Tag Archives: Donald Sterling

Racist rant brings right response

Donald Sterling, the former owner of the Los Angeles Clippers professional basketball team, was caught saying some hideous things about African-Americans. His response? He fought tooth and nail to keep control of his team. He failed in that effort.

Bruce Levenson, owner of the NBA’s Atlanta Hawks, has admitted to sending out racist emails two years ago. His response? He announced his intention to sell his majority interest in the Hawks, he has apologized to NBA fans everywhere and is vowing to bow out quietly.

Which man did the honorable thing?

Of course you know the answer: Bruce Levenson.

Atlanta Hawks Owner Selling Team After Admitting Racist Email

Levenson’s email reportedly said some derogatory things about African-American fans. “I’m truly embarrassed by my words in that email and I apologize to the Hawks family and all of our fans,” Levenson said in a statement. Levenson said he had “trivialized our fans by making clichéd assumptions about their interests” based on their race and ethnicity.

The NBA, which has demonstrated its zero-tolerance policy on racial matters, was quick to commend Levenson for thinking first about the NBA, the Hawks and “the Atlanta community.”

That, folks, is how you respond to an incident in which you have shamed yourself.



Cuban speaks the truth … bluntly

Mark Cuban, the owner of the Dallas Mavericks pro basketball team, can be labeled many ways.

He is brash, loud, at times brusque, occasionally inarticulate.

He is not a racist.

Thus, he is getting hammered unfairly over some remarks he made recently in the wake of the Donald Sterling brouhaha over whether Sterling uttered racist remarks in that recorded phone conversation with his gold-digging girlfriend/aide/pal V. Stiviano. Sterling did show his racist colors and the Los Angeles Clippers owner has been banned from pro basketball for the rest of his life.

Cuban popped off this week about what he’d do if he saw a young African-American male wearing a hoodie and droopy pants. He said he’d walk to other side of the street. Cuban also said he’d precisely the same thing if he saw a tattoo-marked, white kid with a shaved head and pierced jewelry stuck in his ears, nose, lips and eyebrows.


Does any of that make Cuban a racist? No.

I’m not the first to acknowledge this in print — although the thought occurred to me the moment I heard about the controversy over Cuban’s remarks — but the Rev. Jesse Jackson said virtually the same thing some years ago.

I don’t need to stipulate, but I will anyway, that Rev. Jackson is African-American and he was talking about the discomfort he feels when he encounters young black men on the street. Jackson said he doesn’t feel as safe as he does when he encounters young white men. No one in their right mind accused Jackson of being a racist then.

Mark Cuban deserves the same presumption now.

He was speaking a blunt truth about human beings. “While we all have our prejudices and bigotries, we have to learn that it’s an issue that we have to control … not just kick the problem down the road,” Cuban said.

Mark Cuban is not in the same league as Donald Sterling as it relates to racism.

No threat to freedom of speech

So … I’m watching a bit of news at work the other day when a colleague walks up and says of Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling, “I don’t think he should have to pay a damn thing for what he said. Whatever happened to freedom of speech?”

He wasn’t finished. Then he took off on the controversy over that New Hampshire police chief who called President Obama an “n-word,” and then said he wasn’t going to apologize for saying it. “He’s got a right to say what he wants,” my colleague said.

He said a bunch of other things. I chose not to engage him at that moment, as there were customers present.

I’ll answer him here.

Freedom of speech? He thinks it’s threatened by so-called “political correctness.” That’s what I got from him. If that’s the case, he’s wrong.

Donald Sterling has the right to say the things he did to his, uh, girlfriend. You know, the stuff about his disliking her hanging out with black athletes and bringing them to his basketball games. He can say those things.

The National Basketball Association to which he belongs as a team owner, however, has the right to impose certain codes of conduct upon team owners, players, coaches, ball boys and girls, and cheerleaders. Sterling broke the rules when he spouted off as he did with those reprehensible comments about African-Americans. His comments entered the public domain and the NBA has acted according to its bylaws.

It banned him for life, fined him $2.5 million and is pressuring other team owners to get him relieved of his team.

As for the n-word-spouting police chief, he also has the right to say what he said. He’s also a public official in a community that has the right to demand better of the people it pays with the taxpayer money.

The Constitution’s First Amendment isn’t in jeopardy here. It still stands. The Neanderthal cop and the sad-sack NBA team owner have just been caught saying things decent human beings shouldn’t say about other human beings.

Long live freedom of speech — and long live those who demand better of those who say disgraceful things.

Shut … up, Donald Sterling

Donald Sterling is now the living, breathing embodiment of what many of us have known for a long time.

You don’t have to be smart to be rich.

The disgraced Los Angeles Clippers owner spoke the other day to CNN’s Anderson Cooper and revealed to the world that he is as clueless as they come.


He ridiculed a professional basketball legend, Earvin “Magic” Johnson, taking note of the HIV condition to which Johnson admitted more than two decades ago. He derided Johnson’s efforts to educate the world about the illness.

Why in the world does this man continue to drag Magic Johnson’s good name through the mud?

He said he was “baited” into saying those despicable things about African-Americans to his so-called girlfriend, V. Stiviano. It’s as if she purportedly “tricked” him into revealing the poison that afflicts his heart.

None of this makes any sense.

Sterling has been banned for life from the NBA. His fellow team owners are working — quickly, it is being reported — to remove him as owner of the Clippers. Sterling’s estranged wife, Shelly, wants to keep possession of the franchise. Others have expressed interest in buying the Clippers from Sterling.

Meanwhile, Sterling likely is going to keep making idiotic statements.

The more I hear from this clown, the less interested I become in anything he has to say.

Will you please just shut the (bleep) up, Donald Sterling?

Sterling 'baited' into saying those things?

I’m going to need some help processing this “apology.”

Donald Sterling, the disgraced Los Angeles Clippers professional basketball team owner, says he’s sorry for saying those racist things to his — what shall we call her? — girlfriend/assistant/”silly rabbit.”

He said he was “baited” into uttering those disgusting remarks. Baited? Does that mean he was lured into saying things he didn’t mean? Was there some promise or payoff if he declared in a phone conversation that V. Stiviano — the said “silly rabbit” — shouldn’t be seen in public with African-Americans? Did little ol’ V. put a gun to his head and make him say those hateful things?


Well, now he tells Anderson Cooper of CNN that he’s sorry. He declares “I am not a racist,” which of course is the usual dodge from those who actually do have racist tendencies.

The National Basketball Association has banned him for life from the game. He can’t take part in any basketball-related operations; he cannot attend Clippers games; he cannot attend league meetings; he’s going to be pressured to sell his team. He’s a pariah.

The players want him gone. His fellow owners want him out.

This is a disgraceful episode that so far has produced only one bright, shining moment: the swift and decisive action by brand new NBA Commissioner Adam Silver to banish Sterling from the NBA.

The timing of the “apology” also is suspect. He was revealed to have said these things about three weeks ago — and now he offers his mea culpa?

This individual said some truly awful things. That’s no longer in doubt. There will be plenty of explanation required now to persuade many of us that he didn’t really mean what he said.

I do not believe this “apology” is going to fly.

No such thing as 'private conversation'

An old axiom is even truer in today’s world.

It is that one should never say anything that he or she doesn’t want repeated.

Welcome to the 21st century, Donald Sterling.

The Los Angeles Clippers owner has been banned from the National Basketball Association for life. NBA Commissioner Adam Silver imposed the ban and fined Sterling $2.5 million because he went off on a disgusting, racist rant in what he thought was a private conversation with his, um, girlfriend.

The rant, which has become the talk of much of Planet Earth, has consigned Sterling to a most unwelcome role of pariah. He’ll likely have to sell his team. He is no longer able to participate in any team or league activities. He’s a goner.

What does this mean, though, in terms of privacy? It means that in this world of instant communication, where everyone has a camera or a listening device, one must take the greatest care to keep from saying something he or she doesn’t want known. He likely didn’t know he was being recorded and he surely didn’t believe his girlfriend would be the one to reveal the conversation, which I am certain is the case.

Sterling went off for about an hour, telling his girlfriend he doesn’t like her associating in public with African-Americans; he said he doesn’t want her bringing African-Americans to games involving his team. He made an absolutely disgusting spectacle of himself and in the process made a hero out of Commissioner Silver, who acted decisively — and correctly — in issuing the harshest sanction possible against the team owner.

Recent history is full of examples of public figures being “outed” by people with cameras or audio recorders. For example, Mitt Romney fell victim to a recording of his infamous “47 percent” comment about Americans who vote Democratic because they depend on government. Others have had their private behavior exposed for all the world to see. They have said things they’ve later regretted.

Donald Sterling provides the latest shining example of the price one pays for speaking from the depths of his soul, which in this case has been shown to be a dark place, indeed.

Donald Sterling (cont.)

If the Donald Sterling saga continues — as I’m sure it will for some time — I am hoping it can veer toward the whole issue of race in America and the conduct not only of celebrities, but of all of us.

The National Basketball Association has banned the Los Angeles Clippers owner for life because of his hideous racist rant overheard in a phone conversation with his much younger girlfriend. NBA Commissioner Adam Silver took the bold step today and also fined Sterling $2.5 million. The owner will face immense pressure from other team owners to sell his team, presumably to someone outside his family.

That’s a good first step.

But then I heard a New York Times sports columnist, William Rhoden, take the discussion a bit farther as it relates to African-American athletes..

Rhoden, who also is African-American, called on highly paid professional athletes to begin honoring themselves by stop using the “n-word” in locker rooms. He said it’s common for these athletes to use that despicable word to each other.

Given that I am not black, I suppose I cannot quite understand why intelligent human beings would use such language … even as some kind of inside joke.

Of the many African-American friends I’ve had over many years of living, I’ve never heard any of them refer to each other with that highly pejorative term. Even in the Army back in the late 1960s, when I was bunking with black soldiers, I cannot recall a single time hearing it.

I’ll take Rhoden at his word — as well as others who’ve reported it over a great length of time — that the word can be heard in locker rooms.

Professional athletes of all racial and ethnic backgrounds have been rightly offended by what has transpired in recent days regarding the hateful speech spewed forth from this particular team owner. They’ve protested by tossing warm-up jerseys on the floor, worn black socks while competing, made statements condemning the words that came from Sterling’s mouth and called for a national discussion about race relations.

One prominent black journalist, though, made a brief point in a TV interview today that deserves to be heard over and over.

It is for African-American athletes — the targets of one team owner’s reprehensible tirade — to start speaking with respect to each other. The “n-word” must be silenced.

NBA boss earns his spurs by banishing owner

Adam Silver has been commissioner of the National Basketball Association for just a few weeks.

Today he earned his spurs, showed his chops, manned up and did quite well to punish an NBA team owner for revealing some truly disgusting views on race.

Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling has been banned from team and league activities for life; he will have to pay a $2.5 million fine and will be pressured by the NBA Board of Governors to sell his team.


That was the decision announced today by Silver … and it has drawn widespread praise from around the NBA and indeed the country. Given the terrible battering that has come over Sterling’s remarks, the league needed something off the court to cheer.

Sterling’s comments came in a phone call with his quite young girlfriend. He said he didn’t want her associating with African-Americans in public and said he doesn’t want African-Americans attending games involving the team he has owned for three decades. The sum total of the man’s tirade betrays a disgusting view of a wealthy team owner toward the vast majority of the athletes who participate in the NBA and a good many of the coaches who lead these young men in their athletic endeavors. Most of the players are black, as are a hefty number of the head coaches.

FoxSports.com reported, “Sterling still owns the team, but going forward he is immediately barred from attending any NBA games or practices, being present at any Clippers office or facility, participating in any business or player personnel decisions involving the team, or being part of any league business.”

The league cannot take the team away from the owner, but 75 percent of the league’s owners — for whom Silver works — can endorse the sanctions against him and can force Sterling to sell the team, presumably to someone who doesn’t hold this individual’s disgusting views.

And what will happen to the $2.5 million Sterling will pay? It will go toward organizations whose mission is to fight bigotry and intolerance; the NBA and its players association will select the organizations.

The action taken today by the NBA is the brightest light shining over a league thrown into turmoil. Its players have performed magnificently in light of this team owner’s bizarre rant and they deserve credit for continuing their excellence on the competitive court.

The new commissioner, though, has shown a remarkably stiff spine and an equally suitable outrage over what one of his bosses, Donald Sterling, has been caught saying out loud.

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.


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.

NBA team owner in serious trouble

Someone will have to explain this one to me … slowly.

Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling allegedly is overheard telling his girlfriend that she shouldn’t hang around with African-Americans and that she shouldn’t bring them to watch a sport dominated by, um, African-Americans. Sterling’s girlfriend also is of mixed-race heritage: half Latina, half (yep!) African-American.

Did I mention he owns a National Basketball Association team and employs African-American athletes? Oh, and it’s coached by an African-American gentleman who used to play a pretty good game of basketball himself.


I used the term “allegedly” because it hasn’t yet been determined that the man’s voice actually is that of Sterling. I’ll bet that it is. I’ll also bet that the owner actually said what’s reported he said and that a pending NBA investigation is going to result in some serious sanctions against this guy.

What a weird and astonishing story.

The Clippers are involved the NBA’s playoff season now. Their coach, Doc Rivers, said today he had a team meeting over what’s been reported and added that the Clippers remained focused on their attempt to win the NBA championship. Everyone on the team is upset at what they heard, Rivers said, but he added that the athletes are solidly committed to their mission as a team. Good for them.

As for Sterling, his rant is as hideous as it gets. The link attached to this blog reports on what he said … allegedly. I’ll let his words speak for themselves.

Sterling no doubt will say — once the NBA determines it’s his voice — that his remarks were taken “out of context,” or that he’s been “misunderstood,” or that he’s “not a racist.”

I heard the context. I understand completely what he said. And racists usually are those who deny it in the first place.