Donald Sterling's "racist" outburst about blacks is a "mental health issue" that the Los Angeles Clippers' owner must deal with, says New York City psychologist Dr. Jeffrey Gardere.
"It is a mental health issue because what you're doing is you have a belief system that may be based on stereotypes but that may not be based in reality," Gardere told "The Steve Malzberg Show" on Newsmax TV.
"So, what we're talking about pretty much are delusional sorts of thoughts," he said Tuesday.
Gardere, who is black and known as "America's Psychologist," says Sterling, who was banned by the NBA for life and fined $2.5 million on Tuesday, meant what he said.
In a phone conversation with his girlfriend that was obtained by TMZ.com, Sterling said he didn't want her to bring black people to Clippers games after she posted a photo of herself with Hall-of-Famer Magic Johnson on Instagram.
The audio also was peppered with derogatory remarks about blacks — setting off a tsunami of criticism and an NBA investigation.
"I believe those words, the way they came out . . . I think they were in his heart. I think they do reflect his heart," Gardere said.
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But Gardere said he agrees with the NAACP, which has offered to forgive Sterling for his incendiary words.
"I do agree with the NAACP that everyone should be given a chance to confront their past, to confront the thinking patterns, and to be able to do better in life. I mean, that's what redemption is all about," Gardere said.
"I think even this man, Sterling, has redemption somewhere in his future. Hopefully he will learn from this very, very difficult time in his life and in our history."
Gardere said he's unsure whether Sterling's outburst makes him an evil man.
"I mean, this guy certainly is a racist, but does that mean that he's an evil person and everything he does is bad?" he said.
"Or like almost all of us, is there the good, the bad, and the ugly, and certainly we've seen the ugly and the bad, but there may be good to this individual Sterling."
He added that because Sterling employs black players, he must strive to learn racial tolerance.
"Let's be real here. If you talk the talk, then you better walk the walk. You are affiliated with blacks in every sense of the word. You provide a living for them. They provide a living for you," Gardere said.
So no matter what anyone may say as to who your social circle is, you have to be true to yourself and say, "Listen, everyone is created equal and I'm going to treat everyone equally."
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