The Los Angeles Clippers issued a statement Saturday to TMZ on behalf of owner Donald Sterling, reacting to the release of an audio recording featuring Sterling making racist comments.
“We have heard the tape on TMZ,” the statement said. “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 audio recording, obtained and put online Friday by TMZ, captured Sterling telling his girlfriend that he did not want her bringing black people to his basketball games. The argument took place on April 9, according to TMZ, after Sterling’s girlfriend, V. Stiviano, posted a photograph on Instagram of herself posing with NBA legend Magic Johnson. On the tape, Sterling also told Stiviano not to bring Johnson to games. In the statement to TMZ, the Clippers said that “what is reflected” on the recording is the “antithesis” of who Sterling is.
“Mr. Sterling is emphatic that what is reflected on that recording is not consistent with, nor does it reflect his views, beliefs or feelings,” the statement said. “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.”
The NBA announced Saturday that it was investigating the tape and Sterling’s comments. In a separate statement, Clippers star point guard Chris Paul, who is also the president of the National Basketball Players Association, called the comments a “very serious issue which we will address aggressively.”