Disgraced Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling says he was "baited" into making the racist comments that have since earned him a lifetime ban from the NBA.
"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 told CNN's Anderson Cooper in an interview airing air on Monday. "I was baited. I mean, that's not the way I talk. I don't talk about people for one thing, ever. I talk about ideas and other things. I don't talk about people."
Last month, Sterling was banned for life from the NBA after audio leaked of him telling his mistress V. Stiviano that he didn't want her to bring African-Americans to his games or be seen with them in photos she posted online. In his first interview since the scandal, Sterling is now saying he made a mistake.
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"I'm not a racist," Sterling told Cooper. "I 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... 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."
Later in the interview, Cooper asks Sterling if he's apologized to Magic Johnson, the man referred to in the recordings.
"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."
As for Sterling's estranged wife Shelly, she told CNN she wants to keep her 50 percent stake in the team. "I will fight that decision," she told ABC's Barbara Walters on Sunday. "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?"
Watch the excerpts from Sterling's interview: