on May 12, 2014 at 11:22 AM

You’re wrong. It guarantees nothing of the sort, as far as private parties are concerned. The First Amendment constrains the government only.

GWB on May 12, 2014 at 11:26 AM

Translation for owners:

First, they came for me. I can think of several who are next on the list. Watch what you say in bed.

formwiz on May 12, 2014 at 11:47 AM

Ah. This is why I love Aristotle.

IF Sterling believes he did not say anything wrong, then he ought to stand by what he said. I don’t think what he said was racist–he was complaining to his mistress about her broadcasting her other relationships–he didn’t have a problem with her ethnicity, or anyone else’s. He just didn’t want her to bring her other lovers to the games. This was massively hypocritical, and therefore idiotic, but if he believes it was not a wrong statement, he should man up and double down.

IF Sterling believes he did say something wrong, then he should actually apologize, and not fake apologize, otherwise he is adding another wrong statement to a sordid history of wrong statements, including some self-absorbed TMI.

RockinRickOwen on May 12, 2014 at 11:56 AM

Ah. This is why I love Aristotle.

IF Sterling believes he did not say anything wrong, then he ought to stand by what he said. I don’t think what he said was racist–he was complaining to his mistress about her broadcasting her other relationships–he didn’t have a problem with her ethnicity, or anyone else’s. He just didn’t want her to bring her other lovers to the games. This was massively hypocritical, and therefore idiotic, but if he believes it was not a wrong statement, he should man up and double down.

IF Sterling believes he did say something wrong, then he should actually apologize, and not fake apologize, otherwise he is adding another wrong statement to a sordid history of wrong statements, including some self-absorbed TMI.

RockinRickOwen on May 12, 2014 at 11:56 AM

And this is why I regard Aristotle as a clueless barbarian.

Sterling clearly does not think he said anything wrong, but if he says that now, in public, in front of the pc savages, trying to explain what he meant to people he never wanted to have this kind of conversation with (True Believers), he will be mercilessly crucified.

He has no obligation to a decadent society to allow himself to be crucified. None. You wouldn’t go for it, either, if you were in the same kind of killing box he is in.

fadetogray on May 12, 2014 at 12:13 PM

Obama’s comment at the press club dinner about Oprah being the new owner of the Clippers really bothered me. So did the clapping seals in the audience. That sort of thing was already done in Zimbawbwe. It doesn’t end well for whites.

Exninja on May 12, 2014 at 12:33 PM

Did Al Sharpton apologize for the Tawana Brawley incident?

Did Jesse Jackson apologize for fathering an illegitimate child from one of his Rainbow-Push subordinate employees?

Did Eric Holder apologize for inflaming the Trayvon murder?

Did Donald Sterling apologize? Good enough. Forgiven / absolved.

Time to forgive & forget; time to move on.

majorzot on May 12, 2014 at 12:48 PM

Does anyone else get the “Carnival Of Souls” vibe from the Drudge Report these days?

rihar on May 12, 2014 at 9:32 AM

Ooooh, 100 points for the reference!

Tard on May 12, 2014 at 1:51 PM

(Points are non-redeemable)

Tard on May 12, 2014 at 1:52 PM

He has no obligation to a decadent society to allow himself to be crucified. None. You wouldn’t go for it, either, if you were in the same kind of killing box he is in.

fadetogray on May 12, 2014 at 12:13 PM

Actually, I would. I wouldn’t be in the jam in the first place, being a one-woman kind of man, but yes, I would stand for clarity and truth, and they crucified me, so be it. That’s on them. I wouldn’t lie or obfuscate the truth just to appease the beast.

RockinRickOwen on May 12, 2014 at 2:30 PM

That’s on them. I wouldn’t lie or obfuscate the truth just to appease the beast.

RockinRickOwen on May 12, 2014 at 2:30 PM

It is easy to say you will stand up to the beast, Apostle. It is much harder to actually do.

fadetogray on May 12, 2014 at 3:24 PM

Clippers owner Donald Sterling racist remarks
40s
Donald Sterling lashes out at Magic Johnson, citing his HIV, during an interview with Anderson Cooper – @latimes
read more on latimes.com

canopfor on May 12, 2014 at 9:35 PM

Mr. Hole meet Mr. Shovel!
“I just don’t think this hole is deep enough yet”

nivelkram on May 13, 2014 at 9:17 AM