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Donald Sterling Apologizes, Claims He Was ‘Baited’ into Making Racist Comments

Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling is finally breaking his silence. The billionaire real-estate mogul—who was recently banned for life and fined $2.5 million by the NBA after a tape of him making racists statements in a phone conversation to a girlfriend was made public—told CNN’s Anderson Cooper that he was “baited” into making the comments. He also seemed to deflect some of the blame to his much younger “friend” V. Stiviano who is also heard on the call. ”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 … I was baited. I mean, that’s not the way I talk.”

Sterling also apologized for the first time since the tape was made public, but said he didn’t think that his racist comments—telling Stiviano that she should not post pictures of herself online in the company of black men and that he didn’t want African-Americans coming to Clippers’ game—should warrant him having to sell the team he’s owned for more than three decades: “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 … I’m a good member who made a mistake and I’m apologizing and I’m asking for forgiveness. Am I entitled to one mistake, am I after 35 years?” The league is currently determining if they can force the sale of the team and is deciding what to do about Sterling’s wife, who also owns a large stake in the franchise. The full interview with Cooper airs this evening on CNN …

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