Embattled and outgoing Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling was invited to yesterday’s church service at the Praises of Zion Baptist Church in South Los Angeles by pastor Dr. J. Benjamin Hardwick, and Sterling attended the two-and-a-half-hour event with a smile on his face. The choir of the predominantly black church sang to the 80-year old before Hardwick addressed him and the rest of the congregation, letting him know that they are all praying for him. And Sterling, flanked by his people, told the local NBC crew that he was ultimately there to “support this wonderful group.” All in all, it seemed like a truly pleasant experience for almost everyone involved, despite everything that Sterling has been going through beyond the church’s doors.
However, the feeling of forgiveness wasn’t necessarily unanimous. While one churchgoer told NBC that she forgives Sterling for his racist remarks in a private-but-recorded conversation with V. Stiviano, because she “can’t have hate in my heart” and she loves everybody, another woman wasn’t as enthusiastic. “I feel sorry for him because, first of all, he’s a slum landlord,” she said, “and second of all, I don’t think he really cares for people as he should.” Meanwhile, V. Stiviano has basically done the opposite of going to church.