Donald Sterling: I Made a Mistake and I’m Asking for Forgiveness

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
May 11 2014 8:42 PM

Donald Sterling: I Made a Mistake and I’m Asking for Forgiveness

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Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling attends the NBA playoff game between the Clippers and the Golden State Warriors on April 21, 2014

Photo by ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images

The disgraced and banned owner of the Los Angeles Clippers is saying sorry. In his first sitdown interview since audio was leaked of him making racist statements, Donald Sterling says his track record should entitle him to some compassion. "I'm a good member who made a mistake and I'm apologizing and I'm asking for forgiveness," Sterling told Anderson Cooper in an interview that will air Monday night, according to excerpts posted on CNN’s website. "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."

Sterling says he has been “emotionally distraught,” which is why he didn’t speak out sooner. "I'm not a racist," Sterling added. "I made a terrible mistake. I'm here to apologize." He also says he simply didn’t know what to do. "The reason it's hard for me, very hard for me, is that I'm wrong. I caused the problem. I don't know how to correct it," he said.

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The excerpts from the Sterling interview were released shortly after ABC News released its own excerpts of an interview Barbara Walters conducted with Sterling’s wife Shelly, who suspects her husband may be suffering from “the onset of dementia.” Shelly Sterling also said she plans to "eventually" divorce her husband: “I don't love him. I pity him and I feel sorry for him.” Regardless of what happens though she will fight to keep her stake in the Los Angeles Clippers. "To be honest with you, 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?" Shelly Sterling asked.

Daniel Politi has been contributing to Slate since 2004 and wrote the "Today's Papers" column from 2006 to 2009. You can follow him on Twitter @dpoliti.

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