Donald Sterling might be better off keeping his opinions to himself.
The embattled owner of the Los Angeles Clippers broke his public silence in new excerpts of an interview released by CNN Monday night where he, once again, took shots at Magic Johnson, alluding to the basketball legend’s HIV-positive diagnosis.“What kind of guy goes to every city, has sex with every girl, then he goes and catches HIV,” Sterling told CNN’s Anderson Cooper. “Is that someone we want to respect and tell our kids about? I think he should be ashamed of himself.”
When asked if he had apologized to Johnson, Sterling questioned whether the All-Star MVP made any positive impact on the African-American community and compared his own charitable work to that of Johnson’s contributions.
“Big Magic Johnson, what has he done? He’s got AIDS. Did he do any business? Did he help anybody in South LA?” Sterling said. “He does nothing – he’s all talk.”
Sterling also slammed Johnson for having full-blown AIDS, but later corrected himself. Johnson is HIV-positive.
Johnson, a basketball Hall of Famer who publicly announced in 1991 that he’s HIV-positive, is expected to give his full response to Sterling’s comments in an interview with CNN Tuesday.
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver condemned Sterling’s remarks in a statement Monday night. He said the league will continue the process to force Sterling to sell the Clippers “as expeditiously as possible” after it already banned him from the league for life and fined him the maximum $2.5 million.
“I just read a transcript of Donald Sterling’s interview with Anderson Cooper and while Magic Johnson doesn’t need me to, I feel compelled on behalf of the NBA family to apologize to him that he continues to be dragged into this situation and be degraded by such a malicious and personal attack,” Silver said.
Sterling apologized for the incendiary remarks against African-Americans that got him in trouble in the first place, after an audio recording captured him lashing out at his girlfriend for associating with blacks, including Johnson.
In excerpts of an interview with CNN released Sunday, Sterling begged for forgiveness, but said he was “baited” into saying offensive remarks.
“I’m not a racist. I made a terrible mistake,” he said.
The NBA is in the process of forcing Sterling to give up ownership of the Clippers – a move that requires approval from three-quarters of the league’s team owners. The league appears confident it has the support to give Sterling the boot.
But Sterling’s estranged wife, Shelly Sterling, isn’t going down without a fight. She accused the NBA of sexism for bringing her down – as well as her co-ownership of the Clippers – over her husband’s racist remarks.
“Would an owner’s wife say the same thing and would the owner be asked to leave the NBA? Or would they just say, well, she’s only the wife,” she told TODAY.
Shelly Sterling said she hopes to maintain her co-ownership of the Clippers, a team her family has owned since 1981. But NBA officials said if Donald Sterling loses the team, so will she.
“Under the NBA constitution, if a controlling owner’s interest is terminated by a three-quarter vote, all other team owners’ interests are automatically terminated as well,” NBA spokesperson Mike Bass said Sunday night.