Written April 29, 2014
Is anyone really surprised by the alleged recorded statements of Donald Sterling to his girlfriend? Hasn't it been well-documented that he has made racist comments such as these multiple times in the past?
TMZ has released an alleged recording of Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling going on an agitated tirade toward his girlfriend for "associating" with Black people. Even when that Black person has achieved Magic Johnson's stature. Apparently she committed the unforgivable sin, in his opinion, of posing in a photo with the NBA Hall of Famer and posting it on Instagram. This single act is what apparently brought about the ire of Sterling. He continues to verbally berate her for over 9 minutes in an ugly stream of racism and bigotry that is despicable. On the recording, Sterling claims that racism is a "culture" that we all have to live with.
At 48 seconds into the recording he asks his girlfriend who is coincidentally half Black and half Mexican: "Why are you taking pictures with minorities? "
His girlfriend asks what's wrong with minorities and what's wrong with Black people and his response is:
It bothers me a lot that you want to broadcast that you're associating with black people. Do you have to?...How about your life everyday you can do whatever you want. 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... and not to bring them to my games.
People feel certain things Hispanics feel certain things towards Blacks. Blacks feel certain things toward other groups. It's been that way historically and it will always be... 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.
Mind you, this is a representative of an NBA franchise and the face of the Clippers organization. I am sure that newly appointed Commissioner Adam Silver is not going to stand for this embarrassment of the NBA as a whole. Especially with the wonderful progress and success of NBA Cares, which is the league's global community outreach initiative, that addresses important social issues such as education, youth and family development. The NBA and its teams support a range of programs; partners and initiatives that strive to positively impact children and families worldwide. The NBA has done a wonderful job promoting the bringing together of cultures and nationalities on a global campaign of collectively embracing their differences.
This is not a reflection of those principles and tremendous efforts. The recording is vile and disgusting to say the least, but should anyone be surprised? Sterling has a documented racist history that went unchecked for sometime.
Hall of Famer and former Clippers executive Elgin Baylor's court testimony against Sterling should have revealed his character a long time ago. Baylor offered several instances of what he called team owner Donald Sterling's 'plantation mentality." He quoted Sterling's response to him suggesting they at least look at a Black coach as a candidate as Sterling unapologetically stating: "Personally I would like to have a White southern coach coaching poor Black players."
Let's not forget the discrimination lawsuit brought in 2003 against the real-estate mogul by 19 tenants and the Housing Rights Center.
Sterling was sued by the Department of Justice for housing discrimination. Allegedly, not only did he refuse to rent to non-Korean prospective tenants, but simply lied about the availability of apartment units and administered multiple preventative tactics in order to keep Blacks and Latinos from obtaining housing in his Los Angeles buildings.
In addition to lying to Black people about the availability of his Beverly Hills housing units, Sterling repeatedly professed a preference for Korean tenants. Although he settled to the tune of 2.7 million to avoid a lawsuit, he admitted no wrongdoing on his part. Guess he feels discrimination was well within his rights.
But wait there's more...
According to testimony given by property manager Summer Davenport in the discrimination lawsuit brought against Sterling in 2003:
Cultivating his image, Davenport said, meant no Blacks, no Mexican-Americans, no children (whom Sterling called "brats") and no government-housing-subsidy recipients as tenants. So according to the testimony of tenants, Sterling employees made life difficult for residents in some of his new buildings. They refused rent checks, then accused renters of nonpayment. They refused to do repairs for black tenants and harassed them with surprise inspections, threatening residents with eviction for alleged violations of building rules.
"When Sterling first bought the Ardmore, he remarked on its odor to Davenport. "That's because of all the blacks in this building, they smell, they're not clean," he said, according to Davenport's testimony. "And it's because of all of the Mexicans that just sit around and smoke and drink all day." He added: "So we have to get them out of here."
Donald Sterling should be regarded as the shame of the NBA. He is who we thought he was. Now, the ball is in the court of Commissioner Adam Silver and we will see what happens next. Hopefully he has the moral fortitude to rid the NBA of the ugliness that is Donald Sterling permanently.