Sterling: Obama made ‘flippant’ remarks

 

Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling has turned his sights on President Obama, accusing the president of making "flippant" and ill-informed comments about the controversy that led to his lifetime ban from the NBA.

In a new recording obtained by the Daily Mail, Sterling expresses anger at the president for criticizing him without first seeking his side of the story.

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"I’m a lawyer. If you or anyone calls me to ask me an opinion I say let me review the papers — you know — I wanna check. I don’t give comments unless I do," Sterling tells his friend, hip-hop artist Maserati.

"Why would he [Obama] make a comment without talking either to Magic [Johnson] or somebody here? Or review the papers. I think that was such bad judgment on his part to make a flippant comment from Malaysia. Wasn’t that? How does he know what the facts are?"

The basketball league moved last month to ban Sterling and force the sale of his team after a recording of the owner admonishing his girlfriend for bringing minorities, including former NBA star Magic Johnson, to Clippers games and posing with them in pictures surfaced.

Sterling's comments earned near-unanimous condemnation, including from Obama, who blasted the Clippers owner as "ignorant." The president said Sterling’s remarks were an example of how "the United States continues to wrestle with the legacy of race and slavery and segregation."

Obama made the comments when asked about the controversy during a press conference on his recent trip to Asia.

In the recording, Sterling goes on to say that Obama is "a good guy and I like him" but that he believed he was looking to pile on.

"I just think everybody wants to get in to the act — is that it?" Sterling said. 

"You know you don’t just make a comment like that if you’re a lawyer," he added.

Earlier this week, Sterling drew additional fire when he criticized Johnson in an interview with CNN intended to rehabilitate his image. Sterling said the all-star guard should be "ashamed" of his HIV status and sexual history.

White House press secretary Jay Carney declined to comment when asked about Sterling's comments on Tuesday.

"I haven’t spoken to the president about that interview. The president spoke about this general issue at a press conference not long ago, so I would point you to those remarks," Carney said.