Soon-to-be-former Clippers owner Don Sterling has broken his silence on the racist comments he made, telling CNN’s Anderson Cooper, in an exclusiveinterview, that he’s not a racist, he’s sorry people got their fee-fees hurt, bitch set me up, oh, and by the way, fuck Magic Johnson.
CNN is offering a five-minute first bite at the interview, which airs tonight on AC360, so here’s hoping that Cooper pushed back at the many ridiculous things that Sterling says, not the least of which is “I’m not a racist.”
In the meantime, though, CNN viewers will be treated to a largely uncritical stream of Sterling’s self-pitying, nonsensical stream of thought. Sterling puts on a creased sad-face emoticon and a textbook Paula Deen quiver in his voice as he tells Cooper “I’m not a racist. I’ve 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,” but continues to insist he’s not a racist, and that he was “baited” into saying all of that racist stuff.
One thing that people should be clear on with regard to Donald Sterling is that, when he says he was “baited” into saying those things, he means he was baited into saying them on tape. His girlfriend didn’t say “Hey, Don, I’m really glad you don’t like black people, because otherwise, I’d have to stop sleeping with you,” she was like “Hey, remember all of those assholish things you said about minorities? Please say them again now.”
Later, he tells Cooper that he’s spoken to Magic Johnson twice since the controversy erupted, and when Cooper asks if he apologized to Johnson, he says “If I said anything wrong, I’m sorry.”
In the very next breath, he says, of Johnson, “Has he done everything he can do to help minorities? I don’t think so. But I’ll say it, he’s great. I just don’t think he is a good example for the children of Los Angeles.”
Some other takeaways from the first bite: Sterling indicated that he might not fight to keep his team, he wouldn’t say that he thought V. Stiviano leaked the recorded phone call, and he doesn’t talk about people, ever. Only ideas and other things.
According to Cooper, Sterling talked a lot more shit about Magic Johnson, and hinted that maybe Sterling thinks Magic Johnson set him up. “I think he feels Magic wanted to buy the team, or had an interest in buying the team, which is publicly known,” Cooper said on Monday morning’s New Day, adding “I think there is some resentment there for that.”
There’s an argument to be made that Sterling’s own words do a fine enough job on him, but if Cooper challenged him on any of these statements, or on issues like his housing discrimination suit, there’s little evidence of it in these excerpts. I understand wanting to promote a huge interview, but CNN’s viewers are poorly served by a full day’s airing of Donald Sterling’s one-sided pity party.