Sterling: 'I wish I had just paid her off'
ESPN.com news services
May 3, 2014
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On a day when a magazine quoted banned Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling as saying "I wish I had just paid her off," V. Stiviano, the woman behind an audio tape in which he made disparaging racial remarks, said she thinks he should apologize.

Stiviano, interviewed Friday night by ABC's Barbara Walters on "20/20," twice told Walters during the interview that Sterling should apologize. Asked if she thought Sterling would apologize: "Only God knows," she said.

Sterling talked with Walters on Friday.

Stiviano, the woman Sterling was talking to on the recording, did speak to Walters. She characterized Sterling's current state of mind as "confused," adding that: "I think he feels very alone, not truly supported by those around him. Tormented, emotionally traumatized."

"I'm with him in a state of where I want to help him, urging him to come to his own rescue," Stiviano said. "But even so, I think he feels that he's alone."

She said she does not feel Sterling is racist, despite hearing him say derogatory things about minorities. "No," she said. "I don't believe that in my heart."

"I think the things he says are not what he feels. Anybody can say anything in the heat of the moment," she said. "I think Mr. Sterling is from a different generation than I am. I think he was brought up to believe those things. Segregation. Whites and blacks."

Still, she said, "Through his actions, he's shown he's not a racist. Through his actions, he's shown to be a generous and kind man."

Stiviano said she feels that Sterling "absolutely" should apologize and that she has discussed that with him, though she is uncertain of what he will do.

Earlier Friday, Sterling was quoted by DuJour.com as saying he wished he had "paid off" Stiviano. According to the person who conducted the interview, Sterling "expressed remorse," though no other quotes from Sterling were provided.

Outside of that comment, Sterling has kept a low profile since NBA commissioner Adam Silver banned him for life and fined him $2.5 million on Tuesday. Silver has urged the league's owners to force a sale of the Clippers.

Sources have confirmed to ESPN.com that Sterling also is battling cancer.

The news was first reported late Thursday night by the New York Post. The Post, citing sources, reported that the 80-year-old Sterling has been battling prostate cancer for an extended period of time.

Since Sterling's ban was announced, there have been no shortage of suitors who have expressed an interest in potentially purchasing the Clippers.

Oprah Winfrey, David Geffen and Larry Ellison will join together in a bid to buy the Clippers if the NBA's board of governors votes to force Sterling to sell the team, Geffen told ESPN's Jeremy Schaap on Wednesday.

Geffen said he and Ellison would run the team, while Winfrey would be an investor.

Boxing superstar Floyd Mayweather Jr. and music mogul Sean Combs both claimed interest in buying the team Tuesday, as did real-estate tycoon Rick Caruso.

Magic Johnson, Mark Walter and their Guggenheim Partners group, which made the billion-dollar purchase of the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2012, also are possible bidders, though sources have told ESPN that any such discussions were premature at best.

Johnson, who was specifically mentioned in the recorded conversation involving Sterling, laughed off the suggestion he should buy the Clippers in an appearance on ESPN on Sunday night, saying he was focused on bringing the NFL back to Los Angeles.

Information from ESPN's Jeremy Schaap, ESPN.com's Dan Rafael and The Associated Press was used in this report.

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