On April 25, 2014, TMZ Sports posted a nine minute recording of a racially charged dispute that allegedly features Donald Sterling, owner of the Los Angeles Clippers, and his girlfriend, V. Stiviano. During the exchange, Sterling allegedly urges his girlfriend not to post Instagram photos of herself with African Americans, including Magic Johnson. His distaste for her associations with black people nearly led the Clippers players to boycott their playoff game against the Golden State Warriors on April 27. It also led to a number of high profile people, including Johnson, President Obama and Clippers Coach Doc Rivers, to condemn Sterling’s reported remarks. A complete transcript of the alleged conversation between Sterling and Stiviano is below.
V.S.: Honey, I’m sorry.
D.S.: I’m sorry too.
V.S.: I wish I could change the color of my skin.
D.S.: That isn’t the issue. You’ve missed the issue.
V.S.: What’s the issue?
D.S.: The issue is we don’t have to broadcast everything.
V.S.: I’m not broadcasting anything. I don’t do anything wrong.
D.S.: Nobody said you did anything wrong
V.S.: I don’t do anything wrong. If we ever have any issues, it’s because people call you and tell you things about me that are not true.
D.S.: Then why are you broadcasting…
V.S.: I’m not broadcasting anything.
D.S.: Then why are you taking pictures with minorities. Why?
V.S.: What’s wrong with minorities? What’s wrong with black people?
D.S.: Nothing. Nothing.
V.S.: What’s wrong with Hispanics?
D.S.: It’s like talking to an enemy. There’s nothing wrong with minorities. They’re fabulous. Fabulous. Because you’re an enemy to me.
D.S.: Because you don’t understand.
V.S.: I don’t understand what?
D.S.: Nothing. Nothing.
V.S.: That racism still is alive?
D.S.: No, but there’s a culture. People feel certain things. Hispanics feel certain things towards blacks. Blacks feel certain things toward other groups. It’s been that way historically, and it will always be that way.
V.S.: But it’s not that way in my heart and in my mind.
D.S.: But maybe you want to adjust to the world.
V.S.: But why if the world doesn’t do anything for me, and they don’t make me happy.
D.S.: You’re right. I don’t want to argue with you. I don’t want to argue (raises voice).
V.S.: I can’t be racist in my heart.
D.S.: And that’s good. I’m living in a culture, and I have to live within the culture. So, that’s the way it is. That’s all I got it. I got the whole message. You live with your heart. I don’t. You can’t be flexible. You can’t.
V.S.: I am flexible. I understand that that’s the way you were raised, and that’s your culture, and I’m respectful and—
D.S.: Well, why do you have to disrespect them. Those are—
V.S.: Who am I disrespecting (raises voice)?
D.S.: The world before you.
V.S.: Why am I disrespecting them?
D.S.: By walking and you’re perceived as either a Latina or a white girl. Why can’t you be walking publicly with black people. Why (raises voice)? Is there a benefit to you?
V.S.: Is it a benefit to me? Does it matter if they’re white or blue or yellow?
D.S.: I guess that you don’t know that. Maybe you’re stupid. Maybe you don’t know what people think of you. It does matter, yeah (raises voice). It matters.
V.S.: Do you know that I’m mixed?
D.S.: No I don’t know that (sarcastically). You told me you were going to remove those. You said, ‘Yes, I understand you.’ I mean you change from day to day. Wow. So painful. Wow.
V.S.: People call you and tell you that I have black people on my Instagram. And it bothers you.
D.S.: Yeah, it bothers me a lot you want to…broadcast that you’re associating with black people. Do you have to?
V.S.: You associate with black people.
D.S.: I’m not you and you’re not me. You’re supposed to be a delicate white or delicate Latina girl.
V.S.: I’m a mixed girl.
D.S.: Ok well…
V.S.: And you’re in love with me. And I’m black and Mexican. Whether you like it or not. Whether the world accepts it or not. And you’re asking me to remove something that’s part of my bloodstream. Because the world thinks different of me and you’re afraid of what they’re going to think because of your upbringing. You want me to have hate towards black people.
D.S.: I don’t what you to have hate. That’s what people—they turn things around. I want you to love them—privately. In your whole life, everyday, you can be with them. Every single day of your life.
V.S.: But not in public?
D.S.: But why publicize it on the Instagram and why bring it to my games?
V.S.: Why bring the black people to the games?
D.S.: I don’t think we need to discuss anymore. It’s over. I don’t want to talk about it.
V.S.: I’m sorry that you feel that way.
D.S.: I feel that way so strongly, and it may cause our relationship to just break apart. And if it does, it does. It’s better to break part now than to break apart later.
V.S.: I’m sorry that you still have people around you that are full of racism and hate in their heart. I’m sorry that you’re still racist in your heart. I’m sorry that you live in a world that’s still—
D.S.: How about your whole life, every day, you could do whatever you want. You can sleep with them. You can bring them in, you can do whatever you want. The little I ask you is not to promote it on that and not to bring them to my games.
V.S.: I don’t bring anyone to the games.
D.S.: Okay then there’s nothing to argue about.
V.S.: I know.
D.S.: Okay, we’ve got a big problem here. I really don’t feel like going anywhere. I don’t feel like going to Europe. I don’t feel like just going through the whole thing. We’ve got a big problem. If you didn’t like someone I was with I would stop seeing that person.
V.S.: I’m sorry I don’t have any more friends. What would you like me to do? Remove the skin color out of my skin.
D.S.: Is that a real issue or are you making something up?
V.S.: I mean, I just don’t understand what the issue is.
D.S.: There’s nothing with you or your skin color. Why are you saying these things? To upset me? Okay.
V.S.: Sweetie, I’m sorry.
D.S.: I’m so sorry too. We made a giant mistake. Both of us. Everything you say to me is so painful. Do I want you to change the color of your skin? You know how to really hurt somebody. Instead of saying, ‘I understand.’
V.S.: I don’t understand how you can have so much hate towards minorities.
D.S.: I don’t have any hate on nothing.
V.S.: I don’t understand…
D.S.: Why would you say …?
V.S.: How a person like you who’s elevated, who’s here, still feels he’s above the world and you can’t even be seen with someone in which is considered a different skin color.
D.S.: They can be with me all day long and all night long.
V.S.: I can’t believe that a man who’s educated, a man who’s a scholar, a man—
D.S.: Well believe it and stop talking about it. (raises voice) Let’s finish our discussion with a period, okay? You’re not making any good points. You can’t believe this man – that’s all I am. I’m not a good person in your eyes. If I was a good person, you wouldn’t say I can’t believe this, I can’t believe that, which are all lies. I love the black people.
V.S.: Look at all this negativity coming from you.
D.S.: There’s no negativity. I love everybody. I’m just saying in your lousy [expletive] Instagrams you don’t have to have yourself walking with black people. You don’t have to. If you want to, do it.
V.S.: If it’s white people, it’s okay? If it was Larry Bird, would it have made a difference?
D.S.: You’re just a big fighter. I can see—who would want to live with a woman like you? Who would want to live with a woman? All you ever wanted to do is fight. You’re a born fighter.
V.S.: I’m sorry that you’re mad.
D.S.: You have the worst mouth.
V.S.: Why are you so angry, honey? What’s wrong?
D.S.: Why would you bring up Larry Bird, what does he have to do with it? You can walk all night long with your sisters or your family.
V.S.: I saw someone I admire. I admire Magic Johnson.
D.S.: Okay. Good.
V.S.: I’m sorry.
V.S.: He’s made a lot of changes for his community, for the world, for the people, for the minorities. He’s helped a lot of people.
D.S.: Why are your forcing this down my throat. I’m finished talking to you. I have nothing more to say.
V.S.: And I took a picture with someone I admire.
V.S.: He happens to be black, and I’m sorry.
D.S.: I think the fact that you admire him – I know him well and he should be admired. And I’m just saying too bad you can’t admire him privately and during your entire [expletive] life [yelling] you whole life admire him, bring him here, feed him f---k him, I don’t care. You can do anything. But don’t put him on Instagram for the world to have to see so they have to call me. And don’t bring him to my games? Okay.
V.S.: I don’t. I never brought. I don’t know him personally.
D.S.: Please leave me alone. Please, please.
V.S.: I’m sorry is there anything I can do to make you feel better.
D.S.: No you can never make me feel better. You’re just a fighter and you want to fight.