Donald Sterling, the embattled owner of the LA Clippers, sat down for an interview with CNN’s Anderson Cooper to attempt to do damage control after a recording of racist rants by him were leaked to the media two weeks ago. In the interview with CNN, Sterling went back and forth, sporadic at times, denying that he is a racist. But the most egregious part of the interview came when Sterling blasted NBA Hall of Famer and businessman, Earvin “Magic” Johnson.
“What has he done? Can you tell me? Big Magic Johnson, what has he done? He’s got AIDS,” Sterling told CNN. “Did he do any business? Did he help anybody in South LA?”
Sterling overlooked the fact that Johnson is credited for social outreach through the Magic Johnson Foundation as well as a chain of movie theaters in urban communities. His 23-year-old Magic Johnson Enterprises currently includes the ASPIRE cable network, Magic Airport Holdings, Magic Workforces Solutions, and Los Angeles Dodgers part-owner.
“He made love with every girl in every city in America, and he had AIDS,” said Sterling. CNN’s Cooper corrected Sterling, explaining that Johnson was HIV-positive but did not have “full-blown AIDS.”
Sterling went on to say that Johnson is not a good example for children because he is HIV positive.
The National Black Justice Coalition (NBJC), the nation’s leading Black LGBT civil rights organization released a statement strongly condemning the hate-fueled and offensive speech of Sterling. NBJC’s mission is to end racism and homophobia.
“Donald Sterling’s remarks toward Magic Johnson have insulted and hurt so many, not only in the Black community, but all people of sound mind and goodwill,” says Sharon Lettman-Hicks, NBJC’s executive director and CEO. “He is clearly unaware of the vast philanthropic efforts that Magic Johnson has directly provided to Black America and his characterization of him being a bad role model for our children because of his HIV status is simply ill-informed and dangerous.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, among gay and bisexual men, black gay and bisexual men are most affected by HIV. Research shows that stigma puts gay and bisexual men of all races at risk and may affect whether they seek and are able to receive health services, including HIV testing, treatment, and other prevention services.