By Pete Moye’
Asinine is defined by Merriam-Webster’s dictionary as “extremely or utterly foolish…of relating to, or resembling an ass.”
All I can hope for now is that they add a large picture of Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling right next to it for his comments about African-Americans.
Saturday, TMZ released an audio record of an alleged exchange between Sterling and his girlfriend, V. Stiviano, in which Sterling had a problem with her associating with black people.
Prior to the encounter, Stiviano posted a picture of herself and NBA legend Magic Johnson on Instagram. The photo has since been deleted.
Sterling’s comments included “It bothers me a lot that you want to promo… broadcast that you’re associating with black people,” and “don’t bring black people to my games.”
President of the Clippers, Andy Roeser, released a statement saying “…we do know that the woman on the tape – who we believe released it to TMZ – is the defendant in a lawsuit brought by the Sterling family alleging that she embezzled more than $1.8 million, who told Mr. Sterling that she would ‘get even.’”
Sterling’s comments were bigoted and raise a huge question for concern. While the conversation may have been intended to private, it should raise some questions about his choice in being an owner of a team in this league.
According to racial equality activist, Richard Lapchick, in 2011 the NBA was composed of 78 percent black person, highest percentage for any major professional sporting league in North America.
12 of the 14 players on the team’s roster identify themselves as African American, in addition to head coach Doc Rivers. Chris Paul, team captain and current president of the NBA Players’ Association, has chosen to keep his team’s mindset focused on the playoffs saying, “[a]s players, we owe it to our teams and our fans to keep our focus on our game, the playoffs, and the drive to the Finals.”
The Clippers currently have a 2-1 series lead over the Golden State Warriors in the opening round of the NBA players.
Sterling, who is of Jewish decent, was born in Chicago, Ill. before moving to the Boyle Heights area of Los Angeles when he was a toddler.
Sterling has owned the Clippers since 1981 and acquired them for $12.5 million. As of 2014, Forbes magazine valued the team at $575 million, ranking them eighteen out of thirty teams in the NBA.
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver plans to address the matter tonight.
This isn’t Sterling’s first situation dealing with racism.
In August 2006, the U.S. Department of Justice sued Sterling for housing discrimination in using race as a factor in filling some of his apartment buildings, charging that he refused to rent to non-Koreans in the Koreatown neighborhood and to African Americans in Beverly Hills.
The suit alleged that he once said he did not like to rent to Hispanics because they “smoke, drink and just hang around the building,” and that “Black tenants smell and attract vermin.”
A November 2009, ESPN report shows that he agreed to a $2.73 million settlement.
While going through that case, he was sued in February 2009 by former Clippers executive Elgin Baylor for employment discrimination. Sterling allegedly told Baylor he wanted to fill his team with “poor black boys from the South and a white head coach.”
Ironically enough, Sterling is expected to receive his second lifetime achievement award in May for the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.
The NBA needs to make a strong move to remove him from this league and fast. There’s no acceptable reason for such a huge global business to tolerate such a blatant action of racism period.
Pete Moye’ is a junior majoring in communication. You can email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.