UPDATE: TMZ published a new exclusive statement from Rochelle Sterling Sunday night in which she appeared to confirm that it was, in fact, her husband’s voice on the tape. “Our family is devastated by the racist comments made by my estranged husband. My children and I do not share these despicable views or prejudices.”
She added, “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.” Rochelle Sterling is currently suing her husband’s model girlfriend V. Stiviano, whose voice also appeared on the tape, for allegedly accepting gifts from the Clippers owner that came from money jointly held by the Sterlings.
Original Report Below
Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling’s wife said Sunday that she is “not a racist” and that she does not know whether it was her husband’s voice in the bombshell audio clip but that she thinks some parts were cut out of the tape.
Democratic donor Donald Sterling came under fire after TMZ published audio Friday night purporting to show Sterling telling his girlfriend not to bring black people to Clippers games.
Rochelle Sterling, who appeared at the Clippers’ 118-97 Game 4 first-round playoff loss to the Golden State Warriors at Oakland’s Oracle Arena, declined to give an on-camera interview to ESPN’s courtside reporter Lisa Salters but did offer a statement.
“I do not condone those statements that you heard. I do not believe in them. I am not a racist. I never have been. Never will be. The team is the most important thing to my family,” Rochelle Sterling said.
Asked if her husband was speaking in the audio clip, Rochelle Sterling said, “I don’t know, I haven’t listened to the entire thing. But I do believe that there were some parts that were cut out. I will let the experts handle that.”
The Clippers, who led the series 2-1, were 2-and-a-half point favorites on the road in Golden State for nationally-televised Game 4, according to Vegas odds. However, the team trailed by 18 at halftime and eventually lost by 21 to allow the Warriors to even the series at two games apiece.
The Clippers players staged a pregame huddle protest by wearing their warmup jerseys inside out Sunday so as not to show their team name.
Though Rochelle said that the Clippers are “the most important thing to my family,” her real-estate mogul husband has presided over one of the worst records in professional sports history since buying the San Diego Clippers in 1981 and moving the team to Los Angeles in 1984.
The team has recorded only five winning seasons and seven playoff appearances during his ownership, with three of the winning seasons and playoff bids coming in the last three years after drafting power forward Blake Griffin in 2009 and All-Star point guard Chris Paul in 2011.
The NBA is currently investigating the alleged statements made by Donald Sterling, whose slated lifetime achievement award from the Los Angeles chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) has been revoked.