Two high-profile interviews involving Donald Sterling and his wife, Shelly, are slated to air Monday as the couple faces losing ownership of the Los Angeles Clippers.
The interviews will air roughly two weeks after recordings were released in which Donald Sterling tells a female friend, V. Stiviano, not to associate with black people, including Magic Johnson. The recording sparked widespread outrage and prompted the NBA to ban the L.A. Clippers owner for life.
In excerpts of the exclusive interview with CNN's Anderson Cooper, Donald Sterling said he “made a terrible mistake” and is "not a racist.” He also suggested that Stiviano pushed him to make the comments.
"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," he said. "I was baited ... I mean, that's not the way I talk."
At the time the tape was released, Stiviano and Sterling's wife, Shelly, were locked in a legal battle, with Shelly demanding that Stiviano give back cars and a $1.8-million condo that Shelly said Donald Sterling had given the young woman.
Donald Sterling also said in his interview with Cooper that he was asking for forgiveness for his remarks about African Americans.
"I'm a good member who made a mistake and I'm apologizing and I'm asking for forgiveness," Sterling told Cooper. "Am I entitled to one mistake, am I after 35 years? I mean, I love my league, I love my partners. Am I entitled to one mistake? It's a terrible mistake, and I'll never do it again."
Also set to air on Monday is Shelly Sterling's interview with Barbara Walters, in which she suggests her husband is suffering from dementia.
"I was shocked by what he said," she told Walters in excerpts released over the weekend. "But I don't know why I should be punished for what his actions were."
In addition to banning her husband from the NBA for life, the league's commissioner also vowed to force Donald Sterling to sell the team, but Shelly Sterling said she sees the Clippers as part of her family legacy.
The team is held in a family trust, and sources familiar with the Clippers say they believe that Shelly Sterling has equal ownership with her husband and each takes control if the other dies. Sterling paid $12.5 million for the team in 1981, but experts have said recently the team could be sold for $1 billion or more.
"I'm wondering if a wife of one of the owners -- and there's 30 owners -- did something like that, said those racial slurs, would they oust the husband? Or would they leave the husband in?" she said.
Shelly Sterling also suggested that her husband might want to transfer full ownership of the team to her.
The NBA, however, issued a statement Sunday saying that any interests Shelly Sterling may have in the L.A. Clippers would be terminated if the NBA's owners vote to force her husband to sell the team -- an assertion her attorney called a "self-serving interpretation" on Sunday.
"We do not agree with the league's self-serving interpretation of its constitution, its application to Shelly Sterling or its validity under these unique circumstances,” he said. “We live in a nation of laws. California law and the United States Constitution trump any such interpretation."
A Clippers spokesman said Sunday the team will have no comment about Donald or Shelly Sterling.
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