Sterling deserves due process, but …

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver says the owner of the Los Angeles Clippers deserves “due process” to determine whether that was him making some despicably racist statements over the phone.

However …

The voice on one end of that phone conversation has to be that of Donald Sterling.,0,5276359.story#axzz308vCAjB1

How do I know that?

Because the voice has a distinctive tone. The person has a unique speech pattern. It would seem to be a sure-fire lead-pipe cinch that it belongs to Sterling, who reportedly told his girlfriend that she shouldn’t associate with African-Americans and that she shouldn’t bring them to basketball games featuring the team he’s owned for three decades.

This is an amazing, and still-developing, story.

Players throughout the NBA have expressed outrage over the racist rant overheard on that phone call. Coaches have condemned it. Owners have done so as well. The sports world is reeling over the conversation reportedly between Sterling and his girlfriend. Almost as bizarre is the fact that the girlfriend — known as V. Stiviano — is young enough to be Sterling’s granddaughter; what’s more, she’s reportedly of mixed races, half Latina and half African-American.

What has been Sterling’s response? It’s to say that he doesn’t share the view expressed by “the voice” heard on the phone. Has he denied saying them? Well, not precisely … which leads me to believe that’s him on the recording.

What, then, is to learn through “due process”? I suppose it is whether the phone conversation was spliced and edited to make it sound as though Sterling is a racist. That, too, can be determined quickly.

I don’t know what the sanctions ought to be against the owner if it turns out he said those hideous things. Can the league strip him of his ownership? Can it ban him from ever attending an NBA game in the future?

It’s incredible that the owner of a professional sports franchise with athletes comprising most African-American men would believe such things. Sadly, though, that appears to be the case.

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