Donald Sterling broke silence after he was caught on tape hurling racist comments against minorities. The Los Angeles Clippers owner was believed berating his girlfriend, V. Stiviano, for broadcasting her association with black people, but the embattled billionaire insists in a statement issued by his camp that he is not racist. He also questions the authenticity of the tape.
"We have heard the tape on TMZ," his rep says. "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.' "
"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 NBA team owner was apparently upset with his girlfriend after she posted on Instagram a picture of her with Magic Johnson. The retired pro basketball player later reacted on Twitter to Sterling's offensive comment, "LA Clippers owner Donald Sterling's comments about African Americans are a black eye for the NBA."
"I will never go to a Clippers game again as long as Donald Sterling is the owner," he added. "I feel sorry for my friends Coach Doc Rivers and Chris Paul that they have to work for a man that feels that way about African Americans."
Snoop Dogg and Lil Wayne also blasted Sterling. "You b*tch a**, redneck, white bread, chicken s**t motherf**ker, f**k you, your mama and everything connected to you, you racist piece of s**t," Snoop launched an expletive-laden tirade on Instagram. "F**k you."
Fellow rap star Weezy said in a separate video, "F**k you. That simple. That easy. If I were a Clipper fan, I wouldn't be one any longer." He added, "If I was a clipper player you wouldn't see me on the court anymore in that uniform. An apology wouldn't do for me."
Actor Kevin Hart also boycotted the Clippers. "The owner of the CLIPPERS is a flat out racist and will never see a dime of my money!!! Donald Sterling is disgusting...this s**t is sad," he tweeted. "I've spent probably 100k over the past 2 years supporting my friends on that team and to find out that the owner is a flat out RACIST..."
"All I can do I shake my head...the league better take a stand on this issue...this s**t is a serious matter....the league must take a stand. I am taking a stand on this...I want to show this racist a**hole the power is social media & our culture...."
"The only way to do that is to hit him where it hurts which is his pockets...I will support my friends but not the CLIPPERS organization. I can assure you that you will not see my black face or any other black face that has heard this racist mans comments at a clippers game."
"The @NBA better make a stand on this matter...our culture has the power to shut that whole organization down if we wanted to!!!!" he went on. "The reason why I am using the word 'culture' is because of what he said in his conversation with his girlfriend on the phone!!!"
Miami Heat's star LeBron James said, "Obviously, if the reports are true, it's unacceptable in our league. It doesn't matter, white, black or Hispanic -- all across the races it's unacceptable. As the commissioner of our league they have to make a stand. They have to be very aggressive with it. I don't know what it will be, but we can't have that in our league."
Barack Obama also weighed in on the matter. "When ignorant folks want to advertise their ignorance, you don't really have to do anything. You just let them talk," said the first African-American President of the United States while on a diplomatic mission in Malaysia. The U.S. "continues to wrestle with the legacy of race and slavery and segregation," but Americans must remain "steady in condemning it."
NBA said they were investigating the matter, calling Sterling's comments "disturbing and offensive."