Why Everyone’s Talking About: Donald Sterling

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Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling hit headlines this week after alleged racist remarks were released online. Frances comments on why we should be talking about the leaked clip

Donald Sterling and girlfriend

Last weekend, a conversation allegedly took place between a major basketball team owner, Donald Sterling and his girlfriend Vivian Stiviano. The results were released for the world to hear – and they weren’t good.  Hollywood gossip site TMZ, leaked the audio of the conversation, and since, the Twittersphere and beyond has gone crazy. The audio is  just under 10 minutes long, and  hears Sterling of the Los Angles Clippers make some very racist remarks.

The lack of media attention up until yesterday of said clip caused me to question its authenticity. Why hadn’t the mainstream media picked this up because the social networks had gone cray! Seriously, everyone from Kevin Hart to Lil Wayne were tweeting their outrage, calling for the NBA to take a stand.

So what’s the 411? It seems Sterling’s girlfriend posted a photo of herself, Magic Johnson and a friend online – which has since been deleted. Sterling was not happy with this at all. In the recording, the man who is believed to be Donald Sterling says: “Yeah, it bothers me a lot that you want to broadcast that you’re associated with black people. Do you have to?”

What I found astonishing were her responses. Her argument was that she was in fact part black. Hold oN,  racist clippers owner doesn’t want black people at his games but his girlfriend is mixed with black?!

Magic Johnson photo

He says in the recording: “How about your whole life, everyday, you could do whatever you want … The little I ask you is not to promote it on that and not to bring them to any game.”

It doesn’t make any sense whatsoever, which is unsurprising really, because racism rarely does. She doesn’t seem shocked by his remarks and what’s worrying, is that it almost seems as if they’ve had this conversation before.

Sterling defends his comments and doesn’t think they are racist at all. He says: “We don’t evaluate what is right and wrong. We live in a society, we live in a culture. We have to live within that culture.”

I think Sterling thinks he’s running some sort of charity. He goes on:

“I support them and give them food and clothes and cars and houses. Who gives it to them? Does someone else give it to them?”

Personally what threw me off was learning that Mr. Sterling was Jewish himself. I felt he should understand what hatred of a particular group of people leads to and what suffering it causes. When the female voice challenges his views using the holocaust he calls her a “mental case” for daring to compare it.

He is not the first person to have a problem with ethnic minorities yet profit from them, that thinking goes all the way back to the times of slavery. Unfortunately he won’t be the last.

Since then, many have come forward with reactions from the clip.

Magic Johnson tweeted: I will never go to a Clippers game again as long as Donald Sterling is the owner.

 Even Weezy has a reaction video slowly gaining popularity.

Sterling has made no comment since the recording expose but if he thinks it’s going to fizzle away and die he can think again. If it wasn’t enough that he has all these high profile celebs on his case he’s now got the world leader talking about it. Yes you guessed it: Barack Obama.

In a press conference in Malaysia he deemed it “incredibly offensive.” He added: “I have confidence that the NBA will address this.” Describing basketball as a game “steeped in African American culture.”

The clippers players warmed up with their shirts inside out before their playoff game against the Golden State Warriors on Sunday. The silent protest was a sign that showed they were not ignoring the allegations, which I thought, was a smart first move. I don’t think they should boycott until there is substantial evidence that it is  Sterling on the recording. After all, there’s no need to jeopardise their career over something that could come back false.

If it is true (and I have a gut feeling that it is) I want to see him removed from his position quickly because if he isn’t replaced and I were a Clippers player, all the money in the world could not get me back on that court, knowing how my club owner felt about my heritage. You cannot put a price on my pride or my morals. If the other players had any sense they will support their team members by doing the same regardless of their background.

An investigation is now taking place and if Sterling is found guilty it could see the Clippers owner ousted. It will be interesting to see how this pans out.

Photo of Magic Johnson and Vivian Stiviano credited to TMZ.


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