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Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald sterling has finally sat down for a television interview after a tape leaked last month, in which he made racist remarks and was subsequently banned from NBA activities. He insists that he is not a racist and suggests that he may have been “baited” into making those remarks.
Sterling spoke with CNN’s Anderson Cooper for an interview that is set to air tonight during Cooper’s show. He suggested that V. Stiviano, the woman he is heard telling to not bring black people to his games on the tape, set him up.
“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,” Sterling said.
When asked if he thought he was set up, Sterling replied, "Well yes, I was baited." He continued, “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.”
The recorded conversation began with Sterling telling Stiviano that he disapproved of her Instagram page, which included an image of her posing with NBA legend and Dodgers co-owner Magic Johnson. Since then, Sterling was banned from NBA activities and fined the maximum $2.5 million. Now, the other 29 owners are considering forcing Sterling to sell the Clippers.
“I'm not a racist,” Sterling insisted in his CNN interview. “I made a terrible, terrible mistake. And I'm here with you today to apologize and to ask for forgiveness for all the people that I've hurt.”
While Stiviano told ABC News that she doesn’t think Sterling is a racist, she did say that there were other conversations between the two of them on race. She has also said that she didn’t release the recording to TMZ. Sterling told CNN that he doesn’t have any idea either.
“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," Sterling told Cooper. "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."
When the conversation with Cooper turned to Johnson, Sterling said he has spoken to him since the scandal began. However, he appeared to take another swipe at Johnson.
“If I said anything wrong, I'm sorry. He's a good person. I mean, what am I going to say?” Sterling told Cooper. “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.”
Meanwhile, Radar Online claims it has acquired another tape, in which Sterling says jealousy fueled his comments in the original tape. “The girl is black,” a man who Radar says is Sterling says in the tape. “I like her. I’m jealous that she’s with other black guys. I want her. So what the hell. Can’t I in private tell her, ‘I don’t want you to be with anybody?’”
While there have been reports that Sterling may be battling cancer, his estranged wife, Shelly Sterling, has said that he is suffering from dementia.