Donald Sterling recently sat down for an interview with CNN’s Anderson Cooper. The discussion features Sterling’s first public apology as well as a half-hearted apology to Magic Johnson.
If Donald Sterling’s goal in his interview with Anderson Cooper was to come off as an apologetic and sympathetic figure, I cannot imagine a way in which he could have screwed up more.
Sterling seemed more insincere and out-of-touch than one could have possibly envisioned. His ugly interior was completely exposed. He repeated the same lines over and over and harped on particular themes he wanted to, such as that he only made a “mistake” and that his remarks were stupid and educated, rather than a reflection of his true self. He clearly showed he had no concept or understanding of how others view him.
As if all of that weren’t bad enough, Sterling attacked Magic Johnson, who is a beloved figure in Los Angeles and sports in general, showing not only how dumb he is, but how little he understood about the proper way to make up for his wrongs.
If you are trying to repair your image, you don’t do so by bashing someone else.
When talking about Magic, Sterling asked rhetorically, “what has he done?” and then blurted out, “HE’S GOT AIDS!”
Rather than focusing on apologizing, it was like Sterling was out to prove how Magic was a bad guy. He said things like Johnson “should be ashamed” while wondering aloud what Johnson does “for black people?”
Johnson and Sterling obviously don’t like each other. How much of that has to do with Sterling’s history of racism is unclear, but Sterling probably views Johnson as a threat on some level. Magic has admitted he is interested in buying the Los Angeles Clippers, and we know the NBA would consider any proposal from him and his billionaire backers.
He also tried to give context to his racist audio comments by saying they came up because Stiviano said she was going to bring black guys to a game, and he reacted with jealousy, which is why he told her not to bring them. Uhhhh, sorry, buddy, but I don’t think anyone’s buying that story.
If there is one good thing that came from that interview that would go in Sterling’s favor, it’s his assertion that he did not not know he was being recorded. Stiviano’s team says Sterling did. If Sterling did not know he was being recorded, that means the tapes are illegal and therefore would not hold up in court. That will be key when it comes to Sterling’s eventual lawsuit with the league for when he loses the team.