Two websites on Wednesday said a newly obtained recording has Donald Sterling denying being a racist and vowing to keep the L.A. Clippers despite a lifetime ban by the NBA and calls that he sell the team.
Radar quoted him as saying: “I mean, how could you think I’m a racist knowing me all these years? How can you be in this business and be a racist? Do you think I tell the coach to get white players? Or to get the best player he can get?”
Earlier this month Sterling was heard in a recording telling a female friend she should not associate with black people, including former Lakers star Magic Johnson.
On the new tape, Sterling reportedly says: “It breaks my heart that Magic Johnson, a guy that I respect so much, wouldn't stand up and say, 'Well let's get the facts. Let's get him and talk to him.' Nobody tried. Nobody!'"
Since then, there have been calls for him to sell the team.
His wife, Shelly Sterling, said Wednesday that she believes she is legally entitled to maintain ownership of the NBA team and will attempt to do so,
Players, fans and other team owners have signaled that they would like to see a fresh start for the Los Angeles franchise, which is in the midst of a playoff run in what could be its most successful season after decades of mediocrity. Ownership by any of the Sterlings could mean a continued flight of sponsors and a potential boycott by players and fans.
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