Donald Sterling scandal: More audio released – abc7.com
LOS ANGELES (KABC) —
More audio from a racially-charged conversation between a couple believed to be Donald Sterling and his girlfriend, V. Stiviano, was released to Deadspin.com on Sunday. Sterling’s wife is also speaking out.
Late Sunday night, Rochelle Sterling said in a statement to Eyewitness News:
“Our family is devastated by the racist comments made by my estranged husband. My children and I do not share these despicable views or prejudices. We will not let one man’s small mindedness poison the spirit of the fans and accomplishments of the team in the city we love. We are doing everything in our power to stand by and support our Clippers team.”
Meantime, Stiviano, who has an attorney for an unrelated lawsuit, says there’s more to the recording than what’s already been released. The law firm told Eyewitness News:
“This office understands that the currently released audio tape of approximately 15 minutes is a portion of approximately one hour of overall audio recording of Mr. Donald T. Sterling and Ms. Stiviano, and is in fact legitimate. Ms. Stiviano did not release the tape to any news media.”
Covering her face with a large visor, Stiviano stepped outside her duplex near the Beverly Center on Sunday to walk her dog. She said she had no comment, and kept quiet about the scandal.
The NAACP has also dropped their plans to honor Sterling in light of the racist comments he allegedly made.
“Let me make it clear, the NAACP will not be honoring Mr. Sterling at the upcoming Los Angeles branch event and we have strongly urged our Los Angeles unit to take the necessary steps to rescind the previous award they bestowed on him,” said NAACP Interim President and CEO Lorraine C. Miller.
The L.A. NAACP office had planned to honor Sterling with a “humanitarian of the year” award at its gala 100th Anniversary Dinner on May 15.
An audio recording obtained by TMZ alleged that Sterling urged his girlfriend not to bring black people to Clippers games or to post photos of herself with black friends on her Instagram account.
“It bothers me a lot that you want to broadcast that you’re associating with black people. Do you have to?” the man believed to be Sterling says during an argument on April 9. He continues, “You can sleep with [black people]. You can bring them in, you can do whatever you want. The little I ask you is not to promote it on that … and not to bring them to my games.”
One of those now-deleted photos is believed to have been of the woman, V. Stiviano, posing with Lakers Hall of Famer Magic Johnson.
The Clippers team chose not to speak publicly about the scandal and said they were focused on their playoff series with Golden State.
On Sunday afternoon, however, the team made a silent protest and let their uniforms become a show of solidarity. They ran out of the tunnel for Game 4 of their first-round playoff at Golden State wearing their warmups. Then they huddled at center court and tossed their warmups to the ground, going through their pregame routine with their red Clippers’ shirts inside out to hide the team’s logo.
Players also wore black wristbands or armbands. They all wore black socks with their normal jerseys.
“It’s just us, only us. We’re all we got,” Clippers star guard Chris Paul could be heard shouting to teammates before they ran out.
The NAACP plans to address the Sterling controversy at a news conference at Fox Hills Mall scheduled for 10 a.m. Monday.
The scandal quickly engulfed the National Basketball Association and spurred a firestorm of reaction from President Barack Obama, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver, and Clippers president Andy Roeser, who says the tape was leaked as an act of revenge.
In a statement, Roeser said the woman heard on the tape, who he believes leaked it to TMZ, is being sued by the Sterling family on accusations of embezzling over $1.8 million. The woman told Sterling she would, “get even,” Roeser said in the statement. Roeser also said he has heard the tape and is unsure if the audio is legitimate or has been altered.
Roeser also addressed comments heard on the tape about Earvin “Magic” Johnson, saying Sterling is upset.
“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,” Roeser said.
On Saturday, Johnson called upon the NBA to “come down hard” on Sterling and to essentially oust him from the league.
“I had a friendship with him. So for him to then make these comments, or alleged comments, about myself as well as other African-Americans and minorities, there’s no place in our society for it,” Johnson said on ABC’s playoff pregame show.
“There’s no place in our league, because we all get along. We play with different races of people when you’re in sports. That’s what makes sports so beautiful.”
President Obama said Sterling’s comments were “incredibly offensive racist statements,” during a news conference in Malaysia, where he was traveling.
“When ignorant folks want to advertise their ignorance, you don’t really have to do anything, you just let them talk,” Mr. Obama said.
The situation has elicited some incredibly sharp comments from players, with LeBron James and Kobe Bryant making no effort to hide their disgust.
“I couldn’t play for him,” Bryant wrote on Twitter.
Added former Clippers guard Baron Davis, also in a tweet: “Been going on for a long time.”
Basketball legend Michael Jordan also expressed his disgust and outrage over Sterling’s comments.
“I’m completely disgusted that a fellow team owner could hold such sickening and offensive views,” he said in a statement released Sunday.
Silver is investigating the audio tape and the comments on it and hopes to have things wrapped up in the next few days.
The Associated Press and CNS contributed to this report.