If owner of Clippers is on that tape, NBA should force him out
By MARY MITCHELL April 28, 2014 7:40PM
In this photo taken on Friday, Oct. 25, 2013, Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling, center, and V. Stiviano, right, watch the Clippers play the Sacramento Kings during the first half of an NBA basketball game, in Los Angeles | AP file photo
Updated: May 30, 2014 6:25AM
There’s no fool like an old fool.
Los Angeles Clippers’ owner Donald Sterling is the latest old fool to illustrate this point.
Besides running around with a woman who looks young enough to be his granddaughter, Sterling allegedly was recorded making racially offensive comments in a telephone conversation with the girlfriend.
In a recording released by the TMZ gossip website last weekend, the billionaire chastised V. Stiviano for posting a photograph she took with Magic Johnson on Instagram.
Additionally, Sterling allegedly asked Stiviano not to bring black people to his games, and told the young woman, who is of black and Mexican descent, not to broadcast her association with black people.
Outrage over Sterling’s prejudiced remarks resonated all the way to Malaysia, where reporters were covering President Barack Obama’s meeting with the Malaysian prime minister.
“When ignorant folks want to advertise their ignorance, you don’t really have to do anything, you just let them talk,” Obama said.
Despite promising to move swiftly, on Monday afternoon, NBA officials were still trying to confirm that the voice on the tape is really Sterling’s.
Meanwhile, several NBA heavy-hitters have weighed in on social media and in interviews with concerns about Sterling continuing as an NBA owner.
“We cannot have an NBA owner discriminating against the league. We’re a black league,” Charles Barkley said on CNN.
The Los Angeles chapter of the NAACP has rescinded its decision to give Sterling a “lifetime” achievement award. And the Rev. Al Sharpton, president of National Action Network, is urging sponsors of the professional sports team to pause advertising support.
Ironically, civil rights leaders have complained for decades that white owners of the NBA teams treat the predominantly black players as if they were still on a plantation.
The racist attitude expressed on the recording validates that charge.
“I support them and give them food, and clothes, and cars, and houses. Who gives it to them? Does someone else give it to them?” Sterling allegedly asked in the recording.
That’s a slave-owner mentality.
And it is the same mentality that Cliven Bundy, the wealthy white Nevada rancher, expressed when he suggested that black people might have been better off as slaves.
“They abort their young children, they put their young men in jail, because they never learned how to pick cotton. And I’ve often wondered, are they better off as slaves, picking cotton and having a family life and doing things, or are they better off under government subsidy?” Bundy said, according to the New York Times.
Bundy, the patriarch of a large Mormon clan, obviously didn’t study black history and apparently didn’t see “12 Years A Slave.”
If he had done either, he would know how grossly offensive his comments were.
But like Sterling, Bundy is a wealthy white man who takes his privileged status in America for granted.
Frankly, I’m wondering why Bundy isn’t behind bars by now.
After all, young black men are thrown into jail every day for things like owing back child support and getting into confrontations with police.
But Bundy, who owes $1.1 million in unpaid grazing fees to the Bureau of Land Management, is out leading an armed militia in a standoff that could have turned deadly.
The government should have handled Bundy already.
As for Sterling, if it is his voice on the recording, he should be forced out as the owner of a professional sports team because apparently he secretly loathes black people, even the ones putting money in his pocket.
In a pregame protest on Sunday, the Clippers players turned their shirts inside out to hide the logo — a weak response to a grotesque offense.
If NBA officials hand down a tepid punishment that lets Sterling off the hook, black players need to find their way off this plantation.