As you may have heard by now, Clippers owner Donald Sterling was recorded making racist and all around stupid comments to his girlfriend, which she released to TMZ. In the recording, Donald discusses a picture she posted to her Instagram account with NBA legend Magic Johnson, asking her not to “broadcast her association with black people” or bring them to Clipper games. Sterling tells her she can do whatever she wants with minorities, even sleep with them, as long as it’s all private. Yes, this is an actual owner of a professional sports franchise in 2014.
Not surprisingly, this story has lead to a public outcry against Sterling. I’m not sure why Sterling’s racism has all of a sudden become a problem, when the public has known what an abhorrent person he has been for years. Sterling settled out of court in 2005 as part of a housing discrimination lawsuit, in which he was found to have evicted Blacks and Hispanics from the housing complexes he owns. Sterling was also sued by former employee Elgin Baylor, also an NBA legend, for discrimination in 2009. Racism isn’t Donald’s only issue, as he’s simply just a bad person. In 2004, Clippers assistant coach Kim Hughes needed surgery for Cancer, which Sterling wouldn’t pay for, despite being a billionaire, because it would set a poor precedent for providing for employees who weren’t covered by their health care. Seriously. Luckily Clippers players Elton Brand, Corey Maggette, Chris Kaman, and Marko Jaric footed the bill for their coach in a truly touching gesture.
It’s not even like Sterling has been a good NBA owner. The Clippers have notoriously been doormats of the NBA for decades, save for the last couple of years, routinely used as punchlines in talk show fodder. Not that it would matter if he was a good owner, racism is racism and it shouldn’t be tolerated, but seriously what is this guy still doing hanging around? Allowing Sterling to own a team in a league that prides itself on being progressive and accepting is both hypocritical and offensive to anyone with a brain. This is the same league who employees Jason Collins, who courageously announced his sexuality to the world and went right back to playing the game he loves. The responsibility to punish Sterling doesn’t fall on the Clippers players, it falls on the NBA.
All eyes will be on new commissioner Adam Silver, who will reportedly hold a press conference tonight. I understand Silver probably can’t and won’t remove Sterling as a team owner, but that doesn’t mean he can’t hammer him until he bleeds. Take him for as much money as allowed in fines, suspend him, condemn him, and make an example of him. There is no place for a miserable, ignorant old man like Sterling in the NBA, and the league will be a better place when he’s gone. After decades of laughable, inept control of the Clippers and routine mistreatment of subordinates, let’s be done with this pig once and for all.