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?
“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.