LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com/AP) — In his first public comments since being banned for life from the NBA, Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling apologized for racist comments captured on tape, saying they were a “terrible mistake.”
In the interview taped Sunday and set to air Monday with CNN’s Anderson Cooper, Sterling says he’s “not a racist,” he loves the league, his partners and believes he’s “entitled to one mistake” after more than three decades as an owner.
“Am I entitled to one mistake? Am I, after thirty-five years? I love my league, I love my partners, am I entitled to one mistake,” Sterling said. “It’s a terrible mistake, and I’ll never do it again.”
The interview came nearly two weeks after NBA Commissioner Adam Silver banned Sterling for his comments, fined him $2.5 million and urged the other league owners to force him to sell the team.
Sterling, whose lawyer was present for the duration of the conversation with Cooper, said he waited to make a public apology because he was “emotionally distraught” and he didn’t know how to correct his mistake.
On Sunday, Miami Heat star LeBron James made his opinion on Sterling clear, stating that he, along with the majority of other players in the NBA, don’t want to see him, or his estranged wife, remain in control of the Clippers.
“The people that are going to decide my fate, I think, are not the media, and not the Players’ Union, but the NBA,” Sterling told Cooper in a clip of the interview that aired during Game 4 between the Indiana Pacers and the Washington Wizards. “If the owners feel I deserve another chance, then they’ll give it to me.”
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