Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling didn't seem to do himself any public relations favors in an interview aired Monday on CNN.
Sterling repeatedly told CNN's Anderson Cooper that he isn't a racist, then criticized successful black people for not helping other blacks after they achieve wealth.
The interview was conducted Sunday in Sterling's L.A. home with no PR people or lawyers advising him what to say, Cooper said.
That was a mistake, filmmaker Spike Lee told Cooper after watching the interview.
"He's not making it better," Lee said. "The more he talks the more he's proving that he is [a racist.]"
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Sterling has been under fire since a 10-minute audio recording was released in late April in which the 80-year-old Sterling is heard telling 31-year-old V. Stiviano to stop bringing black people to games and posing with them in photos online.
The NBA fined Sterling $2.5 million and banned him for life from NBA events. NBA Commissioner Adam Silver also urged NBA owners to vote to force Sterling to sell the team.
But Sterling told Cooper the other 29 NBA owners, his players and the fans don't hate him, blaming the fuss over his words on the media.
"I contend that they love me," Sterling said of the players on his team.
Sterling admitted it is him on the recording, but said the racist remarks coming from his lips do not represent what he believes in his heart.
"I'm not a racist. I made a terrible, terrible mistake. And I'm here with you today to apologize and ask for forgiveness," Sterling said.
He says he normally doesn't talk about people at all, and that it was Stiviano who used the term "black," which prompted him to use it later in the conversation, which is heard on the recording. Still, he said he doesn't blame Stiviano for recording him.
She supports 15 siblings and was just doing what she had to, he told Cooper.
"She's not a bad person. She had to survive. She's a street person," he said. He also said she never asked him for money.
But his fondness for her led him to buy her cars, dresses and other items, he said.
While never admitting he and Stiviano had an intimate relationship, he hinted they were more than employer and employee. He told Cooper a gentleman should not describe the "personal things that go on with a woman."
Stiviano said in an interview with Barbara Walters that she was not his mistress.
It was also Sterling's fondness for Stiviano that caused him to say the words on the recording, he said. It was jealousy of her being seen with other men that bothered him, he insisted.
When Cooper pressed him on the issue, saying that in the recording he says Stiviano can be with black men all she wants in private, including sleeping with them, Sterling became angry.
At one point he told Cooper, "I think you're more of a racist than I am."
Despite his kind words for Stiviano, Sterling was not so nice about NBA legend Magic Johnson, whose appearance in Instagram photos with Stiviano sparked the argument in the recording.
"He acts so holy. He made love to every girl in every city in America, and he had AIDS," Sterling said. "And when he had those AIDS I went to my synagogue and I prayed for him. I hope he could live and be well."
But Johnson is not an example to be held up for children, Sterling said, and said Johnson has not helped the black population of South L.A.
Sterling also accused Johnson of tricking him. Sterling said Johnson initially told him to say nothing when the recording first surfaced on TMZ. Johnson even promised to help him, Sterling said.
Now, Sterling said he thinks Johnson just wanted to be able to buy the team after Sterling got into trouble over the comments.
"Has he done everything he can to help minorities?" Sterling said. "I don't think so."
Cooper noted after the interview that Johnson has a foundation that promotes AIDS awareness and other issues.
Though he called his own words "stupid" and "uneducated," Sterling said he is ultimately responsible. He said members of his family, including his wife and young granddaughter, have suffered because of what he said.
Sterling's wife Shelly told Barbara Walters she believes her husband has dementia after he initially told her he didn’t remember making the statements on the recording.
Cooper said he didn't seem to have dementia, but admitted he was judging only from the short time they spoke for the interview. Cooper said he would have stopped the interview had he been under the impression Sterling was suffering from dementia.
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