Magic Johnson didn’t really see Donald Sterling’s sit-down with Anderson Cooper as much of an apology, either.
Weeks after Sterling condemned his then-girlfriend for “associating with black people” after she took a picture with Johnson, Sterling only made matters worse by questioning his contributions to society and other African Americans — as well as making judgments on his character largely based on his HIV-positive status.
While Sterling admitted to Cooper that he made a “terrible, terrible mistake,” he told the anchor, “What has he done? Can you tell me? Big Magic Johnson, what has he done? Well, what kind of a guy goes to every city, has sex with every girl, then he catches HIV? Is that someone we want to respect and tell our kids about? I think he should be ashamed of himself. I think he should go into the background. But what does he do for the black people? He doesn’t do anything.”
Well, on Tuesday (May 13), Cooper invited Johnson to respond, saying he found his comments “disturbing.”
“I was caught in the middle of this love affair or whatever they had,” he said. “This is not about me, it’s about this woman who recorded you. And then you drag me into it and talk about my work in the community. He needs to address this young lady, that’s where the problem is, it’s not with Magic Johnson.”
But whether he liked it or not, he was dragged into all of it – as was his HIV-positive status, and the fact that “he is living in the stone age” when it comes to his education about AIDS.
“22 years ago I announced I have HIV, I came out like a man and I told the world. I didn’t blame anybody else. I understood what I did was wrong…The stigma is still there, we’ve been fighting it for years. It is a shame that Donald used his platform with you — instead of apologizing and saying he made mistakes. It is disturbing and sad, he didn’t do his homework.”
Responding to Sterling’s initial comments, which were obtained by TMZ in late April, Johnson said: “He wants us [African-Americans] to play for him but he doesn’t want us in the stands. Now he is delusional. Not only don’t the Clippers still love him. The other players in the NBA don’t love him. He can’t buy his way out of this one.
“My whole life is devoted to urban America. So, you know I just wish he knew the facts when he’s talking,” Johnson added. “But he’s a man who’s upset and he’s reaching. He’s reaching. He’s trying to find something that he can grab on to help him save his team. And it’s not going to happen. … I’m a God-fearing man and I’m going to pray for him and hope things work out for him.”