Sunday, April 27, 2014

Donald Sterling caught on tape

Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling was allegedly caught on tape making racist comments to girlfriend V. Stiviano, some of which were about NBA Hall of Famer Magic Johnson.

TMZ reports it obtained audio from a conversation between Sterling and Stiviano in which he confronts her about associating with black people in public. He was particularity outspoken about her posting Instagram photos with black friends.

Reactions from Magic Johnson, President Obama, Michael Jordan, Doc Rivers, Kevin Johnson, LeBron James.

***

Is it really a coincident that at the time a lawsuit has been filed against V. Stiviano, an audio tape appears that recorded a private argument between Sterling and his young girlfriend? The recording was released by TMZ Sports on April 25 and contains quite a few racial comments about minorities, in particular, African-Americans.

At the heart of the argument between the old man and his young girlfriend is a picture that V. Sterling posted on her Instagram page. The photo, which by now has been taken down, shows the young girl in the company of Magic Johnson. In response to the photo, Sterling can be heard saying that he does not want his girlfriend to appear with other men in pictures and he does not want her to bring them to his games. Are the words that can be heard in the above audio video the words of a racist man or a jealous old man?

As previously reported, the taped conversation between the two is interesting to listen to because to some listeners, it seems that the focus on minorities was “prompted” by the girl while the man on the tape seems to be more upset about his girlfriend being with other men. Since the Instagram photo had shown Magic Johnson, of course Sterling talked about an “African -American.” But was Sterling upset about another man or about a “Black Man?” Listeners might want to decide for themselves by listening to the tape rather than reading only the headlines of the main media.

***

The NAACP said today they are still willing to work with Los Angeles Clippers' owner Donald Sterling despite yanking an offer of a lifetime achievement award over an audio tape containing racist comments that Sterling allegedly made.

At a news conference today, NAACP Los Angeles president Leon Jenkins said that an audio recording that surfaced this weekend on TMZ, which purportedly had Sterling's voice recorded making racist comments, was "devastating."

"God teaches us to forgive, and the way I look at it, after a sustained period of proof to the African American community that those words don't reflect his heart, I think there's room for forgiveness. I wouldn't be a Christian if I said there wasn't," Jenkins said.

"We are negotiating with him about giving more moneys to African American students at UCLA, and so we are in preliminary discussions," Jenkins said. He also noted, however, they had not spoken since the scandal broke.

The news conference was held to discuss the organization's decision to cancel plans to honor to Sterling with a lifetime achievement in the wake of the tape, which allegedly contained an argument between Sterling, 80, and his girlfriend, Vanessa Stiviano, 31, in which the male voice on the recording makes many racist comments.

But the organization would be open to talking to Sterling, with whom they've worked for nearly 20 years.

Jenkins said that the NAACP had been working closely with Sterling on contributions to the black community in southern California, including creating an endowment at a predominantly black college in the LA area and a scholarship program for black students at UCLA.

"The mission of the NAACP is to eradicate discrimination and racial hatred in all its forms, and each year our executive board votes on who we decide that we are going to honor," Jenkins said. "Mr. Sterling has given out a tremendous amount of scholarships, he has invited numerous African American kids to summer camps, and his donations are bigger than other sports franchises."

The Los Angeles chapter of the NAACP posted on its website over the weekend that it would not give Sterling the Lifetime Achievement award after all.

***

Sterling has been giving for years, and not just to the NAACP. He's donated millions to other groups advocating for African Americans like the United Negro College Fund and the Black Business Association.

Some see a calculated strategy to bolster his image and deflect criticism over previous episodes of alleged racism. Nicole Neily, a crisis communications consultant, said donors can have ulterior motives.

"There is strategy that goes into: Who do we need to defuse? Are you buying friends? Are you not buying friends? And for big groups, I think it's maybe you're trying to get on their radar, get some access," Neily said.

Just last month Washington Redskins owner Dan Snyder, under pressure to change his team's name, established a foundation to improve the condition of Native Americans.

Image consultants also point to NFL quarterback Michael Vick who spent nearly two years in jail for running a dog fighting ring. After being released and looking to revive his career, he partnered with The Humane Society.

For Sterling there has been a pay off. He has received numerous honors and also relentlessly promoted his giving, taking out full page ads in local newspapers.

Huffman said her organization will never take his money again.

*** 4/29/14

Donald Sterling banned permanently from the NBA by Adam Silver.

NBA commissioner Adam Silver said Tuesday that he will try to force the controversial owner to sell his franchise. Sterling has also been fined $2.5 million, and Silver made no effort to hide his outrage over the comments.

Sterling is immediately barred from attending any NBA games or practices, be present at any Clippers office or facility, or participate in any business or player personnel decisions involving the team. He also cannot participate in any league business going forward.

"This league is far bigger than any one owner, any one coach and any one player," Silver said.

*** 5/2/14

 Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling’s confidante V. Stiviano today told ABC’s Barbara Walters that she thinks the embattled NBA basketball owner should apologize for his racist remarks.

"Yes. Absolutely,” Stiviano, 31, said when Walters asked her during an exclusive television interview in Los Angeles.

"I think he’s highly more traumatized and hurt by the things that he said himself,” she added. “I think he can’t even believe or understand sometimes the thing he says, and I think he’s hurt by it. He’s hurting right now." 

 Despite the controversy around his comments, she said he is not a racist.

“I think Mr. Sterling is from a different generation than I am. I think he was brought up to believe these things … segregation, whites and blacks,” Stiviano said. “But through his actions he’s shown that he’s not a racist. He’s shown to be a very generous and kind man.” 

*** 5/4/14

 Donald Sterling doesn’t just save his rants for The Clippers — he allegedly exploded on his oddball gal pal V. Stiviano just minutes before she sat down with Barbara Walters on Friday and called herself Sterling’s “silly rabbit.”

Although Sterling did not appear on “20/20” with Walters — as a last minute decision — he was with Stiviano at the Four Seasons in Los Angeles, where the interview was filmed.

One shocked guest at the hotel tells us they hopped onto an elevator with Sterling, 81, and Stiviano, 31, only to be caught in the middle of a one-sided scream-fest.

“He’s screaming at her in the elevator, ‘You’re a media whore!’ She sat there quiet and didn’t say a word,” our tipster says. “Then he looks at her and says, ‘Get off this f---ing elevator! Get off this elevator and shut the f--- up!’”

Our elevator-riding spy says Stiviano, who had been trying to persuade Sterling to sit down with Walters, then pressed a “random button” and got off the elevator on the 15th floor of the hotel, disappearing as the doors closed.

 Sterling, meanwhile, continued his rant to a male friend, who appeared to be on his legal team.

“He was yelling, ‘She’s f---king crazy! I can’t deal with her! She’s nuts!” says our source.

The disgraced Clippers owner then rode the elevator to the lobby and stormed out of the hotel.

Our witness says they had no idea that just 20 minutes later, Stiviano was sitting down with Walters to talk about her racist “father figure” in a positive light.

“You would have no idea anything was wrong the way she looked on TV,” says our source.

[5/12/14] Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling apologized Sunday for racist comments captured on tape, saying they were a "terrible mistake." 

"I'm not a racist," Sterling told CNN's Anderson Cooper in excerpts posted from an interview taped Sunday and set to air Monday. "I made a terrible mistake. I'm here to apologize." 

In his first public comments since being banned for life from the NBA, Sterling said years of good behavior as an owner should count toward his future. 

"I'm a good member who made a mistake," Sterling said. "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." 

[5/13/14]  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.

Sterling's estranged wife, Shelley Sterling, watched her husband's interview and told NBC's "Today" show that he may be losing his mental faculties.

"He's not the man I know, or I knew," she said. "There's something wrong. I really think, personally, he has dementia.

[5/14//14] Jon Stewart is mean (bonus commentary on Karl Rove)

[5/14/14] Magic Johnson has some advice for Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling: Sell the team, take the money and enjoy the rest of your life.

A day after Sterling appeared on CNN slamming the NBA legend's character, his battle with HIV and his community outreach efforts, Johnson said Tuesday that he feels sorry for the 80-year-old billionaire.

"It's sad. It really is. I'm going to pray for this ... man," Johnson told CNN's Anderson Cooper in an exclusive interview.

Johnson and the woman at the center of the scandal -- Stiviano -- have met briefly only once, the NBA legend said, taking a picture at a Los Angeles Dodgers game. Johnson is a part-owner of the baseball team.

"I don't know the young lady. I barely know Donald, so now I am caught in the middle of this love affair or whatever they had," Johnson said.

Johnson said he doesn't think Sterling understands what a big mistake the Clippers owner's racist comments were or the number of people who were offended by the remarks -- and by Sterling's statements to Cooper that aired Monday night, slamming Johnson again.

"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 asked Cooper in Monday's interview. "I think he should be ashamed of himself. I think he should go into the background. But what does he do for the black people? He doesn't do anything."

In response, Johnson defended his charitable work and business investments, saying Sterling should have done his homework before making the comments.

"My whole life is devoted to urban America. So, you know I just wish he knew the facts when he's talking," Johnson told Cooper. "But he's a man who's upset and he's reaching. He's reaching. He's trying to find something that he can grab on to help him save his team. And it's not going to happen."

He also responded to Sterling's HIV remarks, saying he never hid from the diagnosis when he retired from the NBA in 1991.

"I came out like a man, you know, I told the world. I didn't blame nobody else. I understood that what I did was wrong," Johnson said. "OK, so I announced that to the world, and I hoped that I was able to help people in doing that, and I think I did."

Johnson said Sterling should go into retirement.

"You're 80 years old. You've had a tremendous life. And you're going to benefit, whatever the price tag is, from this team selling. Just go ahead and enjoy the rest of your life," Johnson said. "You're fighting a battle that you can't win."


[5/29/14] The former Microsoft chief executive Steve Ballmer has agreed to pay $2 billion for the Los Angeles Clippers, according to a person briefed on the negotiations. If approved by the National Basketball Association, the sale would end a troubling situation for the league and rank as one of the largest deals in sports history.

Rochelle Sterling, Mr. Sterling’s wife and a co-owner of the Clippers, signed the deal with Mr. Ballmer, and their contract will be sent to the N.B.A. for final approval, the person briefed on the negotiations said. Mr. Ballmer, 58, was already vetted by the league in 2013 when he was part of an investor group seeking to buy the Sacramento Kings, which means the process could be expedited.

Mr. Sterling’s position remains uncertain. He was said to have authorized his wife to negotiate with potential buyers, but she needed his power of attorney to sign off on an agreement. Mr. Sterling’s lawyer, Maxwell Blecher, said Wednesday that Ms. Sterling did not have it. Mr. Blecher also said that, as incentive to agree to sell the team, Mr. Sterling wanted the N.B.A. to drop its charges that he had violated the league’s constitution.

The Los Angeles Times was the first to report that Mr. Ballmer had reached an agreement with Ms. Sterling.

If the Clippers sell for $2 billion, the price would be the highest paid for an N.B.A. team, far exceeding the $550 million that the Milwaukee Bucks recently sold for. Major League Baseball’s Dodgers, the Clippers’ Los Angeles neighbors, sold for $2.15 billion two years ago.

The $1.1 billion paid for the Miami Dolphins in 2009 is the peak price for a N.F.L. team, with the Cleveland Browns, who were sold two years ago, a little behind. N.F.L. franchises share in the most lucrative national television deals of all the major leagues.

[6/16/14] More offensive than Donald Sterling?

[8/12/14] Steve Ballmer officially becomes Clippers owner

[8/14/14] Shelly Sterling, Number One Fan

[8/23/14] Donald Sterling’s ex-assistant V. Stiviano claims the former L.A. Clippers owner is gay and that she spent three years acting as his beard so no one would suspect his true sexuality.  [it gets better and better]

[9/26/14] No more iPads for Clippers

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