“You can sleep with them. 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.”
This past weekend the NBA was shocked when an audio tape of Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling making racist remarks to his girlfriend, including disparaging comments about former NBA player Magic Johnson was made public. Sterling is 80 years old and has own the team since 1981, longer than any other current owner.
The audio recording released was of a male voice (Donald Sterling) chastising his 31–year-old girlfriend Vanessa Stiviano for posting pictures of herself with black people to her Instagram account and admonishes her for wanting to be seen with black people. Sterling on the recording tells Stiviano that she can do whatever she wants in private, including having sex with black men, but should not post photos of them to the internet or bring them to any Clippers’ games.
Stiviano pointed out in the audio recording that she was black and Latina. Sterling said that was fine because she can seem like a “delicate white or delicate Latina girl.”
Stiviano’s lawyers released a statement saying the statement was part of an hour-long recording, confirming the voices were that of Stiviano and Sterling. LA Clippers President Andy Roeser said in a statement that Donald Sterling told him that Stiviano had previously said she would “get even” for a lawsuit brought by Rochelle Sterling.
Rochelle, Donald’s estranged wife of 50 years and mother of his three children, recently filed a lawsuit accusing Stiviano of embezzling $1.8 million and says that Donald used communal property to give Stiviano two Bentleys, a Ferrari, and a Range Rover.
“It bothers me a lot that you want to broadcast that you’re associating with black people. Do you have to?”
The scandal has unleashed a torrent of condemnations from celebrities and politicians including President Obama, as well as an intense focus on Sterling and his past. This is not the first time that Sterling has made racist remarks. Sterling has faced allegations of racial discrimination in the past. In November of 2009 he agreed to pay $2.73 million to settle allegations that he refused to rent apartments to Hispanics and Blacks and to families with children. In 2011, Sterling won a lawsuit brought by former Clippers general manager Elgin Baylor over the harassment and discrimination charges.
Los Angeles Clippers coach Doc Rivers had declined a chance to speak with owner Donald Sterling after the allegation.
”I was asked, do I need to talk with Donald, and I passed, quite honestly,” Rivers said. ”I don’t think right now is the time or the place, for me, at least. ”Yeah, I believe he said those things. But I still want to make sure,” Rivers said during a conference call.
”Now as far as believing those things? I heard what he said. Until someone tells me differently, you usually listen to what people say. I haven’t given him his due process. I haven’t given him an opportunity to explain himself and quite honestly right now I don’t want him to. I want to wait for that further judgment.”
The coach cancelled practice Monday, a day after a 118-97 loss to the Golden State Warriors that evened their playoff series at 2-2.
”I just felt like they needed to breathe. They’ve been inundated with this,” Rivers said earlier.
“Don’t put him [Magic Johnson] on an Instagram for the world to have to see so they have to call me. And don’t bring him to my games.”
The NBA banned Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling for life and fined him $2.5 million for racial comments made to girlfriend. The NBA will immediately begin working to try to force him to sell the team.
“The hateful opinions voiced by that of the man [on the tape] are those of Donald Sterling,” NBA commissioner Adam Silver said. “…I’m personally distraught the views expressed by Mr. Sterling came from within an institution that has historically taken such a leadership role in matters of race relations.”
As part of the ban, Sterling is not allowed “to attend any NBA games or practices, be present at any Clippers office or facility, or participate in any business or player personnel decisions involving the team.” Sterling also will be barred from attending any Board of Governors meetings and participating in any other league activity.
The fine is the maximum the NBA can issue under the NBA constitution, Silver said. Seventy-five percent of the NBA’s owners must vote to oust Sterling to force him to sell.
“I fully expect to get the support needed,” Silver said.
“Adam has the votes – all of them, I believe,” Silver said.
Several groups hoping to purchase the Clippers are already stepping forward with a bidding war expected to exceed $1 billion for the franchise, league sources told Yahoo Sports. Among those groups, Magic Johnson and Guggenheim Partners will be front and center in pursuit of the Clippers.