Donald Sterling Melts Down in Anderson Cooper Interview

Donald Sterling Melts Down, Whiile Anderson

While Donald Sterling melted down — about as publicly as anyone ever has — Anderson Cooper stayed cool.

Cooper stressed in the middle of his exclusive interview with Sterling — the embattled owner of the Los Angeles Clippers — that he would not have continued the session with the octogenarian billionaire if, as his wife Shelly suggested to Barbara Walters, he was suffering from dementia.

Still, as Cooper noted, he is not an authority on dementia. And while Sterling seemed to be in enough possession of his faculties to sit through such an experience, his erratic, strange performance — one that will be studied in crisis public-relations classes for years to come — certainly gave the impression of somebody who was not mentally clicking on all cylinders.

As Cooper made clear (and good for him for mentioning this part), Sterling met with him without handlers or attorneys to protect him. That turned out to be a huge miscalculation, as Sterling kept digging the hole he was in deeper and deeper, until some of those sitting through the hour had to come away feeling almost sorry for him, if not for what he had to say.

Sterling lashed out at various parties — perhaps foremost former Los Angeles Laker-turned-entrepreneur, businessman and NBA analyst Magic Johnson, who has been outspoken regarding the racist comments made by Sterling that became public when a recording was leaked. He also blamed the media, insisting that Clippers players and others who have pushed for his ouster really love him.

Sterling was most pathetic talking about the woman at the center of the story, V. Stiviano, referring to her as “the girl” time and again, and muttering about how foolish he was to have thought she might have cared for him, given their 50-year age difference. Yet given Sterling’s history of fiduciary relationships with women, it’s hard to see how this could have surprised him.

Like any news organization presented with this kind of gift — one that will be replayed, much like the original audio, for days on end — CNN quickly moved to milk the exclusive for all it’s worth. Yet if restraint isn’t in the cards for his network, Cooper handled his role deftly, realizing that the damning nature of Sterling’s remarks didn’t require a grilling; an arched eyebrow was enough.

As for Sterling, ultimately he appeared intent on speaking to one constituency: other NBA owners, who control the future of his Clippers ownership stake — after he was banned for life by commissioner Adam Silver — and will vote on his status.

Even if the decision goes against him, Sterling still has the resources to bog down this process via litigation, in a way that could test what really constitutes a “lifetime” ban for a man in his 80s.

“What this was to PR, the Hindenburg was to blimps,” Bill Weir quipped to Cooper during CNN’s post-interview analysis.

As noted, Sterling’s fate vis-a-vis the Clippers might still wind up in the courts. But in the court of public opinion, his misguided attempt at damage control was a one-sided blowout. And unlike his team, which rallied from a huge deficit to win on Sunday, Sterling has no chance of coming back from that.

 

 

Filed Under:

Want to read more articles like this one? SUBSCRIBE TO VARIETY TODAY.
Post A Comment 5

Leave a Reply

5 Comments

Comments are moderated. They may be edited for clarity and reprinting in whole or in part in Variety publications.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

  1. roseanne karlov-dick says:

    Sterling has need of a guide while being interviewed, he is not thinking but reacting to the trauma of insult& personal pain of being used, tho notacceptable as owner, his statements were said in/by jealousy when his girlfriend put the picture ofof herself with MagicJohnson, he is to be pitied not censored!!

  2. Bernhard Rosenberg .just now
    Leave the man alone already. He is 81 and ill. He is not the only person in the world with such attitudes. There was a private conversation and he was taped WITHOUT HIS KNOWLEDGE. The T.V. hosts all set him up for failure in their interviews. Is this the only issue the world has to worry about. ? Help the 300 girls that is worthy of attention. He will keep this issue with the basketball team in court until he dies. Enough already. The basketball players make millions of dollars while there are people starving in America. RABBI DR. BERNHARD ROSENBERG

  3. Melvin Stephens says:

    ‘This interview Donald Sterling does show signs of dementia during the interview.He struggles with his train of thought. I do believe there should be examination by unbiased doctors to do an evaluation.’

    I agree…people stated their (true) feelings such as Mr. Sterling, should have the safety of doctors to clarify just what they really mean…

    ‘I am not attempting to excuse his comments or accusations of bigotry.’

    Of course you are not…as so many others….

    ‘Also, the tape between him and his girl friend. How do any of us know it was not edited before being released to the public.’

    That’s it…the tapes wheres tampered with…to give the appearance Mr. Sterling said terrible things. We all know people do not feel this way…

    ‘This is an old man and someone wants his franchise. This is how they are going about getting it.’

    Of course, a conspiracy to deprive this man of his franchise (cases in court of housing discrimination against him etc. conspiracy, conspiracy etc.) Wait…there is an attempt also to make the Klan look bad, they don’t mean what they say…they are suffering from dementia….

  4. I. says:

    What happened to the part where he says that the only thing Magic did was have sex with every girl in every city and get AIDS?

    • Clarice King says:

      This interview Donald Sterling does show signs of dementia during the interview.He struggles with his train of thought. I do believe there should be examination by unbiased doctors to do an evaluation. As a Registered Nurse who has spent the better part of my career caring for Alzheimer’s patients there are many signs of dementia in the interview.

      I am not attempting to excuse his comments or accusations of bigotry. What I am doing is stepping outside of the initial emotion ones has when hearing such remarks. I listen to his words and watch his body language. The man is in a lot of distress and at times has difficulty grasping the words he wants to say. His advanced age and probable dementia,he is going to grasp a word he remembers and at 94 he has many years of words that at one time or another was acceptable in the past.

      Also,the tape between him and his girl friend. How do any of us know it was not edited before being released to the public.

      There is no way I condone racism or prejudice in any way shape or form. I do believe in freedom of speech.When a bias is brought to the foreground it brings dialogue to explore the reason behind the prejudice to begin with. I prefer something out in the open than hidden where it can grow and fester.

      This is an old man and someone wants his franchise. This is how they are going about getting it.

More TV News from Variety

Loading