LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — Embattled Clippers owner Donald Sterling insists he’s no racist.
In a new audio recording obtained by Radar Online, Sterling is heard saying, “You think I have anything in the world but love for everybody? You don’t think that! You know I’m not a racist,” he says.
Sterling added, “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?”
Radar Online said the tapes were secretly recorded between Sterling and a long-time friend.
Sterling also was quoted as saying he doesn’t believe the NBA can force him to sell something he owns.
“You can’t force someone to sell property in America,” he’s heard saying, “Well, I’m a lawyer. That’s my opinion.”
Radar Online said Sterling sounded defeated when he discussed the Instagram picture of Magic Johnson.
“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.”
Meanwhile, an attorney for Shelly Sterling — Donald’s estranged wife – says his client is her own person and shouldn’t be painted with the same brush her husband is.
“She’s the innocent spouse,” said Pierce O’Donnell. “We do not allow guilt by association in America. She is her own person.”
O’Donnell confirmed to CBS2’s Randy Paige that Shelly wants to retain ownership of the Clippers. Her husband was banned from the NBA, for life, last week by new commissioner Adam Silver.
He said Shelly wants to keep her 50 percent ownership in the team even if the other owners force her husband to sell his half.
O’Donnell added, “If someone tells her she has to sell, or tries to seize the team, look out for Shelly Sterling.”
Attorney Mark Kaplan — who has served as a consultant for Major League Baseball — says the team’s 100 percent ownership can not be divided into two parts, his half, her half.
“Spouses in community property states can’t say ‘You can force my husband to sell but I didn’t sign the documentation with the NBA so therefore I get to keep mine.’ You can’t do it that way, she has an undivided one half interest where Donald’s interest is, she stands or falls with Donald’s interest,” Kaplan said.
Clippers Coach Doc Rivers was asked Thursday about Shelly’s possible ownership of the team.
“I think it would be a very hard situation,” Rivers said, “I’ll say that much. I think it would be very difficult. I guarantee you, every person wouldn’t be on board with that. Whether I would or not, I am not gonna say. I think it would be a difficult situation, cause we wouldn’t know who was really in charge.”