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LA Clippers owner denies racism allegations

BANNED: Donald Sterling (PA)

LOS ANGELES Clippers owner Donald Sterling has rejected allegations that he is racist and has reportedly refused to sell his stake in the NBA side after the league ruled he must give up his interest in the club.

The 81-year-old was banned for life by the NBA after a audio recording emerged of him making comments to his girlfriend that she should not associate with black people.

The league banned him from attending NBA games and training session and ordered the owner to sell the Clippers.

However, US media reports suggest that Sterling is not willing to sell.

In a recording published by RadarOnline, Sterling is reportedly heard to say he does not believe he must sell the team.

The man on the recording denies he is racist and is heard to say: “You think I'm a racist?

“You think I have anything in the world but love for everybody? ... You know I'm not a racist.

“How can you be in this business and be a racist?

“Do you think I tell the coach to get white players or to get the best player he can get?”

Concerning the forced sale, he added: “You can't force somebody to sell property in America. I'm a lawyer. That's my opinion.”

A host of celebrities have been linked to buying the Clippers following the NBA ruling, including media mogul Oprah Winfrey and boxing legend Floyd Mayweather.

Previously, Sterling admitted it was his voice on the controversial recording that led to him being banned, but claimed the views expressed on the recording did not reflect his own.

The NBA has been widely praised for its swift handling of the incident and has been held up of an example of how to combat racism in sport.

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