Skip to content

In latest alleged recording, Donald Sterling denies being a racist, says league can’t force him to sell

May 8, 2014, 1:28 PM EST

Donald Sterling Donald Sterling

Nobody thinks of themselves as a bad person. Even most people we would all agree are bad people don’t view themselves that way. Our ability as humans to compartmentalize and rationalize knows almost no limit. We can convince ourselves of anything.

So of course Donald Sterling doesn’t see himself as a racist.

And of course, as the league expects, he is going to fight the league forcing the sale of his team.

Another recording allegedly of Sterling has been released by Radar Online, one recorded since the scandal broke. In this one, allegedly taped by a long time friend of his, Sterling vacillates between sounding heartbroken and defiant anger.

Here are a few selected highlight quotes. Remember he is addressing a long-time friend who reportedly taped the conversation (some friend he’s got).

• “You think I’m a racist? You think I have anything in the world but love for everybody? You don’t think that! You know I’m not a racist.”

• “I mean, how could you think I’m a racist knowing me all these years? How can you be in this business and be a racist? Do you think I tell the coach to get white players? Or to get the best player he can get?”

• “You can’t force someone to sell property in America.”

• “I grew up in East L.A…. 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.”

• “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!”

I want to make two things clear. First, Sterling has turned down requests to tell “his side of the story” to multiple media outlets. If he wanted to “get the facts” out there he could. Second, a long history of court documents — and a federal lawsuit settlement (in which he had to admit no wrongdoing) — point to a man using his power to limit opportunities, evict and otherwise change the lives of people based on the color of their skin and his perception of them. That pretty much defines racism. That’s not even getting to Elgin Baylor’s lengthy list of stories when he was GM, like bringing his female “friends” into the locker room to admire the “beautiful black bodies” of his players.

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver came down on Sterling after the leaking of a previous recording with a lifetime ban from the game, a $2.5 million fine, and the promise that the league would force him to sell the franchise. The league has already started steps on its end to have charges presented and eventually have the other owners vote on Sterling’s ownership. In addition, they have removed Sterling’s long-time friend and team president Andy Roeser and will appoint a new CEO to run the franchise.

Does this new tape hint at a future legal strategy in court by Sterling to block all this? SI’s legal expert Michael McCann thinks maybe.

On another front, Sterling’s long-time wife Shelly has said she wants to maintain control of the team, that what her estranged husband has said and done should not impact her. Under California law she does own half the team, something sources confirm.

If you don’t think this a coordinated effort, that she is serving as his proxy, you are naive. Both of them have for years tried to bully opponents through the courts and had great success, their modus operandi will not change now. The league is not falling for it, Adam Silver has said the team cannot remain in the hands of the Sterling family.

Sterling is battling cancer but his strategy here clearly seems to be to make this uncomfortable for the NBA to fight, to at the very least drag out this process. Maybe he thinks he can win. Either way it is going to get ugly.

That will be bad for all things Clippers. And the NBA. But the Sterlings care more about their egos.

 

Latest Posts
  1. PBT Extra: Where might Josh Smith end up after Pistons’ bold stroke?

    Dec 22, 2014, 4:35 PM EST

    Josh Smith AP

    The Rockets are the frontrunners to land him.

  2. Report: Jameer Nelson and Celtics discuss future, no buyout discussions yet

    Dec 22, 2014, 3:05 PM EST

    Jameer Nelson, Mario Chalmers AP

    Boston might try to re-trade point guard acquired in Rajon Rondo deal

  3. Knicks Samuel Dalembert fined $15,000 for elbowing Jonas Valanciunas in face (VIDEO)

    Dec 22, 2014, 1:01 PM EST

    Phoenix Suns v New York Knicks Getty Images

    Maybe Dalembert wanted to get ejected so he didn’t have to watch any more of the Raptors easy win over the Knicks.

  4. Pistons release Josh Smith. WHAT?

    Dec 22, 2014, 12:21 PM EST

    Brooklyn Nets v Detroit Pistons Getty Images

    Pistons use stretch provision on forward owed more than $35 million

  5. Victor Oladipo, focused on effort and defense, still finds time to raise offense

    Dec 22, 2014, 10:29 AM EST

    Toronto Raptors beat the Orlando Magic 95-82 Getty Images

    Magic guard avoiding sophomore slump of other top 2013-14 rookies

  6. 76ers were third team in Corey Brewer trade, send Alexey Shved to Rockets

    Dec 22, 2014, 9:39 AM EST

    Atlanta Hawks v Houston Rockets Getty Images

    Philadelphia will waive Turiaf, who’s injured and out for season

  7. Lakers may give Kobe Bryant some nights off to rest. If he wants them.

    Dec 22, 2014, 9:00 AM EST

    Los Angeles Lakers v Sacramento Kings Getty Images

    Byron Scott can tell Kobe to rest, but it will be Kobe’s decision. Kobe has the power in that relationship.

  8. PBT’s Sunday Night Winners/Losers: Anthony Davis is playing like an MVP

    Dec 22, 2014, 1:43 AM EST

    Anthony Davis, Chris Kaman AP

    Quality win for LeBron James and the Cavaliers as well.

  9. Rudy Gay dunks on all the Lakers (VIDEO)

    Dec 22, 2014, 12:39 AM EST

    Rudy Gay Rudy Gay

    The seas part and Rudy Gay had a path to the rim.

  10. Goran Dragic keeps his options open, says he’d consider coming to Knicks

    Dec 21, 2014, 9:30 PM EST

    Goran Dragic, Jose Calderon, Cole Aldrich AP

    Of course he said he’d consider the Knicks, it’s just smart business.

Featured video

Jabari Parker injury latest for disappointing rookie class
Top 10 NBA Player Searches
  1. K. Durant (7814)
  2. K. Martin (7441)
  3. C. Bosh (6950)
  4. R. Rondo (6922)
  5. D. Rose (6741)
  1. T. Parker (6741)
  2. T. Jones (6700)
  3. M. Smart (6638)
  4. A. Bogut (6297)
  5. B. Lopez (6242)