Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling couldn’t even apologize without making more inflammatory comments. In an interview with CNN’s Anderson Cooper that aired Monday night, Sterling admitted that he “made a terrible mistake” by uttering the racist remarks that earned him exile from the NBA, but he also took a shot at Magic Johnson.
“Big, Magic Johnson, what has he done?” Sterling asked Cooper. “He’s got AIDS.”
Cooper clarified that Johnson was diagnosed with HIV, not AIDS. Sterling went on, “What kind of a guy has sex with every girl, then he catches HIV? Is that someone we want to respect and tell our kids about? I think he should be ashamed of himself. I think he should go into the background. What does he do for the black people?”
Sterling received a lifetime ban from the NBA and a $2.5 million fine from NBA Commissioner Adam Silver after audio recordings of his racist comments were released by TMZ and Deadspin. In the recordings, Sterling told a woman, V. Stiviano, to not bring black people to games or share photos of herself with black people on social media. A photo of Stiviano with Magic Johnson was mentioned during the recorded conversation.
Sterling told Copper that he has spoken to Johnson twice since the recordings were released. Asked if he had offered an apology to the NBA legend, Sterling questioned Johnson’s status as a role model.
“Well, if I said anything wrong, I’m sorry,” Sterling responded. “He’s a good person. What am I going to say? Has he done everything he can do to help minorities? I don’t think so. But I’ll say it, he’s great. But I just don’t think he’s a good example for the children of Los Angeles. That he would go and do what he did, and then get AIDS.”
Sterling went on to claim that “some of the African-Americans — maybe I’ll get in trouble again — they don’t want to help anybody.”
In the interview with Cooper, which came nearly two weeks after the first recording was released, Sterling also claimed he “was baited” by Stiviano into making racist remarks.
“I mean, that’s not the way I talk. I don’t talk about people for one thing, ever. I talk about ideas and other things. I don’t talk about people,” he said.
Along with the lifetime ban, Silver said he would urge the NBA’s Board of Governors to force a sale of the Clippers. Sterling expressed hope that the owners might not vote for a sale but did not express interest in a prolonged legal battle.
“But if you fight with my partners, what at the end of the road, what do I benefit, especially at my age? If they fight with me and they spend millions and I spend millions, let’s say I win or they win, I just don’t know if that’s important,” said Sterling.
Silver released a statement apologizing to Magic Johnson since “he continues to be dragged into this situation and be degraded by such a malicious and personal attack… The NBA Board of Governors is continuing with its process to remove Mr. Sterling as expeditiously as possible.”