Donald Sterling says he and his wife, Shelly, are in the process of divorcing, following a scandal that had the L.A. Clippers owner banned for life by the NBA.
“The poor girl; I don’t know how she can live and deal with this,” he told Anderson Cooper in an interview broadcast Wednesday night on CNN. “Thank God she has wonderful attorneys -- wonderful -- and they will protect her.”
Sterling is under pressure to sell the L.A. Clippers following racial comments he made. He vowed to keep the team Wednesday. But he also said if he can’t keep his share of the team, Shelly Sterling should be allowed to keep her share.
“If for some reason I can’t have the team, I think she should have her interest,” he said. “I mean, she didn’t do anything. I brought this all on her.”
The couple have been married for more than 50 years.
Shelly Sterling has said she deserves the right to keep her share of the team regardless of what happens to her husband’s share. She also said Sterling might be suffering from dementia.
In the interview broadcast Wednesday, Donald Sterling also expressed annoyance at the way he was being portrayed in the media.
“What am I, a Frankenstein? What am I, some kind of an ogre?” he said to Cooper. “I’m a good person; I’m a warm person. I say hello to everybody who comes to the team.”
Sterling lashed out at Magic Johnson during a CNN interview broadcast Monday night, alluding to the NBA great’s HIV-positive diagnosis and saying he was not a good role model for the children of Los Angeles.
“We’ve got to pray for the man," Johnson told TMZ.com during the website’s call-in show Tuesday. “I think we need to get him some help.”
Johnson defended himself against criticism by Sterling that he has not contributed to the African American community, listing some of his charitable works.
“I am a proud black man. I am one of the leaders in the black community,” he said.
Sterling’s comments came as he addressed racial remarks he made that prompted the NBA to ban him for life. In a recording released by TMZ two weeks ago, Sterling tells a female friend, V. Stiviano, not to associate with black people, including Johnson.
“What kind of guy goes to every city, has sex with every girl, then catches” HIV? Sterling said to Cooper. “I think he should be ashamed of himself.”
Sterling also questioned whether Johnson had made a positive contribution to the African American community in Los Angeles. He then pointed to his own charitable work.
“Jews, when they get successful, they will help their people,” he said.
In response, Johnson told TMZ that Sterling appeared to trying to divide the black and Jewish communities but that it would not work. Johnson said he’s received calls from members of both communities expressing their support.
The CNN interview with Sterling sparked a new round of outrage against the Clippers owner. Sterling apologized for his statements on the recording. But his comments about Johnson left some questioning whether he was truly sorry.
“If I said anything wrong, I’m sorry,” Sterling told Cooper. “He’s a good person. I mean, what am I going to say? Has he done everything he can do to help minorities? I don’t think so. But I’ll say it, he’s great. But I don’t think he’s a good example for the children of Los Angeles.”
Sterling discussed what he said on the tape.
“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. I don’t talk about people for one thing, ever. I talk about ideas and other things. I don’t talk about people.”
At the time the tape was released, Stiviano and Shelly Sterling were locked in a legal battle, with Shelly Sterling demanding that Stiviano give back cars and a $1.8-million condo that Donald Sterling had allegedly given her.