Racist remarks 'antithesis' of Clippers owner, team insists


by ABC News


Posted on April 26, 2014 at 7:49 PM

Updated Monday, Apr 28 at 6:47 PM

(ABC News) --  Racist remarks on an audiotape attributed to Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling are "the antithesis of who he is," according to a statement from the team, released today as the controversy raged.

The NBA announced that it was investigating the tape, posted on the celebrity website TMZ, and the NBA Players Association said it was trying "to determine our response and our next steps."

The tape, which records an argument between a man and woman, purportedly Sterling and his girlfriend V. Stiviano, brought a swift and angry response by former NBA players and Clippers fans.

On the tape, the man questions why the woman is bringing African-American people to the games and why she would "broadcast" that she is with "black people."

TMZ reported that Stiviano posted a picture of herself with former NBA great Earvin "Magic" Johnson on Instagram. In the tape the woman says she "admires" Magic Johnson.

"Mr. Sterling is emphatic that what is reflected on that recording is not consistent with, nor does it reflect his views, beliefs or feelings," Clippers president Andy Roeser said in a statement released today. "It is the antithesis of who he is, what he believes and how he has lived his life. He feels terrible that such sentiments are being attributed to him and apologizes to anyone who might have been hurt by them."

Roeser said team officials had heard the tape but "do not know if it is legitimate or it has been altered."

"We do know that the woman on the tape -- who we believe released it to TMZ -- is the defendant in a lawsuit brought by the Sterling family alleging that she embezzled more than $1.8 million, who told Mr. Sterling that she would 'get even,'" Roeser said.

"[Sterling] is also upset and apologizes for sentiments attributed to him about Earvin Johnson," the statement said. "He has long considered Magic a friend and has only the utmost respect and admiration for him--both in terms of who he is and what he has achieved. We are investigating this matter."

At the media availability for the Clippers, who are facing the Golden State Warriors in the first round of the playoffs, Los Angeles players and Coach Doc Rivers declined to comment on the situation.

Golden State coach Mark Jackson, a former Clippers player, said he was "disappointed."

"I believe there's no place in society for statements like that, feelings like that," Jackson said. " We have a great commissioner and I'm sure that the powers that be will do their homework and make the proper decisions."

He said he never heard anything from Sterling like what was on the tape when he played for the Clippers.

"I played there and in fairness I never experienced anything," he said.

The NBA issued a statement regarding the tape via spokesman Mike Bass.

"We are in the process of conducting a full investigation into the audio recording obtained by TMZ. The remarks heard on the recording are disturbing and offensive, but at this time we have no further information," Bass said.

After the tape was released, Magic Johnson took to Twitter to voice his displeasure.

Others including Clipper fans like director Adam McKay and rapper Snoop Dog spoke out against Sterling's alleged comments. McKay said he would give up his season tickets.

Anthony Morrow, a player for the New Orleans Pelicans basketball team, sided with Johnson.


Former Clippers player Baron Davis commented on the scandal but did not appear to take sides.

Although no current Clippers player commented directly on social media. Clippers player DeAndre Jordan posted a pointed all black Instagram photo early this morning, that many took as a sign that Jordan was unhappy with Sterling's statements. Jordan did not confirm what his intention was with the image.

Sterling has owned the Clippers since 1981 making him the longest-running owner of an NBA team.

According to ESPN sterling has been involved in several lawsuits including lawsuits that involved racial discrimination. Sterling agreed to pay $2.73 million in 2009 to settle allegations that he refused to rent apartments to Hispanics, African-Americans and families with children. Calls to the Clippers officer were not immediately returned.