Well, by now you’ve heard about the comments made by Clippers’ longtime owner (currently the longest tenured NBA owner with the passing of the Lakers’ Jim Buss), Donald Sterling. If you haven’t, Sterling has been in the news for his alleged racist comments towards African-Americans and ignorance. Sterling has had ownership over the Clippers since 1981. He bought the franchise for $12.5 Million and the franchise is now worth $575 Million according to Forbes Magazine. Though he has done a lot to put the Clippers in a position for success over the last five years, he has also had a constant flurry of controversial and truly gross and despicable statements that should be made public. Individuals affected by these comments range from NBA players, normal civilians, other members of NBA ownerships and executives, and even former NBA legends such as Magic Johnson. Let’s take a look at the comments he’s made previously that can and should be considered racist. I will not be using the n-word even while quoting, though, be aware they are prevalent in a large amount of quotes said by Sterling.
“I wanna know why you think you can coach these [n-words].” (1983…said while questioning possible coaching candidate Rollie Massimino)
“That’s because of all the blacks in this building, they smell, they’re not clean…Is she one of those black people that stink? Just evict that bitch.” (2002)
“And it’s because of all the Mexicans that just sit around and smoke all day. I don’t like Mexican men because they smoke, drink and just hang around the house.” (2002)
“I’m offering a lot of money for a poor black kid.” (On former number one pick Danny Manning)
“I don’t have to spend any more money on them, they will take whatever conditions I give them and still pay the rent.” (On Koreans)
He wanted a “Southern Plantation type structure” and wanted to have “poor black boys from the South playing for a white head coach.” (Said by NBA Hall of Famer and former Clippers Executive Elgin Baylor)
“I just stopped liking basketball. And then you dribbling down the court and having the owner like cuss at you and call you an idiot. I didn’t even look forward to coming to the games, and if the owner [Donald Sterling] came to the game, I definitely was not gonna have a good game because it was just like, how do you play when the main heckler in the gym is the owner of the team, and he’s telling you how much he hates you and calling out your name?” (Baron Davis)
“Yeah, it bothers me a lot that you want to promo, broadcast that you’re associating with black people. Do you have to?” (Sterling to his girlfriend in regards to a photo she put of Magic Johnson at a Clippers game)
These quotes above should give a decent idea about Sterling’s racism through the years. As the Clippers are in a brutal series with new rivals Golden State Warriors, now a new distraction has been created in the locker room and beyond.
A tape, likely released by his (at the time) girlfriend, was made public recently in which he criticized her for publicly expressing that her friends were African-American and posting pictures to Instagram of her with African-Americans at Staples Center during Clipper games. The main person who Sterling spoke about was Magic Johnson. Sterling was outraged that Johnson was at the Clipper game and that his girlfriend was proud and excited enough to take a picture with him. It’s worth noting that Sterling’s girlfriend is half African-American and half Mexican. Johnson has since announced he will never attend another Clipper game while Sterling is the owner.
Other shameful situations have come up where Sterling has brought women into the locker room after games and put the player’s bodies on display remarking their “beautiful black bodies.” In 2011 during Black History Month, Sterling put out a promotion giving free tickets to over 1000 under privileged children directly relating them to African-Americans.
As more stories become popular and more tapes are rumored to be released soon (according to Stephen A. Smith), the NBA will have to find the right way to deal with the issue. In the past, former NBA commissioner David Stern hasn’t done much to discipline the owner but with Adam Silver having stepped in just a few months ago, this can be a defining moment to solidify Silver’s reputation and gain him some fans. Though Sterling is the owner and can’t be fired, the NBA can strip him of his position or force him to sell the team. Silver can also suspend him from his position as a more temporary solution. The NBPA (National Basketball Players’ Association) has announced they will not let this slide by so it’s a must for Adam Silver to act on this. He is scheduled to be in attendance in tonight’s Clippers/Warriors playoff game.
The Clippers had a players only meeting last night but the results of that are unknown other than the fact that the players on the team are outraged and furious. Twelve of the Clippers’ fourteen players are African-American and so is their newly hired head coach Doc Rivers.
People have proposed the Clippers protest their owner by not playing and ultimately not earning Sterling his money but the players believe that they play the game and win for the city, the fans, and themselves, not for their owner.
Sorry Mr. Sterling, you’re in 2014 not 1814. Hopefully your comments get the discipline and backlash they deserve because they truly are sick and disheartening. How you got an NAACP Lifetime Achievement award a couple years ago? I don’t know. All I know is your comments are disgusting.
Written by Rahul Lal
Quotes from Ball Is Life and Deadspin