Nothin' but Net: Sterling actually makes things worse


The Sports Network

Philadelphia, PA ( - Years and years ago, there was an episode of "Law & Order" in which an old Mafioso type was faking insanity so he could plead it at trial.

Maybe that's what disgraced Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling was doing in his interview with Anderson Cooper.

Or, maybe he's actually a more terrible person than we originally suspected.

No matter why he did it, Sterling managed to look worse than humanly imaginable in a rambling, at times incoherent, and other times all too coherent, debacle on CNN.

There's too much to get to, but the gist can be summed up in this: during an interview to apologize for racist comments, Sterling made MORE racist comments and inflicted far more damage on himself than good.

Again, Sterling offered so much, it would be impossible to address every single bit of nonsense.

First, Cooper acknowledged there were no lawyers or public relations people present. That became pretty obvious when Sterling said, "The Jewish people have a company, and it's for people who want to borrow money and no interest. They want to give them a fish pole -- a fishing pole. We want to help people. If they don't have money, we will loan to it you. You don't have interest. One day, you will pay us back."

Give Sterling credit, he went on his first nationally televised appearance after the audio tape without so much as the hint of preparedness or counsel.

Put Sterling in front a microphone, push his buttons with some relevant questions about his broad-sweeping hatreds, and the result is more damning statements.

Sterling seemed resigned to his fate, which is banishment from the NBA and loss of ownership of the Clippers. He wouldn't unilaterally dismiss the idea of a lawsuit.

"We're not there yet. I don't want to fight with my partners (fellow owners)," he told Cooper. "I love them and respect them."

Sterling alleged to have spoken to a few owners who support him. I do not believe that. Statements like that offend me as a person with a functioning brain.

Even if we assume some owner is sympathetic to Sterling for reasons passing sanity, this interview sunk him. Owners who were on the fence - again, I believe no such beings exist - watched that sit-down and had to cringe.

So, without the benefit of legal or PR advisors, Sterling went on to say he believes he was set up by V. Stiviano, didn't know he was being recorded and apologized.

That was fine. He explained that the language he used was used by her first, although the recorder must not have worked or been on when that happened. Anyway, he's not a racist.

"I don't know why the girl had me say those things," Sterling said.

She didn't.

"It's not the way I talk. I don't talk about people, for one thing, ever. I talk about ideas and other things, but I don't talk about people," Sterling said

Who then talked about Magic Johnson, once again.

"Here is a man, who, I don't know if I should say this, he acts so holy. He made love to every girl in every city in America and he had AIDS. And when he had those AIDS, I went to my synagogue and prayed for him."

First, Johnson never had AIDS. Details like that matter.

Second, it's weird to criticize Johnson's life when, here we have Sterling, who is in trouble for a relationship with an attractive women 50 years his junior, and who audio-taped him making racist statements and basically ruined his life.

Is Sterling really in a position to judge Johnson about how he treated women, especially when he acknowledged certain transactions, shall we say, in various legal environments he would?

Is Sterling trying to have us believe the only thing on his mind when it came to Stiviano was friendship?

These are just the excerpts I was able to type as quickly as I could about Johnson. Sterling clearly hates Magic, despite claiming that Johnson called him and told him to lay low during this period.

"What has he done? Can you tell me? Big Magic Johnson, what has he done?" Sterling said.

I'm assuming Sterling was asking Cooper to name other things Johnson has done beside creating a foundation that has donated millions to charities, helped educate the country about HIV and AIDS, and created millions of business opportunities for minorities.

Sterling questioned what Johnson has actually done for minorities. NBC wishes it could find a script-writer who would elicit this many laughs.

Although, this Sterling gem wasn't very funny.

"Jews, when they get successful, they will help their people. And some of the African-Americans, maybe I'll get in trouble again, they don't want to help anybody."

My God.

This man has nothing left. Statements like "maybe I'll get in trouble again ..." clearly suggest he knows right from wrong, but doesn't care. Watching this interview, Sterling couldn't help himself from being who he is, which is a bigot who generalizes in the most putrid way imaginable.

The NBA has been clear. It does not want Sterling around. By the laws of the league, Shelly Sterling can't continue to own the team if her estranged husband gets voted out by the NBA Board of Governors.

And let's be honest, Donald Sterling, Shelly Sterling, V. Stiv, everyone go back under the rock.

This interview destroyed even the most remote chances of Sterling making amends. The owners hate him. Everyone hates him and will go to any lengths to create distance.

Although, Sterling doesn't believe so.

"The players don't hate me. The sponsors don't hate me. The fans don't hate me," he said. "The media hates me. It's all the media pushing it."

Fine, I'm in the media. I do hate you, but I didn't conjure up why or fabricate something to feel that way. The real you came out, Mr. Sterling, and it deserves hatred.

Oh, and all those people you referenced who don't hate you, they do. And if they didn't before, they will after this interview.

Read more Basketball Wires stories from the Miami Herald

Get your Miami Heat Fan Gear!

Join the

The Miami Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere on the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

The Miami Herald uses Facebook's commenting system. You need to log in with a Facebook account in order to comment. If you have questions about commenting with your Facebook account, click here.

Have a news tip? You can send it anonymously. Click here to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Miami Herald and el Nuevo Herald.

Hide Comments

This affects comments on all stories.

Cancel OK

  • Marketplace

Today's Circulars

  • Quick Job Search

Enter Keyword(s) Enter City Select a State Select a Category