Three days after being banned from the NBA for life for making racist statements, embattled Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling broke his silence Friday.
"I wish I had just paid her off,'' Sterling said of V. Stiviano, the girlfriend to whom he was talking when he made racist statements in an audiotape that was released April 25.
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Sterling made his comments in DuJour magazine, which markets itself to high-income individuals. The quote is the only one released so far by DuJour in what it called an exclusive conversation with Sterling.
On its website, DuJour also said Sterling will limit his future interviews to Barbara Walters and the NBA.
The NBA might be finished speaking to Sterling. On Tuesday, commissioner Adam Silver announced he was banning Sterling for life, fining him $2.5 million and asking the NBA's Board of Governors to vote to remove him as owner of the team.
Under NBA bylaws, the league needs a consensus of at least three-fourths of the 29 remaining owners to vote out Sterling. Silver said Tuesday that he is confident that he will get the votes, and that seems to be backed up by the numerous statements of support that have been issued by teams since the ban was announced.
The league has been under intense pressure from players, fans and sponsors since Sterling's comments to Stiviano were reported by TMZ on its website. Sterling objected to Stiviano posting a photograph of herself with Magic Johnson on Instagram. Sterling then asked her not to bring Johnson or other black people to his games.
In other developments, Clippers coach Doc Rivers said employees on the team's business side considered not working for the franchise after Sterling's comments were exposed.
Rivers met Friday with team employees who were still upset.
"They really haven't had a lot of people talking to them," Rivers said. "It was really hard to see them. I didn't realize. Ticket people, marketing people, and they're sitting there crying, and I felt so bad for them . . . You forget that these are the people that are on the front line, and they work for the organization, too."