Well! It looks like Donald Sterling has more in common with “minorities” than he thought.
He’s pulling an old, reliable line of defense in the wake of his recent public relations troubles; a defense that dates back to the days of DC Mayor Marion Barry and his 1990 crack smoking scandal. Just like Marion did all those years ago, Sterling seems to believe four little words sum up the events that prompted his fall from grace: “Bitch set me up!”
The scandal-scarred Clippers owner Donald Sterling has apologized for racist remarks he made during a recorded argument with his “personal assistant” (Hint, Nudge, Wink) V. Stiviano, 31, that later made its way to the Interwebs.
Sterling was recorded lambasting Stiviano for publicly associating with black people, most notably NBA legend Magic Johnson and Dodgers outfielder Matt Kemp. He also ordered the brunette not to bring her black friends to the Clippers games.
Since the audio recording leaked (Stiviano claims by a third party), Sterling has been slapped with a lifetime ban from the NBA, fined $2.5 million and could be forced to sell the Clippers. In an interview with CNN’s Anderson Cooper airing Monday, the 80-year-old mogul insists he is not a racist and claims that he was “baited” into making the polarizing comments by his alleged former lover.
“When I listen to that tape, I don’t even know how I can say words like that…I don’t know why the girl had me say those things.”
“You’re saying you were set up?” Anderson probed.
Sterling, who described himself as “emotionally distraught,” replied: “Well yes, I was baited. 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…I’m not a racist. 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.”
Meanwhile, Sterling’s wife, Rochelle “Shelly” Sterling, told ABC News’ Barbara Walters that she believes her estranged husband is suffering from dementia. According to Mrs. Sterling, Donald doesn’t even remember making the comments.
“I — in my opinion, I think he — it’s the onset of dementia.”
In 2009, the Sterlings were sued for housing discrimination. An investigation, conducted by the Department of Justice, found evidence that both Donald and Shelly Sterling discriminated against tenants of color, as well as renters with children. The Sterlings later settled the suit out of court.
Despite this history, Shelly told Walters that she’s never heard Donald make derogatory comments about black or Hispanic people. (Uh-Huh…) She’s vowed to do everything in her power to hang on to the Clippers franchise, reportedly valued at $500 million.