Donald Sterling Sparks More Outrage With ‘Malicious’ Magic-HIV Comments
LOS ANGELES (CBSNewYork/AP) — An interview that was supposed to be an attempt at rehabilitation instead had Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling facing fresh rebukes as he went from apologizing for recent racist remarks to slamming Magic Johnson, repeatedly bringing up the ex-NBA star’s HIV status and calling him an unfit role model for children.
“He’s got AIDS!” Sterling said loudly at one point in the interview, cutting off CNN’s Anderson Cooper as the interviewer attempted to cite Johnson’s accomplishments after Sterling asked, “What has he done, big Magic Johnson, what has he done?”
The comments earned Sterling quick condemnation from the league that was already trying to rid itself of the owner.
Commissioner Adam Silver, who gave Sterling a lifetime ban and $2.5 million fine two weeks ago, issued a statement saying, “while Magic Johnson doesn’t need me to, I feel compelled on behalf of the NBA family to apologize to him that he continues to be dragged into this situation and be degraded by such a malicious and personal attack.”
“The NBA Board of Governors is continuing with its process to remove Mr. Sterling as expeditiously as possible,” the commissioner added.
Johnson is scheduled to appear on Cooper’s show to reply on Tuesday.
Johnson later Tweeted, “After this week, no more Sterling talk.”
Sterling changed course briefly during the interview to call Johnson “a good person,” but soon resumed his criticism.
“He acts so holy,” Sterling said. “He made love to every girl in every city in America, and he had AIDS, and when he had those AIDS, I went to my synagogue and I prayed for him, I hope he could live and be well. I didn’t criticize him. I could have. Is he an example for children?”
Cooper corrected Sterling, explaining that Johnson was HIV-positive but did not have “full-blown AIDS.”
Sterling briefly adjusted his language but not his tone.
“What kind of a guy goes to every city, has sex with every girl, then he catches HIV. Is that someone we want to respect, and tell our kids about?” Sterling said. “I think he should be ashamed of himself.”
Johnson was named in the racially charged audio recordings that resulted in Sterling’s lifetime ban.
“If I said anything wrong, I’m sorry,” Sterling said. “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 apologized for the comments recorded by former girlfriend V. Stiviano.
“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,” Sterling said. “I was baited.”
Hall of Fame forward Rick Barry joined WFAN’s “Boomer & Carton” show on Tuesday and accused Sterling of dishonesty in his personal dealings, saying the exiled Clippers owner “flat-out lied” to him in the past.
“He’s not always honest,” Barry said. “I know as a fact he’s not always honest.”
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