President Barack Obama, Miami Heat star LeBron James and NBA legend Michael Jordan condemned Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling for allegedly making racist remarks in a taped conversation with his girlfriend.
President Barack Obama on Sunday described comments reportedly made by the owner of the Los Angeles Clippers “incredibly offensive racist statements,” before casting them as part of a continuing legacy of slavery and segregation that Americans must vigilantly fight.
“When ignorant folks want to advertise their ignorance, you don’t really have to do anything, you just let them talk,” Obama said when asked to respond to Donald Sterling’s reported comments.
“The United States continues to wrestle with the legacy of race and slavery and segregation, that’s still there, the vestiges of discrimination,” Obama said during a news conference in Malaysia, where he was traveling.
Sterling has owned the Clippers since 1981, when they were based in San Diego. James, an iconic Miami Heat star, called on NBA commissioner Adam Silver to take aggressive measures in light of the conversation. “There is no room for Donald Sterling in our league,” James said.
“Obviously, the NBA is a league that is beloved by fans all across the country,” Obama said. “It’s got an awful lot of African-American players. It’s steeped in African-American culture. And I suspect that the NBA is going to be deeply concerned in resolving this.
In the recording attributed to Sterling recording and posted on the website TMZ, the male voice doesn’t want his girlfriend, V. Stiviano, to bring black people to games.
“It bothers me a lot that you want to broadcast that you’re associating with black people,” he is heard saying. “Do you have to?”
Stiviano says that all she did was take a picture with someone she admires. “I think the fact that you admire [Magic] — I’ve known him well, and he should be admired,” Sterling replies.
“And I’m just saying that it’s too bad you can’t admire him privately. And during your ENTIRE FUCKING LIFE, your whole life, admire him – bring him here, feed him, fuck him, I don’t care. You can do anything. But don’t put him on an Instagram for the world to see so they have to call me. And don’t bring him to my games. OK?”
Following the scandal, Clippers players organized some kind of a protest against Sterling’s racist remarks, as on Sunday afternoon for their playoff game against the Golden Warriors the players wore red T-shirts inside out to obscure any team logo.
“We’re going to be one, everything we do, we do it together,” Clippers point guard Chris Paul told Arash Markazi of ESPN Los Angeles. “Stay together, play ball.”
Later, the team huddled at center ORACLE Arena in Oakland, and all stripped off their shooting shirts to reveal their inside-out red warm-up shirts. Players also wore black wristbands or armbands. They all wore black socks with their normal jerseys.
Alice Huffman, president of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People’s California State Conference, said in a statement on Saturday that “if these allegations are proven true, we are extremely disappointed in Mr. Sterling.”
“Recent remarks like these, and those of Cliven Bundy, remind us that racism is not a footnote of our past, but a reality of our present that we must confront head on,” Huffman added.