Unabashed Racist Donald Sterling Buried Under A Mountain Of Backlash
If Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling honestly thought he could wriggle off the hook for his latest display of blatant racism by questioning whether or not the audio first published by TMZ had been doctored, well then the past few days have probably been pretty jarring for the old man.
The backlash against Sterling was swift, and days later it’s still coming from every direction. NBA players past and present, members of the media, civil rights activists, and damn near every other decent person on Earth has condemned Sterling, his comments and everything he stands for.
Naturally, since we’re talking about decent people, that doesn’t include billionaire blowhard Donald Trump, a well known bigot himself. On Monday Trump took his magical combover over to Fox News to speak out against, you guessed it, Sterling’s “despicable” girlfriend, V. Stiviano.
You know what they say about birds of a feather—they attend Klan meetings together.
The musings of mindless idiots aside, there is no way Sterling, who has somehow survived similarly disgusting scandals in the past and emerged relatively unscathed, is going to walk away from this one with his world intact. We’re just three days into this one and the fallout is already immeasurable.
People Speaking Out
Hall of Fame great Michael Jordan said of Sterling, “I’m completely disgusted that a fellow team owner could hold such sickening and offensive views. … I’m completely outraged. … There is no room in the NBA—or anywhere else—for the kind of racism and hatred that Mr. Sterling allegedly expressed. … In a league where the majority of players are African-American, we cannot and must not tolerate discrimination at any level. ”
Heat superstar LeBron James said of Sterling, “No room for Donald Sterling in our league.”
Hall of Fame great Magic Johnson, whose photo with V. Stiviano on Instagram triggered the comments, said of Sterling, “He shouldn’t own a team anymore. … I had a friendship with him. So for him to then make these comments, or alleged comments, about myself as well as other African-Americans and minorities, there’s no place in our society for it. There’s no place in our league, because we all get along. We all play with different races of people when you’re in sports. That’s what makes sports so beautiful.”
Rapper Snoop Dogg posted this epic video to Instagram and said of Sterling, “Message to the motherfucker that owns the Clippers. You bitch-ass, redneck, white bread chickenshit motherfucker: Fuck you, your mama and everything connected to you, you racist piece of shit. Fuck you.
Rev. Al Sharpton touched on Sterling’s rant in his recent op-ed for the Huffington Post, “So Much for a ‘Post-racial’ America.”
On the ABC Halftime Show former NBA player and current ESPN analyst Jalen Rose closed out the segment by calling Sterling an “ignorant, racist bigot.”
Speaking about the controversy at a press conference in Malaysia, President Barack Obama said, “When ignorant folks want to advertise their ignorance, you don’t really have to do anything, you just let them talk.” Obama went on to make a broader point about the current state of race relations in the U.S., noting that, while enormous strides have been made, this kind of thing can “percolate up every so often.”
On the TNT halftime show, Ernie Johnson said of Sterling, “If it’s true and it’s him, there’s no place in the league for Donald Sterling in my mind.”
Jeremiah Rivers, the 26-year-old son of Clippers coach Doc Rivers, took to Twitter to vent (eloquently) about Sterling’s remarks in a series of tweets:
Referring to the calls to boycott the Clippers, Rivers stressed that overreacting to the vile words of one man by punishing the team, its players and its fans would only be compounding the hurt caused by Sterling. That is, perhaps, why the players, who staged their own silent protest over the weekend, ultimately decided to play.
And, despite what blowhards like ESPN’s Keith Olberman have to say, that’s exactly what they should’ve done.
There’s no question that Sterling’s vile, unforgivable words must have cut Clippers players like a knife, but why should they punish themselves by sitting down in the playoffs? They’ve worked hard to get to where they are and expecting them to take one for the team (and it’s not even Olberman’s team) is ludicrous.
Corporate Sponsors Jumping Ship
On Monday the Huffington Post reported that corporate sponsors began to distance themselves from the Clippers and their toxic owner. Among the companies that have already moved to end their partnership with the team are: Carmax, Virgin America, Mercedes-Benz and Chumash Casino Resort.
Corona, State Farm, Kia, AQUAhydrate, Sprint, Lumber Liquidators and LoanMart have all reportedly suspending their sponsorships of the team. Considering Sterling’s situation is only going to get worse as things snowball, suspension may very well just be the first step before ultimate termination.
Forthcoming League Discipline
The final piece of this scandal is what many have said is NBA commissioner Adam Silver’s first real test since taking the reigns from David Stern. Silver has yet to slap Sterling with whatever he’s got coming—likely a hefty fine and substantial suspension—but he immediately launched an investigation and has prohibited the owner from attending home games in the meantime.
Considering the weight and wide-reaching nature of this scandal, Silver is going to have to take this test with the collective gaze of the sports world centered solely on him. No pressure or anything.