It’s Sunday morning and I’m trying to wrap my head around these comments by Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling. We’re in the midst of a fantastic NBA playoffs season and TMZ unearths a tape with a man (allegedly Sterling) scolding his girlfriend for bringing blacks (namely Earvin “Magic” Johnson) to Clippers games. The woman is also told not to post pictures with black people on Instagram (pictures were recently taken down.)
In a statement released by the team, Clippers president Andy Roeser said of the recording club officials, “do not know if it is legitimate or if it has been altered. Mr. Sterling is emphatic that what’s on that recording is not consistent with, nor does it reflect his views, beliefs, or feelings.” It should also be noted that the woman in question had vowed to get even with Sterling for being sued for embezzlement, but does that even matter? If you spout racial hatred and are stupid enough to get caught on tape, you deserve whatever punishment society doles out. Especially in a sport so heavily made up of and supported by those you so despise.
Barack Obama, Doc Rivers, and Magic Johnson, among others, have all spoken up on the comments allegedly made by the Clippers owner and all are extremely upset. The Clippers are in the thick of the playoffs and now have this huge distraction to deal with. We know it’s a distraction because Doc Rivers tells us so. We also hear from Chris Paul that the NBAPA considers this a serious issue and will deal with it aggressively. Even President Obama, all the way from Malaysia says, “when ignorant folks want to advertise their ignorance you don’t really have to do anything, you just let them talk.” Ouch! Looks like Adam Silver has his first controversy as NBA Commissioner.
At least it’s not a hard one to figure out. If the statements stick to Sterling, then Donald Sterling must go. You can bet money that this is the topic of conversation in barber shops, churches, or wherever blacks congregate. Basketball is woven into the very fabric of the lives of many black Americans and this will surely create discussion. I’m with Magic when he says Sterling must sell the team. No players will want to play for an owner that harbors those sentiments and fans shouldn’t have to support a bigot in 2014. If Sterling made his bed he should have to lay in it. It should be interesting to watch this play out over the next few days and weeks. Right now, it’s crystal clear. Donald Sterling must go.
Follow Kirk on Twitter @KirkMcEwen