Jane Yamamoto, Alex Vasquez
Embattled Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling attended a predominantly black church service where he was offered forgiveness for making racist remarks. Jane Yamamoto reports from South Los Angeles for the NBC4 News at 6 on Sunday, June 1, 2014.
Donald Sterling attended a predominantly black church service Sunday on an invitation from a pastor who said the embattled Los Angeles Clippers owner should be forgiven after making racist remarks.
A gospel choir greeted Sterling as he walked into Praises of Zion Baptist Church on San Pedro Street in South Los Angeles.
“I'm here to support this wonderful group,” Sterling told NBC4.
The senior pastor, Dr. J. Benjamin Hardwick, met Sterling two weeks ago and invited him to worship.
“I want you to know, my friend, we pray for you',” Hardwick told Sterling.
Hardwick said he did not believe Sterling was a racist.
Asked if she believed that Sterling was there to improve his image, a church member said, "No, I don’t believe that. I believe that he did the right thing by coming here."
But not everyone agreed.
"I feel sorry for him because, first of all, he’s a slum landlord. And second of all, I don’t think he really cares for people as he should," said another church member.
Sterling was mobbed for pictures as he left the church. He told NBC4 that he thought the service was “fabulous.”
Sterling declined to comment on his battle over the ownership of the Clippers. On Friday, he filed a lawsuit seeking $1 billion in damages from the NBA after being forced to relinquish control of team.
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver fined Sterling $2.5 million and sought to ban him for life from the league after Sterling told an ex-girlfriend not to bring black people to Clippers games.