By Julissa Catalan
Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling’s true racist colors have been revealed, all thanks to an audio recording.
In a 15-minute recorded conversation released by TMZ, Sterling is heard arguing with his girlfriend, V. Stiviano, about her posting a photo on Instagram of herself with basketball legend Magic Johnson.
Among the many racist comments, he said:
“Don’t put him [Magic Johnson] on an Instagram for the world to have to see so they have to call me. And don’t bring him to my games.”
“It bothers me a lot that you want to broadcast that you’re associating with Black people. Do you have to”
“I’m just saying, in your lousy f******* Instagrams, you don’t have to have yourself with, walking with Black people.”
“You can sleep with Black people. You can bring them in, you can do whatever you want. The little I ask you is not to promote it on that … and not to bring them to my games.”
Stiviano goes on to remind Sterling that she is in fact ‘mixed’of Black and Mexican decentthough Sterling refers to her as white before eventually calling her Latina. She also reminds him that most of the players on his team are Black.
Listen to the entire conversation here:
Though the authenticity of the recording has not been confirmed by anyone in Sterling’s camp, Stiviano’s attorney confirms that that is her voice.
“This office understands that the currently released audio tape of approximately 15 minutes is a portion of approximately one (1) hour of overall audio recording of Mr. Donald T. Sterling and Ms. Stiviano, and is in fact legitimate,” Mac E. Nehoray said in a news release. “Ms. Stiviano did not release the tape(s) to any news media.”
The response has been swift: Everyone from fans to National Basketball Association players to President Obama have expressed their disgust over Sterling’s comments since the recording was first released.
At Sunday’s game, Clippers players staged a silent protest by wearing their pregame warmup jerseys inside out, so the team name was not visible, and throwing their warmup jackets in a pile at midcourt. They went on to play the game with their regular uniforms, but also wore black wristbands and socks as part of the protest.
The NBA is conducting an investigation and will hold a news conference on Tuesday. The NBA Players Association is also calling for an investigation and demanding discipline.
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said he received a promise from Sterling that he would not attend the team’s playoff games.
Magic Johnson publicly addressed the scandal in an interview with ESPN, saying, “I had a friendship with him, 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. There’s no place in our league, because we all get along. We all play with different races of people when you’re in sports. That’s what makes sports so beautiful.”
Watch the rest of the interview here:
Hall of FamerturnedCharlotte Bobcats owner Michael Jordan also released a statement addressing Sterling, saying, “I look at this from two perspectivesas a current owner and as a former player. As an owner, I’m obviously disgusted that a fellow team owner could hold such sickening and offensive views. I’m confident that Adam Silver will make a full investigation and take appropriate action quickly.
As a former player, I’m completely outraged. There is no room in the NBAor anywhere elsefor the kind of racism and hatred that Mr. Sterling allegedly expressed. 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.”
When asked for a reaction on Sterling’s comments, President Obama called them “incredibly offensive racist statements.”
“When ignorant folks want to advertise their ignorance, you don’t really have to do anything, you just let them talk,” Obama said, adding that “the United States continues to wrestle with the legacy of race and slavery and segregation. That’s still there, the vestiges of discrimination. We’ve made enormous strides, but you’re going to continue to see this percolate up every so often.”
The Los Angeles branch of the NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People) was scheduled to award Sterling with a lifetime achievement award at its 100th anniversary banquet on May 15. After the recording surfaced, the NAACP announced via Twitter that he will no longer be honored at the event.
NAACP (@NAACP) April 27, 2014
Sterling was already honored by the Los Angeles NAACP in 2009, around the same time that an ESPN The Magazine expos on Sterling revealed his racist, sexist history.
Sterling has been sued at least twice for allegedly refusing to rent apartments to Blacks and LatinosSterling has made the majority of his estimated $1.9 billion fortune through real estatewith at least some of the lawsuits being settled out of court. He was also sued by former Clippers General Manager Elgin Baylor for age and race discrimination. He later dropped the race accusation and a jury sided with Sterling on the age accusation.
There have also settlementslikely large ones, if the multimillion-dollar legal fees are any indicationin sexual harassment lawsuits brought against Sterling.