LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com/AP) — The newly-appointed interim CEO of the Los Angeles Clippers said Monday he’s confident the league will succeed in forcing a sale of the team following allegedly racist comments from owner Donald Sterling.
Dick Parsons, who previously served as the former chairman of Citigroup and Time Warner, was appointed Friday by NBA Commissioner Adam Silver in the wake of the Sterling scandal, which was initially fueled by taped comments he made to an employee earlier this month.
In his first official meeting with reporters as the team’s CEO, Parsons avoided giving any personal assessment when asked about whether Sterling should be granted forgiveness by the public and the Clippers organization.
“You know, the Donald Sterling questions are hard for me to answer because I don’t know this man,” Parsons said. “I would observe, as most Americans would observe, that he’s a little late for sure.”
In an interview Sunday with CNN’s Anderson Cooper, Sterling said he was “baited” into making “a terrible mistake” with his comments.
“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,” Sterling said.
While Parsons gave few details about his leadership strategy moving forward, he did signal a willingness to meet with Sterling’s estranged wife Shelly – who is also a minority owner of the Clippers – to discuss the organization’s future.
“My job is to be the CEO of the enterprise, and make sure the boat still floats, the boat is still headed in the right direction, and maybe even we pick up a little speed,” said Parsons.
He said he has not yet spoken with either Donald or Shelly Sterling.
In a TV interview aired Sunday night, Shelly Sterling suggested she will fight to keep her share of the Clippers and signaled her plans to eventually divorce Donald Sterling.
Sterling also issued the following statement in response to the Parsons’ appointment: “Mr. Parsons has impressive management credentials in the important fields of the media, finance and professional sports. He is an ideal choice to run the franchise until the ownership issues are clarified.”
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