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Donald Sterling‘s estranged wife on Sunday distanced herself from her husband’s racist and inflammatory comments caught on a leaked audio recording.
“Our family is devastated by the racist comments made by my estranged husband,” Rochelle Sterling told TMZ of the Los Angeles Clippers owner. “My children and I do not share these despicable views or prejudices. We will not let one man’s small-mindedness poison the spirit of the fans and accomplishments of the team in the city we love. We are doing everything in our power to stand by and support our Clippers team.”
On Sunday, the Clippers players made a public show of solidarity in a silent protest against racism by coming onto the court before the game against the Golden State Warriors at Oracle Arena with their warm-up jerseys on inside-out to hide the team logo.
Rather than having the Clippers’ logo emblazoned on the front, Chris Paul, Blake Griffin and their teammates wore plain red as they walked out before the tip-off for Game 4 in the first round of the NBA Playoffs.
In the crowd, Warriors fans held up signs that read: “Magic always welcome at Oracle” and “No racism here.”
Donald Sterling agreed not to attend the game, but Rochelle Sterling sat courtside. She told ABC off-camera that she didn’t condone the statements or believe them: “I am not a racist and never have been. The team is the most important thing to my family.”
While she said then that she “didn’t know” if that was her husband’s voice on the tape her new statement appears to confirm she does believe it is his voice.
Sterling’s tirade was prompted when his girlfriend, V. Stiviano, posted a photo of herself with Magic Johnson on Instagram. In the audio remarks obtained by TMZ and Deadspin, he expresses displeasure about having “black people” attend Clipper games.
For his part, Johnson reiterated his opinion that Sterling shouldn’t own a team when he appeared on ABC’s NBA Countdown show on Sunday morning, saying: “He should stand up and say ‘I don’t want to own a team anymore,’ especially when you have African-Americans renting his apartments, coming to his games, playing for him and coaching for him.
“This is bad for everybody. This is bad for America. I’m really upset about it.”
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