TMZ reported late Friday night that Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling was recorded telling his girlfriend to not post pictures on Instagram or other social media of her with black people. Apparently, Sterling is OK with dating a much younger woman who happens to be half-Mexican and half-black. However, he does not want her publicly associating with other people of color, as he somehow feels that will reflect poorly on him.
TMZ has the audio here. Sterling was apparently angry that his girlfriend, V. Stiviano, posted a pictue of her and Magic Johnson on Instagram. Below are transcribed excerpts of the worst parts of that conversation:
— “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)
There has been quite a reaction since TMZ posted the article. Johnson made the following statement to TMZ on Saturday morning:
“It’s a shame that Donald Sterling feels that way about African-Americans. He has a team full of amazing African-American basketball players that are working to bring a championship to Clippers fans. The Clippers also have a strong minority fan base.”
The worst part about this is that Sterling has openly flaunted his racist attitude for years without any repercussion from the NBA. Sterling has been sued by the Department of Justice in the past for housing discrimination. Apparently, he did not want to rent out his Beverly Hills and Koreatown apartments to African Americans or Hispanics. He was forced to pay a multi-million dollar settlement. Also, former general manager Elgin Baylor sued Sterling for race and age discrimination.
Last year, Jeff Pearlman recounted a story from the 1980’s, when Sterling was looking for a new coach for the Clippers. He brought in Villanova coach Rollie Massimino for an interview. Massimino ended up angrily calling then Clippers GM Paul Phipps late in the evening after Massimino met with Sterling. Here is what transpired:
According to Phipps, Massimino boarded the jet, and when he landed in Los Angeles he exited the walkway and spotted Sterling. “They met,” said Phipps, “and between 3 and 4 in the morning my phone rings.” It was an irate Massimino. “I’m sorry,” he told Phipps, “but I’d never work for that son of a bitch. Ever.”
Phipps, half asleep, sat up on his bed and asked what went wrong. “Here’s this guy,” Massimino said, “and he has this blonde bimbo with him, they have a bottle of champagne, they’re tanked. And Don looks at me and he says, ‘I wanna know why you think you can coach these niggers.'”
Massimino told Phipps he began screaming at Sterling and swore he’d rather die than become coach of the Clippers.
At this point, the NBA has to do something about Sterling. He is a complete and utter embarrassment to the league. Considering that about three-fourths of the league’s players are black, and the league’s fanbase has the largest minority share of any of the major sports leagues, it would behoove the league to move right away in punishing Sterling. To be honest, the league brought it on themselves by not addressing this issue with him previously. Sterling has felt emboldened over the years, feeling like he can say and do anything.
A message needs to be sent to him that there are repercussions for your words and actions. It will be interesting to see the direction the league takes.