Welcome to 2014. I know with conservative hero Clavin Bundy speaking eloquently on Martin Luther King and Rosa Parks, you might think is the late 1950s. Then, there’s Donald Sterling, owner of the Los Angeles Clippers, who reportedly was recorded admonishing someone for being seen with Magic Johnson, who happens to be black. So, you would be excused if you think you woke up in the middle of some KKK rally.
Let’s set the stage. Donald Sterling of the owner of the Los Angeles Clippers. The Los Angeles Clippers have a black coach. The majority of the players on the Los Angeles Clippers are black athletes. So, somehow TMZ got a recording of Donald Sterling talking with V Stinviano, who is black and Hispanic.
From TMZ –
— “It bothers me a lot that you want to broadcast that you’re associating with black people. Do you have to?” (3:30)
— “You can sleep with [black people]. You can bring them in, you can do whatever you want. The little I ask you is not to promote it on that … and not to bring them to my games.” (5:15)
— “I’m just saying, in your lousy f******* Instagrams, you don’t have to have yourself with, walking with black people.” (7:45)
— “…Don’t put him [Magic] on an Instagram for the world to have to see so they have to call me. And don’t bring him to my games.” (9:13)
Let me just say this. It is 2014. That doesn’t mean that racism is dead. We saw during the 2008 election some of the ugliness that was thrown at Barack Obama was blatant racism. Yet, in spite of racism and legitimate opposition, Barack Obama got elected; not once, but twice. Racism has not won the day. It has lost. Every now and then, because of our electronic wizardry, it is easy to record and send racist images and recordings easier than ever. So, this doesn’t surprise me. (Let me reiterate that Donald Sterling has not confirmed that his is the voice on this tape. As far as I know, the NBA is investigating and have neither confirmed nor denied that the voice on the tape is indeed Donald Sterling. What I do know is that people in the NBA are not acting surprised or shocked that these racist comments have been attributed to Donald Sterling.)
Look, outside of whatever is morally reprehensible, the NBA is a multibillion-dollar business. Millions of fans want to see good basketball. These fans have no desire to be distracted by issues of race. Look for the National Basketball Association to move quickly. They can’t let this thing linger. They can’t let this poison the playoffs. They can’t let fans organize and talk about boycotting basketball games. That hurts revenue. This is revenue season (the playoffs). I suspect that we should have definite confirmation as to whether or not the voice on the tape is Donald Sterling’s by Sunday afternoon. Once this is confirmed, look for him to be promptly suspended. The question will then be whether the NBA will expel Donald Sterling and take his team away from him for racist comments. Will a sincere apology be enough?