Donald Sterling should step down as owner of The Los Angeles Clippers – or the NBA should force him out.
Racism in America has never been concealed, but today, six years after the historic election of President Barack Obama as the nation’s first black commander-in-chief, some citizens of this republic appear to be much more comfortable sharing their bigoted views about black people.
The now-infamous and appalling 9-and-a-half-minute racial outburst by Los Angeles Clippers owner Sterling, who seems to be an extremely hateful man, publicly scolded his girlfriend for “associating” with African Americans.
Sterling apparently snapped because his girlfriend, V. Stiviano – who is half-African-American and half-Mexican — posed for a photo with Basketball Hall of Famer Magic Johnson and uploaded the photo on Instagram.
“It bothers me a lot that you want to broadcast that you’re associating with black people. Do you have to?”
“I’m just saying, in your lousy f—ing Instagrams, you don’t have to have yourself with black people.”
“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.”
Sterling’s indefensible racial tirade came just days before he was set to be honored with a lifetime achievement award by the Los Angeles chapter of the NAACP on May 15. The Los Angeles chapter of the NAACP has, of course, announced that it will not be honoring Sterling, but Leon Jenkins, president of the Los Angeles branch of the civil rights organization, said Sterling is compassionate.
“He has a unique history of giving to the children of L.A.,” Jenkins said during a press conference Monday.
Jenkins said Sterling donates anywhere from 2,000 to 3,000 tickets a game to youth groups for nearly every Clippers home game. So what have we learned from Sterling’s racist outburst? And are we surprised? Sadly, I’m not surprised; but I am outraged at Sterling’s racist rant that revealed his deep-seeded disgust toward African Americans.
But let me get this right: Sterling owns The Los Angeles Clippers, a team that is majority black, but he doesn’t want his girlfriend to bring black men to his basketball games to watch his predominately black team? And Sterling feels it’s alright to date a woman who is half black as long as she doesn’t get too friendly with black men. It’s twisted, racist – and revealing.
The black men who play for the Clippers have made Sterling extremely wealthy but does Sterling secretly harbor racist feelings toward the black men on his team?
What other bigoted thoughts is Sterling hiding behind the curtain?
Sterling has one of the worst track records with minorities in all of sports. He is one of the largest property owners and landlords in the Los Angeles area.
According to the U.S. Justice Department, Sterling owns and manages about 119 apartment buildings and in 2006, the Justice Department sued Sterling for discrimination for excluding black tenants in favor of Korean tenants.
In 2009, the Justice Department and Sterling reached a settlement where Sterling agreed to pay a record $2.7 million. Meanwhile, during the past 24 hours, civil rights activists, black leaders and NBA players have denounced Sterling for his recent racial comments. And President Barack Obama weighed in with strong comments of his own.
“When ignorant folks want to advertise their ignorance, you don’t really have to do anything, you just let them talk,” Obama said. “The United States continues to wrestle with the legacy of race and slavery and segregation, that’s still there, the vestiges of discrimination.”
The National Basketball Players Association demanded that Sterling be barred from all playoff games this season. The players also want an explanation of what kind of discipline might be issued against Sterling. And they want – and deserve – a swift decision.
“I think that clearly the National Basketball Association must suspend him, or must say that, ‘We’re going to remove any kind of imprimatur we have on this team if he’s the owner,'” Rev. Al Sharpton said on NBC’s Meet The Press.
“You cannot have someone own an NBA team in this country and have these kind of attitudes.”
Sharpton is right. NBA Commissioner Adam Silver should discipline Sterling immediately and send a strong signal to the NBA – and the nation – that the NBA will not tolerate bigotry – especially from NBA owners.
Punish Sterling, ban him from attending his own games; suspend him; get his attention. Do it today.
What do you think?