Reports: Recording purportedly features Sterling denying he's racist
MAY 08, 2014 4:34p ET
A new recording purportedly features Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling denying he's a racist, according to two websites.
Other than a conversation reported by DuJour magazine, Sterling has yet to publicly address the scandal unleashed late last month by inflammatory remarks that were attributed to him in previous recordings, but TMZ and Radar Online say they have obtained new audio from the embattled NBA team owner.
In the recording, a person identified by TMZ and Radar as Sterling can be heard insisting he is not racist.
"You think I'm a racist?" the person asks. "You think I have anything in the world but love for everybody? You don't think that. You know I'm not a racist."
At the end of last month, Sterling was hit with a $2.5 million fine and a lifetime ban by NBA commissioner Adam Silver over comments that emerged in a previous recording. In that audio, a man identified as Sterling was heard telling a friend that she shouldn't be hanging out with black people, including Los Angeles basketball icon Magic Johnson.
The person on this new recording comments on that specifically.
"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."
In his news conference announcing Sterling's punishment, commissioner Silver also indicated he would call on other NBA team owners to force Sterling to sell the Clippers.
That issue, too, is touched on in the new tape by the person identified in the reports as Sterling.
"You can't force someone to sell property in America!" the person can be heard saying.
The question of who will end up owning the Clippers is unclear. Plenty of people -- including some high-profile names -- have expressed interest in the days since Silver's news conference announcing the punishment, but Sterling may choose to fight any forced sale. Also, an attorney for his wife, Shelly Sterling, says she will fight to maintain her 50 percent ownership stake in the Clippers and "will not agree to a forced or involuntary seizure of her interest."