TIME NBA

V. Stiviano Says Donald Sterling is Not a Racist

ABC handout of Barbara Walters interviewing V. Stiviano in Los Angeles
Barbara Walters interviews Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling's female companion, V. Stiviano, in Los Angeles in this handout picture taken May 2, 2014, courtesy of ABC. ABC/Reuters

The woman who Clippers owner Donald Sterling made racist remarks to in a leaked audio recording blames the comments on his upbringing. "He was brought up to believe these things ... But through his actions he's shown that he's not a racist," she said

V. Stiviano says that the disgraced Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling is not racist, but said she had “very many” conversations like the recorded one that led to his expulsion from the NBA.

“There’s been a number of occasions where Mr. Sterling and I had conversations just like this one. This was one of very many,” Stiviano told Barbara Walters on ABC’s 20/20 in an interview that aired Friday night. “Part of what the world heard was only 15 minutes. There’s a number of other hours that the world doesn’t know.”

Stiviano is the woman heard on the audio recording of Donald Sterling making inflammatory racial remarks, including telling Stiviano she should not post online photos of herself with black people, or bring black people to Clippers games.

She is also said to be the girlfriend of Sterling and is currently being sued by the ex-LA Clippers owner for allegedly accepting millions in gifts from him, though Stiviano denied they are romantically involved.

“I’m Mr. Sterling’s everything. I’m his confidante, his best friend, his silly rabbit,” she said. “I joke around and I make him laugh. I do things that some people find very silly and I do things that sometimes people can’t understand our relationship.”

Stiviano said that she does not believe Sterling is racist, and that he “comes from a different generation than I am.”

“I think he was brought up to believe these things … segregation, whites and blacks. But through his actions he’s shown that he’s not a racist. He’s shown to be a very generous and kind man,” she said. When asked if Sterling should apologize for his remarks, Stiviano said “absolutely.”

Sterling paid a $2.76 million settlement in 2009 to resolve a federal lawsuit in which he was accused of systematically excluding blacks and Hispanics from his rental properties.

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