Donald Sterling’s racist ways have finally got out into the public for consumption, and the result is a collective, Cliven Bundy-racist-comments-aided bellyache that could cost him, the owner of the NBA’s Los Angeles Clippers, the ability to say his team is his, at the most, and missing watching his organization play in the NBA Playoffs at the least.TMZ Sports landed the scoop of the year so far (it’s hard to imagine anyone topping this), as it obtained (probably paid for) a copy of an audio recording probably made by Sterling’s girlfriend V. Stiviano. The conversation centers around Donald Sterling’s displeasure with the photos of his girlfriend V. Stiviano “with minorities” Instagram page, here. 2014 Etc.
WE THE PEOPLE & “ We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. ” —United States Declaration of Independence & The Bill of Rights & All Freedom.
Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling has pulled his support from a deal to sell the team to former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer and will pursue his $1 billion federal lawsuit against the NBA, his attorney said Monday.
"We have been instructed to prosecute the lawsuit," said attorney Maxwell Blecher. He said co-owner Donald Sterling would not be signing off on the deal to sell.
Donald Sterling issued a one-page statement dated Monday titled "The Team is not for Sale" and said that "from the onset, I did not want to sell the Los Angeles Clippers."
The $2 billion sale was negotiated by his wife Shelly Sterling after Donald Sterling's racist remarks to a girlfriend were publicized and the NBA moved to oust him as owner.
The lawsuit alleges the league violated his constitutional rights by relying on information from an "illegal" recording that publicized racist remarks he made to a girlfriend. It also said the league committed a breach of contract by fining Sterling $2.5 million and that it violated antitrust laws by trying to force a sale.
"I have decided that I must fight to protect my rights," Donald Sterling said. "While my position may not be popular, I believe that my rights to privacy and the preservation of my rights to due process should not be trampled. I love the team and have dedicated 33 years of my life to the organization. I intend to fight to keep the team."
Donald Sterling had agreed to ink the deal and drop the suit last week assuming "all their differences had been resolved," his attorneys said. But individuals close to the negotiations who weren't authorized to speak publicly said he decided to not sign the papers after learning the NBA won't revoke its lifetime ban and fine.
"There was never a discussion involving the NBA in which we would modify Mr. Sterling's penalty in any way whatsoever. Any suggestion otherwise is complete fabrication," NBA spokesman Mike Bass said.
Shelly Sterling and her attorney Pierce O'Donnell declined to comment through representatives.
Shelly Sterling utilized her authority as sole trustee of The Sterling Family Trust, which owns the Clippers, to take bids for the team and ultimately negotiate a deal with Ballmer. The deal would be record-breaking if approved by the NBA's owners.
An individual familiar with the negotiations who wasn't authorized to speak publicly said Monday that there were two options for Donald Sterling — to either sign or go to court. But even if he wins in court, he's ultimately winning a judgment against himself because his wife Shelly Sterling has agreed to indemnify the NBA against all lawsuits, including by her husband, the individual said.
Donald Sterling's comments to V. Stiviano included telling her to not bring black people to Clippers games, specifically mentioning Hall of Famer Magic Johnson. They resulted in a storm of outrage from the public and players and even prompted President Barack Obama to comment on what he called Sterling's "incredibly offensive racist statements."
Donald Sterling said in his statement that he was "extremely sorry for the hurtful statements" he made privately but said them out of anger and jealousy and didn't intend for them to be public.
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver ultimately decided to ban Donald Sterling for life, fine him millions, and began efforts to force Sterling to sell the team. Those efforts ended with Shelly Sterling's deal with Ballmer.
If this deal ultimately goes through, its terms allow Shelly Sterling to remain close to the organization by allowing for up to 10 percent of the team — or $200 million — to be spun off into a charitable foundation that she would essentially run.
Shelly Sterling and Ballmer would be co-chairs of the foundation, which would target underprivileged families, battered women, minorities and inner city youths.
Under the deal Shelly Sterling would also get the title of "owner emeritus" and be entitled to continuing perks such as floor seats, additional seats at games and parking.
One of the individuals said the deal also includes conditions that allow Ballmer to buy back the 10 percent portion of the team for a pre-designated price upon Shelly Sterling's death.
Donald Sterling has had a really rough month. Since the tape of his racist remarks leaked, there has been a long, ugly battle about the future of the Los Angeles Clippers, his relationships with his estranged wife, his vengeful mistress, and a basketball league that wants to see him disappear forever.
The story has taken so many weird, unexpected turns that it seems like no one, not even his own lawyers, knows exactly what's going on. The Wire took it upon ourselves to provide you with a complete timeline of this entire disaster.
Enjoy. Or don't. We just want this whole thing to go away.
April 25, 1934: Donald Tokowitz, now Sterling, is born.
1955: Donald and Shelly Sterling wed.
1981: Sterling purchases the San Diego Clippers for $12 million.
2005: Sterling settles the 2003 lawsuit, paying about $5 million in legal fees, plus an undisclosed (probably huge) settlement.
2006: The Department of Justice sues Sterling for housing discrimination after he speaks against renting to Latino and African American tenants.
2009: Sterling settles the 2006 lawsuit for about $3 million. Elgin Baylor, the Clippers general manager from 1986 to 2008, files a civil lawsuit for wrongful termination. He says Sterling has a "vision of a Southern plantation type structure" for the Clippers, in which "poor black kids from the South [are] playing for a white coach." Baylor also claims Sterling brings African American women into the locker room, saying "Look at those beautiful black bodies."
2011: Baylor drops racial discrimination suit.
March 2011: Clippers run an advertisement in which Sterling says the team is honored to celebrate Black History Month. Some fans are offended because Black History Month is February, believe Sterling is disrespectful.
April 9, 2014: Sterling's girlfriend, Vanessa Stiviano, records their conversations, in which Sterling tells Stiviano not to bring black friends to Clippers games, or post photos of her with black people (including NBA Hall of Famer Magic Johnson) on Instagram.
May 29, 2014: 9:00 p.m.: ESPN reports that Ballmer has a signed agreement with the Sterling trust to purchase the team. Agreement is immediately submitted to the NBA for approval
June 3, 2014: NBA plans vote on Sterling's future as owner. Expected to vote him out. Unless....????
The NAACP tells TMZ Sports ... the organization is revising its guidelines for selecting honorees in light of the Donald Sterling situation ... saying the fact he was set to receive an NAACP award next month is "unfortunate."
The Los Angeles chapter of the NAACP had been scheduled to give Sterling the group's lifetime achievement award at its May 15 banquet.
"He is not receiving a lifetime achievement award from the NAACP," Lorraine Miller, NAACP interim vice president, told NBC's "Meet the Press."
As we previously reported, Sterling -- who was sued TWICE for discrimination and has faced allegations of racism in the past -- was set to be honored on May 15th by the Los Angeles chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.
Now, a spokesperson for the national office tells TMZ Sports, "We are working on a new set of guidelines so there's greater scrutiny on who's selected for these awards."
"We need to have a better vetting process."
The rep tells us ... the national office is talking to the L.A. branch to find out exactly how Sterling even got on a list to be honored by the organization ... saying, "It was an unfortunate selection."
Still, it seems unfathomable that the national office would know nothing about the L.A. chapter's plans to honor such a controversial person ... especially given Sterling's reputation.
The lifetime achievement award is the highest honor the NAACP Gives Out ! Mr. Sterling had already received one from the L.A. chapter in 2009 — and he was about to get another, when his racist comments were captured on audio and broadcast. Yes A Job Well Do For Mr. Donald Sterling & Yes We Need To All Remember The US Constitution and The Bill of Rights & Freedom Of Speech Laws Etc.
However, Sterling responded to the charges against him on Tuesday. In his response he says that he will fight the NBA’a attempt to force him to sell the Clippers, and that he has received offers of more than $2.5 billion for the team, according to USA Today.
As ESPN reports, Sterling denies every allegation and charge made against him. He has asked that the June 3 hearing where the vote to terminate him will happen be dismissed. In his response he called the penalties “draconian” and the proceeding a “sham." Sterling has threatened to take legal action against the NBA if needed.
"I believe what they've done is illegal and it will not hold up in court," Sterling’s lawyer Max Blecher told ESPN. "I believe what they're doing is a blatant invasion of his constitutional rights because they're using a tape recording that he did not consent to, and under California law, that recording cannot be used for any purpose, for any proceeding.”
He added, “So if the basis of their case is illegal evidence, they don't have much of a case. ... The whole thing is a pile of garbage."
Here’s a timeline of the Sterling saga.
Donald Sterling’s controversial mistress Vanessa Stiviano has made headlines ever since the story broke about the LA Clippers owner’s racial audio rants. But who exactly is this sly woman? RumorFix is on a mission to find out.
Here’s what we know so far:
V. Stiviano is not her real name: Born in Texas, the 31-year-old’s real name is Maria Vanessa Perez, according to legal docs filed by Donald’s estranged wife Rochelle Sterling.
V. Stiviano leads a very glamorous life: Stiviano has a very active presence on Instagram and through her photographs it’s clear she leads a life of fame and fortune as her flicks show her scuba-diving in South Beach, attending fashion shows in Paris and New York, and attending A-list only award shows.
V. Stiviano doesn’t want to be known only as Donald’s side piece, because she has a lot more to offer: According to her social media accounts, Stiviano describes herself as an artist, lover, writer, chef, poet, stylist and philanthropist.
V. Stiviano is not a racist, unlike her sugar daddy (so Stiviano claims): The black and Mexican beauty legally changed her name n 2010 because she said she had not been “fully accepted because of my race.”
V. Stiviano has legal woes: Donald’s estranged wife, Rochelle, filed a lawsuit back in March against his mistress accusing her of cajoling her wealthy 80-year-old husband into giving her lavish gifts. These gifts included a Ferrari, two Bentleys, a Range Rover and a $1.4 million apartment.
V. Stiviano is keeping quiet … for now: The famous mistress stuck a sign on her front door at her Los Angeles apartment informing reporters to call her lawyer and she has “no comment.”
Donald Sterling was exposed by TMZ late last week as making alleged racial taped comments to his girlfriend Vanessa Stiviano and told Stiviano not to bring black people to games.
Donald Sterling contacted his ex-girlfriend Sunday and asked her flatly, "How can we make this go away?" ... sources connected with Sterling tell TMZ Sports.
Our sources say ... Sterling is keenly aware V. Stiviano is in possession of more than 100 hours of recordings ... some of which are extremely damaging to Sterling's reputation.
Our sources say Stiviano told Sterling to call her lawyer ... and thereby opened the door to settlement discussions. It's obvious the incentive for Sterling is to make sure the rest of the tapes never see the light of day.
TMZ Sports contacted Stiviano's lawyer Mac E. Nehoray ... who had no comment.
We know Stiviano is extremely upset that the Clippers and Donald Sterling publicly embraced a lawsuit filed by Sterling's wife Shelly against Stivianio, claiming she stole $1.8 million from Donald.
As for why Stiviano taped so many conversations ... as TMZ Sports reported, she told friends the Clippers owner WANTED her to record him and he knew he was being recorded ... partly because he frequently forgot what he said and the tapes refreshed his memory ... at least that's her story.
And this is interesting ... on Stiviano's Instagram page, she constantly tagged photos with "#RandomHouse" and "#Simon&Schuster" ... both large book publishing companies.
Sources connected with Stiviano tell us ... she IS in the process of writing a book "about life" -- but she insists it is not about Sterling.
'I love him like a father': V. Stiviano DENIES she had a sexual relationship with Donald Sterling in emotional sit down with Dr Phil
V. Stiviano talked about the nature of her relationship with Clippers owner Donald Sterling in an interview with Dr Phil which aired Wednesday
In the interview, Stiviano says she never had sex with Sterling and was paid 'under the table' as his personal assistant
In released recordings, Sterling talked about how much Stiviano loved sex and how they would have intercourse for hours
She revealed that she has never filled out a W-2 form during her employment with Sterling, casting doubt on whether she paid taxes
Sterling gave her several luxury cars and a $1.2million condo because she was a 'good human being'
Stiviano also talks about why she taped Sterling, saying she often used voice memos instead of taking written notes in their meetings
She was brought to tears when showed a clip of Sterling's interview with Anderson Cooper, and says she's 'hurt' Sterling thinks she released the tapes of his racist rant
Stiviano previously told Barbara Walters that she wears her signature visor to hide the 'pain', but confessed to Dr Phil that she also used it to protect her face since she recently had plastic surgery
Freedom of Speech The right, guaranteed by theFirst Amendmentto the U.S. Constitution, to express beliefs and ideas without unwarranted government restriction.
Democracies have long grappled with the issue of the limits, if any, to place on the expression of ideas and beliefs. The dilemma dates back at least to ancient Greece, when the Athenians, who cherished individual freedom, nevertheless prosecuted Socrates for his teachings, claiming that he had corrupted young people and insulted the gods.
The Framers of the Constitution guaranteed freedom of speech and expression to the citizens of the United States with the First Amendment, which reads, in part, "Congress shall make no law … abridging the freedom of speech." Almost since the adoption of the Bill of Rights, however, the judiciary has struggled to define speech and expression and the extent to which freedom of speech should be protected. Some, like Justice hugo l. black, have believed that freedom of speech is absolute. But most jurists, along with most U.S. citizens, agree with Justice oliver wendell holmes jr., who felt that the Constitution allows some restrictions on speech under certain circumstances. To illustrate this point, Holmes wrote, "The most stringent protection of free speech would not protect a man in falsely shouting fire in a theater and causing a panic" (schenck v. united states, 249 U.S. 47, 39 S. Ct. 247, 63 L. Ed. 470 ).
During the two centuries since the adoption of the First Amendment, the U.S. Supreme Court has held that some types of speech or expression may be regulated. At the same time, the Court has granted protection to some areas of expression that the Framers clearly had not contemplated.
April 9, 2014: Sterling's girlfriend, Vanessa Stiviano, records their conversations, in which Sterling tells Stiviano not to bring black friends to Clippers games, or post photos of her with black people (including NBA Hall of Famer Magic Johnson) on Instagram. In 2014
Full Transcript Of The Call Made 4/09/2014 Made To Girl friend Vanessa Stiviano
V. Stiviano Honey, I’m sorry.Donald Sterling I’m sorry too.
V. Stiviano I wish I could change the skin. The color of my skin.
Donald Sterling That isn’t the issue. You’ve missed this issue.
V. Stiviano What’s the issue?
Donald Sterling The issue is we don’t have to broadcast everything.
V. Stiviano I’m not broadcasting anything. I don’t do anything wrong.
Donald Sterling Nobody said you did anything wrong.
V. Stiviano I don’t do anything wrong. If we ever have any issues it’s because people call you and tell you things about me that are not true.
Donald Sterling Then why are you broadcasting? … And why are you taking pictures with minorities…why?
V. Stiviano What’s wrong with minorities? What’s wrong with black people?
Donald Sterling Nothing. Nothing.
V. Stiviano What’s wrong with Hispanics?
Donald Sterling It’s like talking to an enemy. There’s nothing wrong with minorities, they’re fabulous. Fabulous. Because you’re an enemy to me.
V. Stiviano Why?
Sterling Because you don’t understand.
V. Stiviano I don’t understand what?
Sterling Nothing. Nothing.
V. Stiviano That racism still is alive?
Sterling No, but there’s a culture. People feel certain things. Hispanics feel certain things towards blacks. Blacks feel certain things toward other groups. It’s been that way historically, and it will always be that way.
V. Stiviano But it’s not that way in my heart and in my mind.
Sterling But maybe you want to adjust to the world.
V. Stiviano But why if the world doesn’t do anything for me and they don’t make me happy?
Sterling You’re right. I don’t wanna argue with you. I don’t wanna argue.
V. Stiviano I can’t be racist in my heart.
Sterling And that’s good. I’m living in a culture, and I have to live within the culture. So that’s the way it is….You can’t be flexible. You can’t be flexible, you can’t–
V. Stiviano I am flexible. I understand that that’s the way you were raised, and that’s your culture. And I’m respectful and–
Donald Sterling Well why do have to disrespect them. Those are–
V. Stiviano Who am I disrespecting?
Donald Sterling The world before you.
V. Stiviano Why am I disrespecting them?
Donald Sterling By walking, and you’re perceived as either a Latina or a white girl. Why can’t you be walking publicly with black people? Why? Is there a benefit to you?
V. Stiviano Is it a benefit to me? Does it matter if they’re white or blue or yellow?
Donald Sterling I guess that you don’t know that. Maybe you’re stupid. Maybe you don’t know what people think of you. It does matter, yeah! It matters.
V. Stiviano Do you know that I’m mixed?
Donald Sterling No, I don’t know that.
V. Stiviano You know that I’m mixed.
Donald Sterling You told me you were going to remove those. You said, “Yes, I understand you.” I mean, you change from day to day. Wow. So painful. Wow.
V. Stiviano People call you and tell you that I have black people on my Instagram. And it bothers you.
Donald Sterling Yeah, it bothers me a lot that you want to broadcast that you’re associating with black people. Do you have to?
V. Stiviano You associate with black people.
Donald Sterling I’m not you, and you’re not me. You’re supposed to be a delicate white or a delicate Latina girl.
V. Stiviano I’m a mixed girl. And you’re in love with me. And I’m black and Mexican, whether you like it or not, whether the world accepts it or not. And you’re asking me to remove something that’s part of me and in my bloodstream because the world thinks different of me and you’re afraid of what they’re going to think see because of your upbringing? You want me to have hate towards black people?
Donald Sterling I don’t want you to have hate. That’s what people do, they turn things around. I want you to love them, privately. In your whole life, everyday, you can be with them. Every single day of your life.
V. Stiviano But not in public?
Donald Sterling But why publicize it on the Instagram and why bring it to my games?
V. Stiviano Why bring the black people to the games…I…
Donald Sterling I don’t think we need to discuss anymore. It’s over. I don’t wanna talk about it.
V. Stiviano I’m sorry that you feel that way.
Donald Sterling I feel that way so strongly, and it may cause our relationship to just break apart. And if it does, it does. It’s better to break apart now, than to break apart later.
V. Stiviano I’m sorry that you still have people around you that are full of racism and hate in their heart. I’m sorry that you’re still racist in your heart. I’m sorry that you live in a world that’s still–
Donald Sterling How about your whole life, everyday, you could whatever you want. You can sleep with them, 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.
V. Stiviano I don’t bring anyone to the games.
Donald Sterling Ok then, there’s nothing to argue about.
V. Stiviano I know.
Donald Sterling OK, we’ve got a big problem here…We’ve got a big problem. If you didn’t like someone that I was with I would stop seeing that person and…
V. Stiviano I’m sorry, I don’t have any more friends. What would you like me to do? Remove the skin color out of my skin?
Donald Sterling Is that a real issue or are you making something up?
V. Stiviano I mean, I just don’t understand what the issue is.
Donald Sterling There’s nothing wrong with you or your skin color. Why are you saying these things? To upset me?
V. Stiviano Sweetie, I’m sorry.
Donald Sterling I’m so sorry too. We made a giant mistake. Both of us. Everything you say to me is so painful. Do I want you to change the color of your skin? You really know how to hurt somebody, instead of saying, “I understand.”
V. Stiviano I don’t understand how you can have so much hate toward minorities.
Donald Sterling I don’t have any hate on nothing.
V. Stiviano How a person like you who’s elevated, who’s here still feels he’s above the world and you can’t even be seen with someone considered of a different skin color.
Donald Sterling They can be with me all day long and all night long.
V. Stiviano I can’t believe that a man who’s educated, a man who’s a scholar, a man–
Donald Sterling Well, believe it, and stop talking about it! You’re not making any good points. You can’t believe this man…that’s all I am. I’m not a good person in your eyes. If I was a good person, you wouldn’t say, “I can’t believe this, I can’t believe that.” Which are all lies. I love the black people.
V. Stiviano Look at all this negativity coming from–
Donald Sterling There is no negativity. I love everybody. I’m just saying, in your lousy fucking Instagrams, you don’t have to have yourself with, walking with black people. You don’t have to. If you want to, do it.
V. Stiviano If it’s white people it’s OK?
V. Stiviano If it was Larry Bird, would it have made a difference?
Donald Sterling You’re just a…big fighter. I can see — who would want to live with a woman like you? Who would want to live with a woman like you? All you ever wanted to do is fight. You’re a born fighter.
V. Stiviano I’m sorry that you’re mad.
Donald Sterling You have the worst mouth.
V. Stiviano Why are you so angry, honey? What’s wrong?
Donald Sterling Why would you bring up Larry Bird? What does he got to do with it? You can walk all night long with your sisters. Or you family.
V. Stiviano I saw someone I admire. I admire Magic Johnson.
Donald Sterling OK, good.
V. Stiviano I’m sorry.
Donald Sterling OK.
V. Stiviano He’s made a lot of changes for his community, for the world, for the people, for the minorities. He’s helped a lot of people.
Donald Sterling Why are you forcing this down my throat? I’m finished talking to you.
V. Stiviano And I took a picture with someone I admire. He happens to be black, and I’m sorry.
Donald Sterling I think that fact that you admire him — I’ve known him well, and he should be admired. And I’m just saying that it’s too bad you can’t admire him privately, and during YOUR ENTIRE FUCKING LIFE, your whole life, admire him, bring him here, feed him, fuck him, I don’t care. You can do anything. But don’t put him on an Instagram for the world to have to see so they have to call me. And don’t bring him to my games. OK?
V. Stiviano I don’t…I’ve never brought…I don’t know him personally.
Donald Sterling Please leave me alone. Please? Please?
V. Stiviano I’m sorry. Is there anything that I can do to make you feel better?
Donald Sterling No, you can never make me feel better.
California's wiretapping law is a "two-party consent" law. California makes it a crime to record or eavesdrop on any confidential communication, including a private conversation or telephone call, without the consent of all parties to the conversation. See Cal. Penal Code § 632. The statute applies to "confidential communications" -- i.e., conversations in which one of the parties has an objectively reasonable expectation that no one is listening in or overhearing the conversation. See Flanagan v. Flanagan, 41 P.3d 575, 576-77, 578-82 (Cal. 2002). A California appellate court has ruled that this statute applies to the use of hidden video cameras to record conversations as well. See California v. Gibbons, 215 Cal. App. 3d 1204 (Cal Ct. App. 1989).
If you are recording someone without their knowledge in a public or semi-public place like a street or restaurant, the person whom you're recording may or may not have "an objectively reasonable expectation that no one is listening in or overhearing the conversation," and the reasonableness of the expectation would depend on the particular factual circumstances. Therefore, you cannot necessarily assume that you are in the clear simply because you are in a public place.
If you are operating in California, you should always get the consent of all parties before recording any conversation that common sense tells you might be "private" or "confidential." In addition to subjecting you to criminal prosecution, violating the California wiretapping law can expose you to a civil lawsuit for damages by an injured party. See Cal. Penal Code § 637.2.
Consult The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press's Can We Tape?: California for more information on California wiretapping law. California Law on Recording Court Hearings and Public Meetings
In a California state courtroom, you may be able to use a recording device if specific requirements are met. Anyone may use an inconspicuous personal recording device for note-taking purposes with the advance permission of the judge. For photographing, recording (other than as above), or broadcasting a court proceeding, you must file official media coverage request forms. These forms must be filed with the court at least five days before the event to be covered. The court has broad discretion to grant or deny such requests based on a number of factors. See Rule 1.150 of the California Rules of Court for details.
Federal courts in California are part of the Ninth Circuit. In Ninth Circuit appellate proceedings, cameras and recording devices are permitted at the discretion of the presiding panel of judges. To get permission, you need to file an Application for Permission to Photograph, Record, or Broadcast from the Courtroom three days in advance, although the panel can waive the advance notice requirement. Recording devices and cameras generally are prohibited in federal district courts in California.
If you attend a public meeting (i.e., a meeting of a governmental body required to be open to the public by law) in California, you may make an audio or video recording unless the state or local body holding the meeting determines that the recording disrupts the proceedings by noise, illumination, or obstruction of view. Cal. Gov't Code § 11124.1(a); Cal Gov't Code §§ 54953.5(a),-.6.
Recording Phone Calls and Conversations If you plan to record telephone calls or in-person conversations (including by recording video that captures sound), you should be aware that there are federal and state wiretapping laws that may limit your ability to do so. These laws not only expose you to the risk of criminal prosecution, but also potentially give an injured party a civil claim for money damages against you.
From a legal standpoint, the most important question in the recording context is whether you must get consent from one or all of the parties to a phone call or conversation before recording it. Federal law and many state wiretapping statutes permit recording if one party (including you) to the phone call or conversation consents. Other states require that all parties to the communication consent.
Unfortunately, it is not always easy to tell which law applies to a communication, especially a phone call. For example, if you and the person you are recording are in different states, then it is difficult to say in advance whether federal or state law applies, and if state law applies which of the two (or more) relevant state laws will control the situation. Therefore, if you record a phone call with participants in more than one state, it is best to play it safe and get the consent of all parties. However, when you and the person you are recording are both located in the same state, then you can rely with greater certainty on the law of that state. In some states, this will mean that you can record with the consent of one party to the communication. In others, you will still need to get everyone's consent. For details on the wiretapping laws in the fifteen most populous U.S. states and the District of Columbia, see the State Law: Recording section. In any event, it never hurts to play it safe and get the consent of all parties to a phone call or conversation that you intend to record.
Who must give permission to record a telephone or in-person conversation?
Federal law permits recording telephone calls and in-person conversations with the consent of at least one of the parties. See 18 U.S.C. 2511(2)(d). This is called a "one-party consent" law. Under a one-party consent law, you can record a phone call or conversation so long as you are a party to the conversation. Furthermore, if you are not a party to the conversation, a "one-party consent" law will allow you to record the conversation or phone call so long as your source consents and has full knowledge that the communication will be recorded.
In addition to federal law, thirty-eight states and the District of Columbia have adopted "one-party consent" laws and permit individuals to record phone calls and conversations to which they are a party or when one party to the communication consents. See the State Law: Recording section of this legal guide for information on state wiretapping laws.
When must you get permission from everyone involved before recording?
Eleven states require the consent of every party to a phone call or conversation in order to make the recording lawful. These "two-party consent" laws have been adopted in California, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Montana, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania and Washington. (Notes: (1) Illinois' two-party consent statute was held unconstitutional in 2014; (2) Hawai'i is in general a one-party state, but requires two-party consent if the recording device is installed in a private place; (3) Massachusetts bans "secret" recordings rather than requiring explicit consent from all parties.). Although they are referred to as "two-party consent" laws, consent must be obtained from every party to a phone call or conversation if it involves more than two people. In some of these states, it might be enough if all parties to the call or conversation know that you are recording and proceed with the communication anyway, even if they do not voice explicit consent. See the State Law: Recording section of this legal guide for information on specific states' wiretapping laws.
Can you record a phone call or conversation when you do not have consent from one of the parties?
Regardless of whether state or federal law governs the situation, it is almost always illegal to record a phone call or private conversation to which you are not a party, do not have consent from at least one party, and could not naturally overhear. In addition, federal and many state laws do not permit you to surreptitiously place a bug or recording device on a person or telephone, in a home, office or restaurant to secretly record a conversation between two people who have not consented.
Federal law and most state statutes also make disclosing the contents of an illegally intercepted telephone call illegal. See the section on Risks Associated with Publication in this guide for more information.
What if you are recording the activities of the police or other government officials in public?
Special considerations apply when recording police officers or other public officials. You may have a constitutional right to openly record the activities of police and other officials in public, so long as you do not interfere with those activities or violate generally applicable laws. For more information, see the section on Recording Police Officers and Public Officials.
Full transcript: Donald Sterling’s interview with CNN’s Anderson Cooper
Transcript courtesy of CNN’s Anderson Cooper 360°.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: So, did that recording capture the real Donald Sterling, or was he being set up?
He has very strong opinions on that, as he tried to answer the fundamental question, is he a racist?
DONALD STERLING, OWNER, LOS ANGELES CLIPPERS: I’m not a racist.
I made a terrible, terrible mistake. And I’m here with you today to apologize and to ask for forgiveness for all the people that I have hurt. And I have hurt so many people, so many innocent people.
And I have hurt myself. You know, I spoke to a girl that I was fond of. And I don’t know why I can never — when I listen to that tape, I don’t even know how I could say words like that.
I’m not a racist. I love people. I always have. But those words came out of my mouth, I guess. And I’m so sorry. And I’m so apologetic.
COOPER: What are you sorry about?
STERLING: Well, I’m sorry that so many people are hurt.
My little grandchild goes to a Catholic nursery. And they were passing around candy to everybody. When they got to her, they said, “We don’t give candy to racists,” 7 to 9.
So it hurts me.
I hurt my ex-wife. She is a beautiful person. She goes to the hospital, and she’s a volunteer at Cedars-Sinai. When I went to law school, she worked at the children’s hospital. She’s a giver. She works. At this stage in her life, she still works. She didn’t need this. Her whole life blew up.
COOPER: Are you talking about Shelly?
STERLING: Shelly, yes.
I never dreamt that this could happen. It’s a terrible, terrible nightmare.
COOPER: Let me ask you. Let’s start about talking about the tape.
Did you know you were being recorded?
STERLING: No, of course not. Of course not, no.
COOPER: Do you know when it was recorded? Were you together in a room with V. Stiviano?
STERLING: Yes. Well, I remember some of the dialogue in a living room. I don’t know when.
COOPER: So, it was just you and her in the room?
STERLING: And just the two of us, yes.
COOPER: You — so you didn’t know she was recording or there was a recording device?
STERLING: No, I didn’t know she was recording. And she was talking so strange, all of the sudden about politics.
But I want to explain a couple things that I said. One of the things that I said was, don’t bring blacks to my game. Well, there’s 25 percent of my whole game are black people. And I love them.
She would always use the word black. “That’s a black girl. That’s a black guy. This is black. That is black.”
So, when she said to me, “I’m going to bring four gorgeous black guys to the game,” players she was referring to, either football or basketball, I was a little jealous, maybe. And I –
COOPER: When did she say that?
STERLING: Just — just before. And I said to her, don’t bring them to the game, because of my jealousy.
I mean, in any event, she never brought anybody to the game. It was like she was baiting me just to say things.
COOPER: So, you’re saying she, before the recording that we heard, she had said she was going to bring four black players, and she specifically said black players?
COOPER: And you’re saying that’s what this conversation sparked from, stemmed from?
And so I used her words. I mean, I really have to apologize to all the people that have been hurt. For them to hear that I — that I’m a possible racist is so painful to me, because I’m not a racist, and I have never been a racist. It’s not me.
COOPER: When you saw them take off their — wear their warmup jerseys reversed, so that the name Clippers wasn’t on in that first game, what did you think?
STERLING: I really didn’t pay attention to that. They are Clippers. And they are mine, and I’m theirs. That’s how I feel.
I would do anything for them. I made a mistake. I hope it’s in their heart to forgive me for that mistake.
COOPER: When you say that “they’re mine” –
STERLING: I didn’t mean it. I said a few words. I don’t know why the girl had me say those things.
COOPER: You’re saying you were set up.
STERLING: Well, yes. I was baited. I mean, that’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.
COOPER: Do you know how the tape got released?
COOPER: Do you think she did it?
STERLING: It’s — I don’t know.
I mean, I — an 80-year-old man is kind of foolish. And I’m kind of foolish. I thought she liked me and really cared for me. I guess being 50 years, 51 years over — older than her, I was deluding myself.
COOPER: Were you in a relationship with her, an intimate relationship?
STERLING: Well, I don’t know what you mean by intimate.
COOPER: She says you weren’t. She told Barbara Walters that you were not.
STERLING: Well —
COOPER: That she is your protector, she’s your right hand.
STERLING: I don’t think a gentleman should discuss his — any of the personal items that go on with a woman. And I don’t want to answer that particular question.
COOPER: Do you trust her? Do you trust her now?
STERLING: No, I don’t trust her.
And I just wish I could ask her why and if she was just setting me up. I think that people say she was taping me for two years. So, maybe I was just fooling myself thinking for two years that she cared for me. She certainly acted like it.
COOPER: Her lawyer had made a statement that she was your archivist.
STERLING: What does that mean?
COOPER: That –
STERLING: I mean, too young for archives.
COOPER: You don’t want to have your story written just yet?
COOPER: So, you didn’t know the tape was being made. When you first heard that the tape was released, did you automatically remember making those statements?
STERLING: No. No.
COOPER: She — a lawyer of hers claims that she gave some of the recordings to friends, and that one of the friends sold it to TMZ. Do you believe that?
STERLING: I really don’t know.
I don’t really want to talk about her. I want to talk about me and the mistakes that I made. And I want to correct them.
COOPER: OK. Well, let’s talk about you then. Let’s talk about the tape itself.
STERLING: Because –
COOPER: Let’s talk about the actual statements.
STERLING: I’m responsible.
I wanted to apologize also to my partners. I have 29 partners in a league that’s a wonderful league. I respect them. And I love every owner. Every owner knows me. I love the commissioner.
I’m sure that it’s — it’s terribly difficult for him to impose severe punishment, because he knows me so well. But here he is trying his best.
The league actually believes in doing everything in their power to eliminate it, you know, racism. And, here, he’s sitting there behind his desk, I guess, and this explosion comes on his desk. And I feel bad that I caused it.
COOPER: Well, we’re going to talk a lot more about the league’s reaction.
Something I pressed Donald Sterling on was his claim that it wasn’t about race; he was just jealous that this woman he was interested in was bringing other guys to games.
I pointed out that, on the recordings, he doesn’t say “other guys.” He specifically says “black guys.”
We will hear his response to that next.
And, later, something we did not expect: Sterling comments about why Magic Johnson is, in Sterling’s opinion, no role model.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
STERLING: I just don’t think he is a good example for the children of Los Angeles, that he would go and do what he did and then get AIDS. I mean, come on.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: This is the first time that Donald Sterling has spoken publicly on the record since he was banned from the NBA for making racist comments.
In Sterling’s analysis, he’s not a racist; he was just jealous because the woman he was interested in was bringing other guys to the games.
That also seemed to be his defense in a phone call that was released to Radar Online last week.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
STERLING: What the hell? I’m talking to a girl. The girl is black. I like her. I’m jealous that she’s with other black guys. I want her.
So, what the hell? Can I tell her in private, you know, I don’t want you to be with anybody else?
(END AUDIO CLIP)
COOPER: I wanted to hear more from Sterling about this idea that it was jealousy, not racism, that motivated him.
Take a listen.
COOPER: Here’s what I don’t understand.
I get you were saying you were jealous, you didn’t want her being seen with other guys. You didn’t want her being –
STERLING: Not — not seen.
COOPER: You didn’t want her being photographed, photographed with other guys. You thought she was kind of throwing it in your face.
That seems to be what you’re saying.
STERLING: Did you ever like a girl or were you ever jealous of her a little bit if she was with other guys? It isn’t that I didn’t want her to be photographed or I didn’t want her — I don’t know where photographs —
COOPER: But you were jealous?
STERLING: — go into it.
I admit I was jealous. And it was stupid.
COOPER: The thing is, though, what you were saying wasn’t, I don’t want you to be seen with other guys. You were saying, I don’t want you seen with black guys.
STERLING: Because she used the word black guys. “I’m bringing some gorgeous black guys.”
COOPER: But, in the tape, you’re the one who bring — brings up — you say that friends of yours are calling you up, saying — telling her she’s bringing black guys to the games. You say — and let me just read you, so you can respond.
STERLING: But it’s all –
STERLING: It’s convoluted.
COOPER: She says, “Then why are you taking” — you say, “Why are you taking pictures with minorities? Why?”
Later on, you say: “It bothers me a lot you want to broadcast you’re associating with black people. Do you have to?”
And she says, “You associate with black people.”
He says: “I’m not you. You’re not me. You’re supposed to be a delicate white or delicate Latino girl.”
The question then is, why does being seen with a black guy not make her a delicate white or delicate Latino girl?
STERLING: I can’t explain some of the stupid, foolish, uneducated words that I uttered. I don’t know.
You know, you start. You get upset and you say things.
COOPER: One other thing you said, you said: “I’m just saying, in your lousy ‘expletive’ Instagrams, you don’t have to have yourself walking with black people. You don’t have to. If you want to, do it.”
If you –
STERLING: It doesn’t make sense. I don’t care. I didn’t care.
COOPER: Would it have been OK with you if she was bringing a white person to a game?
STERLING: She brought — she had four seats. She brought a lot of people.
I don’t understand why in the world I had — I said any of those stupid, uneducated remarks, because I really don’t care who she brought to the game. I was more interested in the game. I was a little jealous, I have to admit.
But I don’t know — I don’t know why I said stupid things.
COOPER: For a lot of people, though, these comments that were caught on tape do echo other charges that have been made in the past, as you know, by Elgin Baylor, in other lawsuits.
STERLING: No, no, no, no, no. You’re trying to connect them.
COOPER: No, I’m not.
STERLING: Elgin Baylor has nothing to do with — with — what the things I said 20 years later.
COOPER: Well —
STERLING: What did it have to do?
COOPER: Well, Elgin Baylor made a claim that you had a plantation mentality.
STERLING: Well —
COOPER: And then, now, in this thing, you’re saying you feed these guys who –
STERLING: I think you have more of a plantation mentality than I do.
You know what? And I think you’re more of a racist than I am.
COOPER: How so?
STERLING: Because I’m not a racist, and I have never been a racist, and I will never be a racist.
I don’t know what that means to have a mentality. You’re asking me about questions. What do you mean a mentality?
COOPER: Well, to have a plantation mentality is to feel like you own these guys, they are working for you.
STERLING: Well, do I — do I own them?
COOPER: I don’t know.
STERLING: My players earn $100 million a year. Do I own them?
COOPER: But, in this tape, you’re saying –
STERLING: Some of them own $50 million a year.
COOPER: In this tape, you’re saying: “I support them. I give them food and clothes and cars and houses.”
STERLING: Well, I think I create opportunities for them, so they can make $100 million.
I don’t give them anything, believe me. And those players could get that same amount of money anywhere else.
COOPER: You acknowledge they earn that?
STERLING: Of course they earn it. And they work harder than any other sport.
COOPER: Well, Donald Sterling says that he has tons of support. He says the players still love him, and it’s just the media that wants him out of the NBA.
We will have that part of the interview next.
And, later, this is probably the most surprising part of our conversation, Donald Sterling — Sterling pretty much trashing Magic Johnson.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
STERLING: What has he done? Can you tell me? Big Magic Johnson, what has he done?
COOPER: Well, he has — he’s a businessperson. He –
STERLING: He’s got AIDS. Did he do any business? I would like — did he help anybody in South L.A.?
COOPER: In the opinion of Donald Sterling, it seems, his downfall is a big result of the media. He told me that the players still love him, he has tons of support, he says, and that the NBA doesn’t necessarily want him out.
The question is, is he in denial? You can decide that for yourself.
Here’s how Sterling responded when I pointed out that the players on his team say they do not want to work for him.
D. STERLING: Let me just say that I apologized to the league.
People want me to hire a wall of lawyers and them to have to hire a wall of lawyers and go to war. I don’t think that’s the answer.
COOPER: So, what is — what are you going to do?
D. STERLING: I think the answer is, the league is a good league, all honest people. And I think that whatever they decide that has to be done, I think I should work with them and do it.
COOPER: Well, the NBA says they want you out. Are you willing to give up ownership of the Clippers?
D. STERLING: Well, I’m not sure that’s what they want.
COOPER: That is what they want.
D. STERLING: Well, that’s your opinion, and that’s what the media says.
I’m a good owner. I have a good team. There are people that want to buy my team, but because the media says that the owner want me out doesn’t mean that they want me out.
COOPER: Have you talked to any of the owners, any of the other owners?
D. STERLING: I have talked to some of the owners.
COOPER: Have any of them supported you and said that they don’t want you out?
D. STERLING: Of course they support me. They can’t understand why I would say that. I can’t understand why I would say that.
COOPER: You’re saying there are some owners of NBA teams who want you to remain the owner of the Clippers?
D. STERLING: I don’t speak for the league or for the owners. They speak for themselves.
COOPER: But have any owners told you that?
D. STERLING: I didn’t ask them. I have — I embarrassed the league. I humiliated them. I don’t know how, why I did it. I mean, it’s so terrible. And I just…
COOPER: So, you don’t believe, though, that the owners would vote to have you removed as owner?
D. STERLING: I don’t think so. I don’t think so.
COOPER: If they did, would you fight that in court?
D. STERLING: We’re not there yet, so why should I, you know, address that issue?
COOPER: You haven’t thought about it?
D. STERLING: I don’t want to fight with my partners, you know?
We all what we have to do in life.
D. STERLING: I love them and I respect them. And whatever their decision is with regard to the disposition of my terrible words, then I have to do it, I think.
The players don’t hate me. The sponsors don’t hate me.
COOPER: You don’t believe the players…
D. STERLING: The fans don’t hate me. The media hates. The media — it’s all the media pushing it. I mean…
COOPER: You really — honestly, you really believe that it’s just the media?
D. STERLING: I believe it 100 percent. I believe it 100 percent.
People call me by the thousands and give me support.
COOPER: You don’t think players…
D. STERLING: They don’t say I should have said that.
COOPER: You don’t think the players don’t like you? When the Clippers, when your team took off — reversed their…
D. STERLING: Why wouldn’t they like me, when I’m respectful and I treat them with respect?
COOPER: When they reversed their jerseys and didn’t wear the name and they wore black socks?
D. STERLING: Well, if one does it, then the others have to do it.
COOPER: You think it was just pressure?
D. STERLING: Well, what do you think? Do you think they all are going to walk off the team? They’re all going to — what, they’re all — I mean, can any of us just stop working? We all have to work. We all have to earn a living. We all have bills. We may work for an employer we don’t love. I contend that they love me.
COOPER: You think they still love you?
D. STERLING: I do. I do.
COOPER: You believe the players of the Los Angeles Clippers…
D. STERLING: Absolutely. They know I’m not a racist.
And I’m not a racist.
COOPER: Why haven’t they come forward and said that?
D. STERLING: Well, you see, people are intimidated by even the thought of racism.
And around the world, and this — they call me from Australia, or from London, and they ask me, different media, are you a racist? I’m not a racist.
COOPER: Well, Sterling’s estranged wife certainly hopes to keep her 50 percent stake in the team, so the future of the Clippers ownership is still very much in flux. Shelly Sterling has also broken her silence in an interview with Barbara Walters.
She gave her take on whether her estranged husband is a racist and how she felt when she heard the recordings of him speaking with V. Stiviano.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SHELLY STERLING, WIFE OF DONALD STERLING: It was horrible when I heard it. I mean, it was just degrading.
And it made me sick to hear it. But, as far as a racist, I don’t really think he’s a racist.
BARBARA WALTERS, ABC NEWS: Have you discussed these remarks at all with your husband?
S. STERLING: He saw the tape, and he said: “I don’t remember saying that. I don’t remember ever saying those things.”
WALTERS: What did you think then?
S. STERLING: That’s when I thought he has dementia.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Well, I spoke with Donald Sterling for more than an hour, as I said.
And that certainly doesn’t make me an expert on his mental state, but he did not strike me as someone who is suffering from dementia. Obviously, you need to know somebody for a long time to see early-onset dementia. But Donald Sterling, without counsel there, without a P.R. team there, clearly had things he wanted to say.
During the interview, he was very present. If I skipped around on questions, he would sometimes come back to questions I asked so he could finish his answers. Certainly, if he had clear signs of dementia, we would be — it’s not something I would allow an interview to go forward with.
Up next: what Donald Sterling said to me about Magic Johnson. Instead of trying to soften any of his previous comments about the L.A. Lakers legend, he amped up his attacks, crossing a line that will no doubt spark new outrage.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
D. STERLING: What kind of a guy goes to every city, he has sex with every girl, then he catches HIV and — is that someone we want to respect and tell our kids about? I think he should be ashamed of himself. I think he should go into the background. But what does he do for the black people? Doesn’t do anything.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: We’re back with my exclusive interview with Donald Sterling, the first time he’s talked since he was banned for life from the NBA for making racist comments.
Now, so far, you have heard him say repeatedly that he’s sorry. You have also heard him say he was baited to make those comments.
He told me — quote — “I don’t know why the girl had me say those things,” as if he had no control over his own words.
We will let you decide what to make of all of that.
Just after the story broke last month, Magic Johnson tweeted that he and his wife, Cookie, will never go a Clippers game again as long as Donald Sterling is the owner.
As you know, in the recordings of Sterling’s rant, he berated V. Stiviano for being seen with the L.A. Lakers legend.
In our interview, Sterling bashed Magic Johnson again. I’m not — and I’m sure that what he said will be deeply offensive to many people.
COOPER: Magic Johnson, you know, has made a public comment. What — do you have something to say to him?
D. STERLING: What could I say to him? He — it doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter.
I’m hurt, but it doesn’t matter.
COOPER: You’re hurt that he — that he said — that he spoke out publicly?
D. STERLING: I’m hurt that he called me up and he said: “Don’t do anything. Wait until you hear from me.”
Then somebody called me later and said, he doesn’t want to be involved. And then he released the tape that I sent to him, that I talked to him in confidence.
I — I don’t — I didn’t give any interviews. You are my interview. I’m deciding if I like you.
No, but I — here is a man who is — I don’t know if I say this. He acts so holy. I mean, 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 I prayed for him. I hoped he could live and be well.
I didn’t criticize him. I could have. Is he an example for children? You know, because he has money, he’s able to treat himself.
But Magic Johnson is irrelevant in this thing. He didn’t do anything harmful to anybody. And I respect him. And I admire everything that he does.
You know, I would like to help even more if he would offer me an opportunity to help. I like to help minorities.
COOPER: Magic Johnson had said that he would never attend a game while you were owner. Apparently, he showed up to a game today.
D. STERLING: He would never what?
COOPER: Attend a Clippers game as long as you were owner, and he came today to see the game.
D. STERLING: He’s there at the game?
D. STERLING: I don’t think it’s worthy of me even discussing. Such a stupid remark.
But he lulled me into waiting a week. Do you know what I mean? He says, “Don’t do anything.”
COOPER: He told you — you’re saying he told you not to say anything?
D. STERLING: Yes: “Don’t do anything. I know the girl. Don’t do anything. I will help you.”
I’m waiting and I’m waiting and I’m waiting.
COOPER: What you’re saying is, Magic Johnson called you up, or you called him up?
D. STERLING: I don’t know his phone number.
COOPER: He called you up when the tape broke?
D. STERLING: Yes. I don’t call anybody.
COOPER: He called you up?
D. STERLING: I’m loyal to you.
COOPER: He called you up when the tape came out and he told you not to say anything?
D. STERLING: Yes.
COOPER: Why did he say, don’t say anything?
D. STERLING: He just said: “Wait. Be patient. I will help you. We will — we will work it out.”
COOPER: Why do you think he said that?
D. STERLING: I think he wanted me just to do nothing, so he could buy the team.
He thought maybe the whole thing would be resolved in two weeks.
What has he done? Can you tell me? Big Magic Johnson, what has he done?
COOPER: Well, he has — he’s a businessperson. He…
D. STERLING: He’s got AIDS. Did he do any business? I would like — did he help anybody in South L.A.?
COOPER: Well, I think he has HIV. He doesn’t actually have full-blown AIDS, but…
D. STERLING: Well, what kind of a guy goes to every city, he has sex with every girl, then he catches HIV and — is that someone we want to respect and tell our kids about? I think he should be ashamed of himself. I think he should go into the background.
But what does he do for the black people? Doesn’t do anything.
You call up and say — well…
COOPER: He’s opened a lot of businesses in inner-city neighborhoods.
D. STERLING: The Jewish people — 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.
D. STERLING: I’m just telling you, he does nothing. It’s all talk.
COOPER: So, you’re saying that African-Americans don’t contribute to their — to African-American communities as much as Jewish people do?
D. STERLING: There’s no African-American — never mind. I’m sorry.
You know, I — they all want to play golf with me. They — everybody wants to be with me.
COOPER: By the way Magic Johnson has a foundation that’s been around 20 years that has raised millions of dollars for HIV/AIDS awareness and other things that we will tell you about — a little bit more about later on this hour.
And, as you just saw, Sterling stopped himself before he finished that thought about African-Americans.
Earlier in the interview, though, he made it clear what he thinks on the subject of charitable works, his own and those of African-Americans. And like the part you just heard, it started when I asked him about his relationship with Magic Johnson.
COOPER: You have talked to him?
D. STERLING: Twice, and then — yes. He’s…
COOPER: Did you apologize to him?
D. STERLING: He knew the girl, he said. He knew the girl well. He…
COOPER: Did you apologize to him, or…
D. STERLING: Well, if I said anything wrong, I’m sorry.
He’s a good person, and he — what am I going to say? Has he done everything he can do to help minorities? I don’t think so.
But I will say it. I will say it. You know, he’s great. But I just don’t think he is a good example for the children of Los Angeles, that he would go and do what he did and then get AIDS. I mean, come on.
Maybe he doesn’t think I could be a good owner. I remember when he came from Detroit. He came to my house. You know, he was a great player, great player. But what — I would like to know exactly what he’s — what does he do? He works with the Dodgers.
COOPER: Well, he’s got a business. He owns movie theaters.
D. STERLING: Do you know what I do? I spend millions on giving away and helping minorities.
Does he do that? That’s one problem I have. Jews, when they get successful, they will help their people. And some of the African-Americans — maybe I will get in trouble again — they don’t want to help anybody.
What has Magic Johnson really done for children’s hospital, which kids are lying in the hallways? They are sick. They need a bed. What has he done for any hospital? What has he done for any group? I don’t know. Maybe he’s done a lot. I know he’s successful in business. But I’m not interested in business any more at all. I’m interested in helping people.
COOPER: But you are interested in business. You are interested in maintaining ownership of the Clippers. That’s…
D. STERLING: Well…
COOPER: That’s business.
D. STERLING: Well, that’s — that’s under control.
COOPER: You could take — you could take hundreds of millions of dollars from the sale of the team and help whoever you wanted with that money.
D. STERLING: And maybe I will do that.
COOPER: Well, a lot more on the facts, actual facts, about Magic Johnson’s track record of giving back.
Just for the record, his charity, the Magic Johnson Foundation, which he founded in 1991, gets high ratings from Charity Navigator. It currently has four stars, the best rating possible. The foundation provides funds, HIV/AIDS awareness, testing and treatment, as well as scholarships and mentoring for minority students and other support ethnically diverse urban communities. It’s spent many millions of dollars on these programs over the last 20 years.
And as chairman and CEO of Magic Johnson Enterprises, I should point out, Johnson has also invested heavily, again, millions, in underserved urban communities. Apparently, Donald Sterling does not know those facts.
COOPER: More now of my exclusive interview with Donald Sterling.
Earlier, you heard the embattled L.A. Clippers owner tell me that he thinks he was set up, baited to make the racist comments that got him banned for life from the NBA, baited by the woman he refers to repeatedly as “the girl,” 31-year-old V. Stiviano, who recorded the conversation during an argument, according to TMZ, which posted the recording.
She’s a mystery figure of sorts in this drama, possibly because, more than not, when she’s in public, she’s wearing this very awesome full-face visor.
Her exact relationship with the 80-year-old billionaire unclear, her motivations for making the tape also uncertain. There’s plenty of, well, speculation about it. In an interview with Barbara Walters, Stiviano says she doesn’t think Sterling is racist. She described him as a kind and generous man.
When we talked about her, instead of harsh words, he talked how much she had hurt him.
COOPER: Did you say to somebody that you should have paid V. Stiviano off?
D. STERLING: No.
COOPER: Did she ask you for money? Do you believe she was trying to extort money from you in any way?
D. STERLING: You know, forgive me for saying this, but she — she is a good person. She is a beautiful person.
There’s 15 of her, 15 children, 15 Hispanic kids, sisters and brothers, and she supports them all. Perhaps she’s made some mistakes. I thought she cared for me. I was stupid.
How could a girl care for a man 51 years older? She didn’t, or she wouldn’t have released those tapes. But she’s not a bad person. She has to survive. She — she’s a street person. But, inside, she’s a good person.
COOPER: You still think she’s a good person?
D. STERLING: But she’s not relevant to this conversation.
D. STERLING: I don’t know why she did what she did. I wish God would tell me.
But whatever she did, good or bad, I’m the guilty one for uttering those terrible, ugly words that I don’t mean.
I made such a mistake. I thought that woman really cared for me. But thank God this has all come to the light, because it could have been worse, and she could have — I don’t know what she wants. I don’t know how it happened.
COOPER: She told Barbara Walters that there’s other tapes, there’s other recordings out there.
D. STERLING: They say there are 100.
COOPER: Do you believe there are other things you have said which — which you might regret?
D. STERLING: I don’t know what she baited me to say.
COOPER: Do you have the sense that she was wanting money from you, more money than you have already given her?
D. STERLING: I used to think I understood women. I don’t think I do anymore. I don’t know.
I don’t know why she released it. She never said what you just said.
COOPER: She never directly asked for money?
D. STERLING: Pardon me?
COOPER: She never directly asked for money or extorted money?
D. STERLING: No.
You know, if I can really be honest, this girl, a hundred men could look at her and perhaps they wouldn’t even think she’s pretty. But she was something special.
And the point that I’m making is, she was a woman who really never asked for anything. She had a way of walking by a Neiman Marcus and looking in the window and saying, “Sweetie, do you think that that dress is beautiful?” And if you’re a man, you would not want to go buy the dress?
COOPER: You gave her multiple cars, an apartment. You were very generous to her.
D. STERLING: I was generous. I wouldn’t cover that with you.
But some women who are — she was so nice and so sweet for the two years. I just — I just couldn’t believe she was so sweet and so nice. And she never really asked for — she tried to help her family, the 15 people. What a job. But…
COOPER: It sounds like you’re still sympathetic toward her.
D. STERLING: I just would like to know why she did it. It’s like a woman stabbing you in the chest or shooting you.
And, sometimes, women say, “I love — I love him,” and they kill him.
ADAM SILVER: Shortly after the release of an audio recording this past Saturday morning of a conversation that allegedly included Clippers owner Donald Sterling, the NBA commenced an investigation, which among other things, included an interview of Mr. Sterling.
That investigation is now complete. The central findings of the investigation are that the man whose voice is heard on the recording and on a second recording from the same conversation that was released on Sunday is Mr. Sterling and that the hateful opinions voiced by that man are those of Mr. Sterling.
The views expressed by Mr. Sterling are deeply offensive and harmful; that they came from an NBA owner only heightens the damage and my personal outrage.
Sentiments of this kind are contrary to the principles of inclusion and respect that form the foundation of our diverse, multicultural and multiethnic league.
I am personally distraught that the views expressed by Mr. Sterling came from within an institution that has historically taken such a leadership role in matters of race relations and caused current and former players, coaches, fans and partners of the NBA to question their very association with the league.
To them, and pioneers of the game like Earl Lloyd, Chuck Cooper, Sweetwater Clifton, the great Bill Russell, and particularly Magic Johnson, I apologize. Accordingly, effective immediately, I am banning Mr. Sterling for life from any association with the Clippers organization or the NBA. Mr. Sterling may not attend any NBA games or practices. He may not be present at any Clippers facility, and he may not participate in any business or player personnel decisions involving the team.
He will also be barred from attending NBA Board of Governors meetings or participating in any other league activity.
I am also fining Mr. Sterling $2.5 million, the maximum amount allowed under the NBA constitution. These funds will be donated to organizations dedicated to anti discrimination and tolerance efforts that will be jointly selected by the NBA and its Players Association.
As for Mr. Sterling's ownership interest in the Clippers, I will urge the Board of Governors to exercise its authority to force a sale of the team and will do everything in my power to ensure that that happens. This has been a painful moment for all members of the NBA family. I appreciate the support and understanding of our players during this process, and I am particularly grateful for the leadership shown by Coach Doc Rivers, Union President Chris Paul and Mayor Kevin Johnson of Sacramento, who has been acting as the players' representative in this matter.
We stand together in condemning Mr. Sterling's views. They simply have no place in the NBA.
Thank you, and I'll take any questions.
Q. Do you or any of your emissaries have any clue as to whether Mr. Sterling will acquiesce to your wishes to sell the team, or do you expect a fight? ADAM SILVER: I have no idea.
Q. From polling the owners that you've spoken to, what support do you think you have to force Mr. Sterling to sell the team?
ADAM SILVER: I didn't poll the owners. I spoke to several owners, and I have their full support.
Q. What kind of authority do they have to force a sale?
ADAM SILVER: The owners have the authority subject to three quarters vote of the ownership group, of the partners, to remove him as an owner.
Q. The word you used specifically was outrage. You said that you were personally outraged, yet many people believe that they are outraged that for years people have known that this man is a racist slumlord and the NBA hasn't done anything until today. Can you please answer why.
ADAM SILVER: I can't speak to past actions other than to say that when specific evidence was brought to the NBA, we acted.
Q. Should someone lose their team for remarks shared in private as this is a slippery slope?
ADAM SILVER: Whether or not these remarks were initially shared in private, they are now public, and they represent his views.
Q. What was the process to coming to this decision over the last couple days, and when did you decide that this was the appropriate action to take?
ADAM SILVER: I ultimately decided this morning that this was the appropriate action, and the process beginning Saturday morning when this tape was first released was to appoint an investigator. It was David Anders from the Wachtell Lipton firm. He conducted a series of interviews, some by phone, some in person. He concluded his investigation late last night.
Q. Adam, you said you would encourage owners to force the sale of the Clippers. When will that action take place?
ADAM SILVER: The process will begin immediately. We will most likely use a standing committee of the NBA. The equivalent of our executive committee is our advisory finance committee. I've had several discussions with Glen Taylor, who is our chairman of the board and also the leader of the advisory finance committee, and we will begin that process immediately.
Q. In your conversations with Sterling, did he own up to this immediately? Was it only after you guys had come up with some sort of proof? And what, if anything, has he expressed approaching remorse, regret, anything? What's his sentiment at this point?
ADAM SILVER: Mr. Sterling acknowledged it was his voice on the tape, and he has not expressed to me directly any other views.
Q. What message do you have for the Clippers and their fans and their fan base in terms of moving forward from this point on?
ADAM SILVER: My message to the Clippers fans is this league is far bigger than any one owner, any one coach, any one player. This institution has been around for a long time, and it will stand for a long time, and I have complete confidence in Doc Rivers, in the basketball management of that club, and the players deserve their support. They've just been through an incredibly difficult incident in their lives.
Q. Was the punishment designed in effect to get the message across to Mr. Sterling that there's no point in him there's no advantage, nothing to be gained from him continuing his ownership? And also in determining what the punishment would be, including the suggestion to the Board of Governors, did you take into account Mr. Sterling's past behavior, or was it just based on this one particular incident? ADAM SILVER: In meting out this punishment we did not take into account his past behavior. When the board ultimately considers his overall fitness to be an owner in the NBA, they will take into account a lifetime of behavior.
Q. Adam, could you just explain or lay out for us what specific power in the constitution and bylaws you exercised with your ban, and what specific was it a broad violation or a specific violation, and with respect to the forced sale, what specific section of the constitution covers that, and is that a broad violation or a specific one?
ADAM SILVER: I'll let the lawyers lay out for you the specific provisions of our constitution. Let's just leave it that we have the authority to act as I've recommended.
Q. Is the NBA considering more African American ownership at this point?
ADAM SILVER: We're always open to ownership from people of all races, nationalities, ethnicities. As you know we have an African American primary owner in the league right now. Shaquille O'Neal just became a small owner of the Sacramento Kings. David Robinson is an owner of the San Antonio Spurs. Vivek Ranadive, a person of color born in Mumbai, India, just became the primary owner of the Sacramento Kings. So I believe we have a very diverse league, but I'd always like to see it become more diverse.
Q. What about Magic Johnson? Is that an option at this point?
ADAM SILVER: Magic Johnson knows he's always welcome as an owner in this league. He's been a part owner in the past of the Los Angeles Lakers, and he's always welcome and a close friend of the NBA family.
Q. Did you talk to any of the players before you came to this decision? And what about Clippers' players; if they do not want to play for a team owned by Donald Sterling anymore, do they have any recourse?
ADAM SILVER: I talked to several players before rendering my decision. Coincidentally I'd had a trip planned for this weekend. I was in Memphis for a game. I was in Oakland, and then I was in Portland Sunday night for games. I had a chance to talk directly to Chris Paul. I spoke to other members of the team. I spoke extensively to Doc Rivers, and as I said, Kevin Johnson has been representing the players' interests, and he and I have been talking multiple times a day.
So I believe the players will be satisfied with the decision and the renderings that we've made today. If a player in the future doesn't want to play for the Los Angeles Clippers and he's under contract, we'll deal with that when it happens. But that's not my sense of where we are right now.
Q. Will this situation cause you moving forward to put new rules in place for owners from the NBA?
ADAM SILVER: I'm not sure. I mean, we're always willing to take a fresh look at our rules, our constitution and bylaws, but I believe we have appropriate rules in place right now to cover a situation like this.
Q. Just to be clear, you said when specific evidence was brought to the league you did act. In past cases, has Donald Sterling ever been fined or suspended for racial or offensive remarks, and if not, why not?
ADAM SILVER: He's never been suspended or fined by the league because while there have been well documented rumors and cases filed, he was sued and the plaintiff lost the lawsuit. That was Elgin Baylor. There was a case brought by the Department of Justice in which ultimately Donald Sterling settled and there was no finding of guilt, and those are the only cases that have been brought to our attention. When those two litigations were brought, they were followed closely by the league office.
Q. Just a follow to that, one of the greatest players of all time, Elgin Baylor, accused Donald Sterling of running a plantation style franchise. Did that not concern you, and why was that not investigated? Despite the fact he lost the case, he has a prominent standing in the league and he said some very serious things.
ADAM SILVER: It concerned us greatly. We followed the litigation closely, and ultimately Elgin Baylor did not prevail in that litigation.
Q. Obviously Carmax and State Farm withdrew their sponsorship with the LA Clippers. With you as the commissioner of the NBA, what would you tell other people who are maybe on the fence or who have withdrawn who in the future might want to invest in one of your franchises?
ADAM SILVER: I would say those marketing partners of the Clippers and partners of the entire NBA should judge us by our response to this incident, and I think we've responded appropriately, and I would be hopeful that they would return into their business relationships with the Clippers.Q. I'm wondering if you've spoken to Mr. Sterling about this ban or any of his representatives, and if so, what has Mr. Sterling's reaction been to the punishment?
ADAM SILVER: I did not speak directly to his representatives about this ban. They were informed shortly before this press conference. I did not hear precisely what their reaction was.
Q. Have there been any decisions about whether the immediate members of Mr. Sterling's family, including Rochelle, will be allowed to remain in an ownership or managerial position in the league, as well?
ADAM SILVER: No, there have been no decisions about other members of the Sterling family, and I should say that this ruling applies specifically to Donald Sterling and Donald Sterling's conduct only.
Q. As you mentioned, over a dozen sponsors have dropped the Clippers. What has been the financial impact on this franchise and on the league from this scandal?
ADAM SILVER: I don't know. This has all happened in three days, and so I'm hopeful that there will be no long term damage to the league and to the Clippers' organization. But as I said earlier, I'm outraged, so I certainly understand other people's outrage, and it will take some time this will take some time, and appropriate healing will be necessary. I can understand precisely why, whether they be people affiliated with the NBA or the Clippers for a long time or those corporate partners. I can understand how upset they are, and I'll do my best to bring them back into the NBA family.
Q. If the owners vote three fourths vote not to force the sale, can you still under your powers institute the lifetime ban?
ADAM SILVER: The lifetime ban has been instituted. That is independent of forcing a sale of the team.
Q. Can you share with us what your initial reaction was when you first heard the voice on the tape and what it was espousing?
ADAM SILVER: When I first heard it, I was shocked. I was hoping somehow that it was fraudulent or that it had been doctored, that possibly it wasn't indeed Donald Sterling. I've known Donald for over 20 years, so I suspected it was his voice, and we set about immediately investigating, and that was my reaction, to sort of bear down and say let's get to the bottom of this as quickly as possible.
Q. Mayor Johnson has indicated he would like the league to undertake a full accounting of Donald Sterling's past and the failures by the NBA to act until now. Is that an account you'd be willing to undertake? And would you make any effort to mete out the personal views of other NBA owners at this point?
ADAM SILVER: I've had, as I said earlier, multiple conversations with Kevin Johnson, and I'm hoping that the actions we take today will satisfy our players. I believe they should.
Q. Can you just tell us, you said you've known Donald Sterling for 20 years. What have your interactions over those 20 years been like with him? Have you ever seen anything like this? Have you ever felt anything like this? And what kind of man did you judge him to be prior to this?
ADAM SILVER: I have not been that close to him over the years, but there's nothing I've ever seen in his behavior that would evidence these kinds of views. I've certainly, again, because there have been a lot of public filings about his activities, I've been aware of those accusations, but there's nothing I've ever seen firsthand that would indicate that he held the views that were expressed on these audio recordings.
Q. I'm curious, you spoke about your personal response to this. In terms of Donald Sterling self identifying as Jewish and you doing the same, as well, I'm wondering whether there was a specific kind of pain associated with that for you and if you felt a certain responsibility within the Jewish community to be responding to this in this way?
ADAM SILVER: I think my response was as a human being, and I used the word distraught before. I spoke on Saturday morning directly to Chris Paul, to Doc Rivers, and it wasn't even anger at that point. I mean, there was a certain somberness, and frankly, I felt sort of most strongly and personally for that team. While this affects every player and anyone associated with the NBA family, for those players and those coaches to go out and do what they need to do and play at the highest level in the world and have them hanging over this I think caused me to have a certain sadness I would say about the entire situation. I think this is regardless of anyone's religion, ethnicity, nationality. I think this is incredibly hurtful.
Q. At any time during your conversation with Mr. Sterling, did he express any remorse or denial regarding these comments?
ADAM SILVER: Mr. Sterling has not expressed those views directly to me.
Q. It's been suggested that the Clipper players be granted free agency at the end of this year as a result of this issue. Is that something that can be considered?
ADAM SILVER: That is not something we are considering.
Q. If you don't get the three quarter vote that you need, is it possible that Donald Sterling could still be an absentee owner profiting from this team even though physically he's banned from doing anything with it?
ADAM SILVER: I fully expect to get the support I need from the other NBA owners to remove him.
LeBron Weighs In.. This is what LeBron James said after The Miami Heat’s Game 3 win over the Charlotte Bobcats, courtesy of The Miami Herald: What are your thoughts on Donald Sterling’s comments? “If the reports are true, it’s unacceptable. It’s unacceptable in our league. It doesn’t matter if you’re white, black, Hispanic, whatever, all across the races. It’s unacceptable and as a commissioner in our league, they have to make a stand, and they have to be very aggressive with it. I don’t know what it’s going to be, but you just can’t have that in our league. We’re the model citizens of all sports around the world and because we’re the most recognizable, I mean, it figures. You see us all the time, you see our logos, you see our players, and for an owner to come out and say the things that he said, it’s very disrespectful, it’s very appalling and one of my best friends and dear friends plays on his team in Chris Paul and I haven’t had an opportunity to talk to him but I can only imagine what’s going through his head.” How difficult would it be to play with that hanging over… “I don’t know. I kind of waivered back and forth whether I would actually sit out. If our owner would come out and say the things that he said, I would really have to sit down with my teammates, talk to my family because at the end of the day, our family, and our teammates are way more important than that. Basketball is huge, obviously the playoffs have been unbelievable, and I hate the fact that something like this has to come out when the playoffs have been unbelievable and the game of basketball continues to grow, but there is no room for Donald Sterling in our league. There is no room for him.” Does it make you angry? “I’m not angry. Just disappointed more than anything. There is only 30 owners and 400-plus of us. For a player, I just think…I put my…I can only imagine if a player came out and said something of that stature what would happen to us as players. So, I believe in Adam [Silver], I believe in the NBA and they have to do something and do something very fast and quickly before this really gets out of hand. Like I said, there is no room for Donald Sterling in our league, man. There it is.
Then, new NBA Commissioner Adam Silver stepped forward Saturday evening and said this: “All members of the NBA family should be afforded due process and a fair opportunity to present their side of any controversy,” Adam Silver said. “The core of the investigation is understanding whether the tape is authentic, interviewing Mr. Sterling and interviewing the woman as well and understanding the context in which it was recorded. There are broad powers in place under the NBA’s constitution and bylaws that include a range of sanctions. All of those will be considered depending on the findings of our investigation.” Adam Silver: “We intend to get to the bottom of it as quickly as possible. I personally think the situation is most unfair to the Clippers players and coaches.” Silver also said that Donald Sterling would not be allowed to attend Sunday’s NBA Playoff Game against the Golden State Warriors in Oakland, however he did not extend the ban beyond that contest.
Magic Johnson responded to Clippers owner Donald Sterling’s accusations in an interview with CNN’s Anderson Cooper, which will air tonight at 8 p.m. ET.
Sterling had questioned Johnson’s contributions to the African American community, and said that the NBA Hall of Famer’s HIV-status makes him a poor role model for children.
“My whole life is devoted to urban America,” Johnson said in an excerpt of the interview released by CNN. “So, you know I just wish he knew the facts when he’s talking. But he’s a man who’s upset and he’s reaching. He’s reaching. He’s trying to find something that he can grab on to help him save his team. And it’s not going to happen. It’s not going to happen. The board of governors now have to do their job. Adam Silver, our Commissioner of the NBA, did a wonderful job of banning him for life.
“Now the Board of Governors have got to do their job. And again, I’m going to pray for the man because even if I see him today, I’m going to say hello to Donald and his wife as well. I’m not a guy who holds grudges and all that. Yes, am I upset? Of course! But at the same time, I’m a God fearing man and I’m going to pray for him and hope things work out for him.”
Johnson tweeted yesterday that he will not comment any further on Sterling after this week.
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