Obama and Michael Jordan Criticize Racist NBA Owner
The alleged racist comments of NBA Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling sparked condemnation on Sunday from NBA legends Michael Jordan and Earvin "Magic" Johnson, as well as from US President Barack Obama.
Johnson was the subject of several of the racist remarks allegedly made by Sterling in recordings that were released on the websites Deadspin and TMZ, in which Sterling supposedly tells his girlfriend V. Stiviano not to bring "blacks" to his NBA games.
Stiviano's lawyer on Sunday said his client did not release the tape to the news media, but that he understood that the recordings "of Mr. Donald T. Sterling and Ms. Stiviano (are) in fact legitimate."
Sterling is allegedly heard criticizing Stiviano in the recordings for posting pictures of herself with African-Americans, including Johnson, on her Instagram account, reports CNN.
"In your lousy (expletive) Instagrams, you don't have to have yourself with - walking with black people," Sterling allegedly says in the recording. Speaking of Johnson, he adds "admire him, bring him here, feed him, (expletive) him, but don't put (Magic) on an Instagram for the world to have to see so they have to call me. And don't bring him to my games."
In response to the leaked recordings, Johnson said "he shouldn't own a team any more. And he should stand up and say, 'I don't want to own a team any more.'"
"I had a friendship with (Sterling). 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," added Johnson. "We all play with different races of people when you're in sports. That's what makes sports so beautiful."
Obama - "let the ignorant talk"
Obama added his condemnation on Sunday, saying "when ignorant folks want to advertise their ignorance, you don't really have to do anything, you just let them talk. That's what happened here."
The alleged comments are an example of how "the United States continues to wrestle with the legacy of race and slavery and segregation," according to Obama.
Jordan, considered by many to be the greatest NBA player of all time, noted his indignation at the comments, both as a former player and as the current majority owner of the Charlotte Bobcats.
"As an owner, I'm obviously disgusted that a fellow team owner could hold such sickening and offensive views... As a former player, 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," stated Jordan.
The basketball legend added "I am appalled that this type of ignorance still exists within our country and at the highest levels of our sport. In a league where the majority of players are African-American, we cannot and must not tolerate discrimination at any level."
An investigation is currently attempting to verify the recordings, amid calls for punitive actions against Sterling.
"Blacks treated like dogs" in Israel?
One of the more bizarre comments in the recordings is an unfounded attack of Israel, in which Sterling somehow attempts to justify his racist views by claiming that Ethiopian Jews in Israel are discriminated against.
"It's the world! You go to Israel, the blacks are just treated like dogs," Sterling allegedly says in the tape.
When asked whether "black Jews are less than white Jews," Sterling reportedly answers "a hundred percent, fifty, a hundred percent."
After telling Stiviano not to "bring black people" to his NBA games, Sterling is asked "do you know that you have a whole team that's black, that plays for you?"
In response, Sterling allegedly says "you just, do I know? 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? ...Do I make the game, or do they make the game? Is there 30 owners, that created the league?"
A case of revenge?
Clippers President Andy Roeser suggested on Saturday that Stiviano was "getting even" with Sterling over a lawsuit, without mentioning Stiviano by name.
Sterling's wife Rochelle filed a lawsuit against Stiviano last month, charging that the woman was having an affair with her husband.
In the complaint, Rochelle accused Stiviano of targeting very wealthy older men. She claimed that her husband used their money to buy Stiviano a Ferrari, two Bentleys, and a Range Rover.
Rochelle further charged that Stiviano received a duplex worth $1.8 million through fraud, in addition to roughly $250,000 in cash from Sterling.