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My Conversation with Donald Sterling: ‘I am not a racist’

by David Suissa

May 2, 2014 | 4:20 pm

Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling at Staples Center on Jan. 10. Photo by Kirby Lee/USA TODAY Sports

After three days of reaching out to friends to get an introduction to Donald Sterling as well as his contact information, I finally was able to talk to the most talked-about man in America.

On Friday afternoon around 1PM Los Angeles time, I called.

“Hello,” a deep voice answered.

“Hi, is this Donald Sterling?

“Yes.”

“Hi Donald, this is David Suissa from the Jewish Journal, friends with (names of friends I cannot divulge). How are you? (I knew those were the three most stupid words I had ever uttered as soon as I uttered them).

“Not very good,” was his answer.

“Look Donald," I said, "I want to give you a chance to respond to those who say you are a racist.”

The minute I uttered the R word, his response was immediate.

“I am not a racist,” he said.

But then, just when I expected him to elaborate, he caught himself, and, in a polite tone, said:

“I don’t think I should be talking to a Jewish magazine or to anyone else. But can you call back in two hours? I’m in a meeting now. We’ll see if we can accommodate you.”

I called back two hours later.

I repeated the names of the friends we have in common and my previous offer to answer those who call him a racist.

“You know I’m not a racist,” he said, followed by “forgive me, I can’t talk right now, forgive me.”

That was it.

A very polite and courteous Donald Sterling told me he wasn’t a racist.

I couldn’t get anything else out of him.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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David Suissa is president of TRIBE Media Corp./Jewish Journal.

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