Sterling: I'm Not Racist, I Was Set Up

He asks for forgiveness in CNN interview
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted May 12, 2014 12:45 AM CDT
Updated May 12, 2014 4:03 AM CDT
Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling, right, sits with his wife Shelley during a game against the Detroit Pistons.   (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill, File)
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(Newser) – "I'm not a racist, I made a terrible, terrible mistake," LA Clippers owner Donald Sterling told CNN's Anderson Cooper in his first public comments since the controversy over his racist remarks erupted. "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 said, claiming he was set up. "I was baited," he 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 apologized and said he had made a "terrible mistake" for which he should be forgiven. "I love my league, I love my partners. Am I entitled to one mistake?" he asked, though he didn't mention the three racial discrimination lawsuits he has faced over the last eight years, the New York Daily News reports. The NBA may force Sterling to sell the team, but his estranged wife says she plans to divorce him—and will fight to keep her stake. (Read more Donald Sterling stories.)

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