The Los Angeles Clippers have released a statement addressing the racist remarks that owner Donald Sterling was caught on saying on a tape that was released by TMZ on Saturday.
“We have heard the tape on TMZ. We 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,'” the team said.
In the recording Sterling admonishes his girlfriend, V. Staviano, who is half-black and half-Mexican, to not post photos of herself hanging out with black people (including Magic Johnson) on Instagram. He also asks her not to bring any minorities to his team’s games.
“Mr. Sterling is emphatic that what is reflected on that recording is not consistent with, nor does it reflect his views, beliefs or feelings. 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. He is also upset and apologizes for sentiments attributed to him about Earvin Johnson. 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,” the statement continued.
Sterling has been in trouble over the years for his racial conduct, including a successful lawsuit in 2009 in which he paid the government a $2.73 million penalty for discriminatory practices in apartments that he owned. He was also sued for discrimination by former team exec and NBA Hall of Famer Elgin Baylor, though that suit was thrown out of court.