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In recording said to be of Clippers' Sterling, racist claim denied

In recording said to be of Clippers' Sterling, racist claim denied
CNN
East Texas Live
Thursday, May 8, 2014 - 5:27pm

If the latest audio recording attributed to Donald Sterling is the real deal, the L.A. Clippers owner is denying he's a racist -- and doesn't appear ready to submit to demands to sell the team.

"You think I'm a racist?" a man purported to be Sterling says in a recording posted Thursday morning by RadarOnline.com. "You think I have anything in the world but love for everybody? You don't think that. You know I'm not a racist."

CNN cannot independently confirm that the speaker is Sterling.

Sterling has been banned for life from the team's day-to-day operations and facilities and was fined $2.5 million last week for racist comments that were recorded and posted online late last month.

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver has asked the other 29 NBA owners to force Sterling, the longest-tenured owner in the league, to sell the Clippers.

In the tape posted Thursday, a second man says "they're trying to force you to sell."

"You can't force someone to sell property in America," responds the man who RadarOnline.com says is Sterling. "Well, I'm a lawyer, that's my opinion."

RadarOnline.com's post doesn't say when the recording was made or identify the second man heard in it.

Sterling, a lawyer and billionaire real-estate investor, has not issued a public statement since the celebrity gossip website TMZ posted a 10-minute audio recording in which he chastises V. Stiviano for posting pictures on Instagram in which she poses with African-Americans, including basketball Hall of Famer Earvin "Magic" Johnson. Sterling made the comments during an argument he had with Stiviano on April 9, according to TMZ.

"In your lousy f**ing Instagrams, you don't have to have yourself with -- walking with black people," he says.

"If it's white people, it's OK?" she responds. "If it was Larry Bird, would it make a difference?"

The matter of the team's sale is with the NBA's Advisory/Finance Committee, which met Wednesday on a conference call. Members discussed the "termination of Mr. Sterling's ownership of the team," the NBA said in a news release. The committee will meet again next week, the statement said.

If the case proceeds to a full vote, 75% of the owners would have to approve the forced sale.

However, Pierce O'Donnell, attorney for Donald Sterling's estranged wife, Shelly, told CNN that she wants to keep her 50% stake in the team and has been talking with NBA officials.

During his news conference announcing Donald Sterling's lifetime ban, Silver was asked if there would be sanctions against Shelly Sterling.

"No, there have been no decisions about other members of the Sterling family, and I should say that this ruling applies specifically to Donald Sterling and Donald Sterling's conduct only, Silver said.

Shelly Sterling hasn't done anything wrong, O'Donnell said.

"The truth of the matter is that Mrs. Sterling has denounced in the strongest terms possible, her husband's racist comments," he told CNN. "Totally disassociated."

The Sterlings have been estranged for more than a year, O'Donnell told CNN.

While her husband is banned from NBA arenas, Shelly Sterling has attended some of the Clippers playoff games since the scandal unfolded.

CNN's Stephanie Elam, Ray Sanchez and Chris Isidore contributed to this report.

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