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Mark Olmsted Headshot

What Donald Sterling Should Say

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Thank you for coming, Ladies and Gentlemen of the Press.

First, I'd like to confirm that those were my statements recorded by Ms. Stiviano.

I bear her no ill will. I do completely understand how an almost entirely black team would be greatly hurt and angered by my sentiments, and would no longer wish to work for me. I unreservedly apologize.

Here's where I must be completely honest: those words you heard weren't just mine; so were the feelings they expressed. They are feelings I have harbored a long time, that I grew up with. I have a mixture of fear and hostility toward most black people, particularly black men.

I have long known these feelings to be irrational. I could bore you with stories from childhood and upbringing that would make them a little more understandable but they wouldn't make them any more excusable. I'm sharing this information to acknowledge a point that I feel might move the general conversation forward.

Many of us who harbor negative attitudes toward other races or ethnicities, who apply a double standard to men who we find threatening and to women we find attractive, who use language in private we would never use in public: many of us know we are wrong. As the owner of a team of extremely fine black athletes who have made me a great deal of money, I recognize how fundamentally distorted these feelings were and are. They make no sense, intellectually. But at times, they overwhelm me emotionally. I won't defend them, I can't. I can just tell you that there is some truth to the fact that one can feel something one knows is wrong and still feel it. I will give you examples: jealousy, greed, insecurity, an outsized desire for power and money. All of these drives have created terrible problems for me over the years, and now, racism -- the worst of them -- is driving me from my beloved basketball.

I accept my punishment. I will sell the team and try to redeem myself by giving the money away. As for my irrational emotions, I have always thought that they were unfortunate but unchangeable. I now have an opportunity to once and for all prove that perhaps an old dog can learn new tricks. That perhaps a man can change. I intend to try.

Again I apologize profoundly to everyone.

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