OTR Interviews

Former NBA star Metta World Peace: Racism a mental health issue, Clippers owner Sterling needs help

Former NBA star sounds off on the controversy surrounding the racist remarks alleged made by Clippers owner Donald Sterling, whether players can continue to work for him and whether Sterling will have to relinquish ownership

 

This is a rush transcript from "On the Record," April 28, 2014. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: an NBA team owner's racism exposed. L.A. Clippers owner Donald Sterling caught on tape in a racist rant.

(BEGIN AUDIO)

V. STIVIANO, EX-GIRLFRIEND OF DONALD STERLING: People call you and say that I have black people on my Instagram and it bothers you?

DONALD STERLING, OWNER, LOS ANGELES CLIPPERS: Yeah, it bothers me a lot. If you want to broadcast it that you're associating with black people. Do you have to?

In your whole live, every day you can be with them, every single day of your life.

STIVIANO: But not in public?

STERLING: But why publicize it on the Instagram and why bring to my games?

You can 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 and not to bring them to my games.

And I'm just saying, in your lousy (EXPLETIVE DELETED) Instagrams, you don't have to have yourself with, walking with black people.

STIVIANO: I admire Magic Johnson.

STERLING: OK, good.

STIVIANO: I'm sorry.

STERLING: OK.

STIVIANO: 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.

STERLING: Why are you forcing this down my throat? I'm finished talking to you.

And I'm just saying too bad you can't admire him privately, and during your entire (EXPLETIVE DELETED) life, your whole life admire him, bring him here, feed him, (EXPLETIVE DELETED) him. I don't care. You can do anything, but don't put him on an Instagram for the world to have to see so they have to call me. And don't bring them into my games.

(END AUDIO)

VAN SUSTEREN: Donald Sterling arguing with his former mistress, V. Stiviano, in that audio tape. Ex-mistress says she made the tape at Sterling's request because he likes to be reminded of things he has said. We are really reminding him. But she denies releasing the tape to the media.

Joining us is former NBA star Metta World Peace. Good evening, sir.

METTA WORLD PEACE, FORMER NBA STAR: Good evening. How are you doing?

VAN SUSTEREN: I'm very well.

What do you make of Donald Sterling's comments?

METTA WORLD PEACE: Well, I just think, you know, at the foundation, you know, of this problem, it's something where, you know, racism, I think, it's a mental health issue. You know, sort of. I think it could be healed. I think he was speaking in very childish, and he has been like that probably since he was a child. So I think he needs help. And I'm not saying that to, you know, go against what everybody else is saying, feeling emotionally. When I look at everything overall, Mr. Sterling needs help.

VAN SUSTEREN: I never knew that he was like that, would say those things. Is that something that's commonly known about him in the league or is this a surprise to everybody?

METTA WORLD PEACE: Well, I have heard things, you know, whispers. But, clearly, you know, he feels a certain way behind closed doors. But even behind closed doors, even though I believe the recording was, you know, intruding on his privacy, but even behind closed doors, for someone to feel like that, I think they need help.

VAN SUSTEREN: What do you think it's like to be a Clipper playing for him now?

METTA WORLD PEACE: Well, I just say don't feel as if you are playing for him. Those guys worked their whole life to get to this point. It's not often where you have a team where you can win the championship. I encourage those guys to go out and win the championship. Because you don't get these opportunities much in the NBA because teams come, teams go, and you don't get a chance to have a really good group of guys. So I say to those guys,"Go win the championship."

VAN SUSTEREN: What should the NBA do to Sterling?

METTA WORLD PEACE: Well, I mean, you can go in somebody's pockets. You can do all those type of things. In reality, do those things help? Hate versus hate, did it ever help in America? No. I say he needs to go get help. Just let him go get help, and, you know, become unracist.

VAN SUSTEREN: You know, the thing is though, you know, all of us listen to it this and are appalled. But, you know, I think even a little bit beyond that what about sort of the young kids who look up to like these big teams and these big owners, it turns out the guy is just a jerk.

METTA WORLD PEACE: Right. See, that's the issue. You know, you want to prevent -- when I go to speak at prisons, often I always talk about prevention. Racism, you want to prevent. You don't want to, you know, have the kids growing up feeling this way. And so it's very important that he does speaking engagement and go to different communities where you might have your racist people and you go speak at those communities, you know, and teach people something different. So I think he should do more speaking like that. I think he will heal himself through speaking with other kids.

VAN SUSTEREN: So you think he could learn his way out of racism or heal his way out of racism?

METTA WORLD PEACE: Absolutely. Because it's a bad thing. You know, racism is not even a real thing. Somebody probably had a concept of a power and racism and then it stuck for hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of years. Even with ancestors that's been brought here through slavery, it's a bad thing, and I think anybody can heal themselves if they really want to.

VAN SUSTEREN: Magic Johnson says he won't go to another Clipper game while Sterling is still owning the team. I totally understand why Magic Johnson would say that.

METTA WORLD PEACE: Yes.

VAN SUSTEREN: You agree with Magic Johnson on that? I'm not so sure who should go to the games.

METTA WORLD PEACE: Right.

VAN SUSTEREN: On the other hand, as you talk to the players who spent their whole lives trying to get to this point.

METTA WORLD PEACE: Right. I don't want to disagree or interfere with anybody's emotions. Magic Johnson has some good points. Little Wayne has some good points and Snoop Dogg. I don't want to interfere with their emotions on how they feel. But I'm going to go support Matt Barnes, who is a good friend of mine, and be there for those guys because I couldn't personally play under those circumstances. It would be tough for me, but I would. It would be tough because I would not feel comfortable with myself. And I would feel -- I'm at a different stage much my life now, but previously I would have felt some hatred probably towards Mr. Sterling. But, so I can imagine how those guys feel. So I think people should go there and really support the players. Give them some comfort. Because it's a very uncomfortable situation.

VAN SUSTEREN: Indeed, it is. Any impact on the last game?

METTA WORLD PEACE: No. They tried to win that game. But Stephen Curry is too much.

(LAUGHTER)

VAN SUSTEREN: Anyway. Metta, always nice to see you. Thank you for joining us.

METTA WORLD PEACE: Thank you for having me.