Monday, April 28, 2014

LA Clippers Community Unites Against Owner Donald Sterling

Over the weekend, an audio recording leaked that revealed some disturbing attitudes within the LA Clippers franchise. Owner Donald Sterling was recorded having a conversation with his girlfriend, scolding her for posting a picture on Instagram with a black person. Ironically, his girlfriend is black and Mexican and the "black person" she took a photo with was basketball legend Magic Johnson. Somehow, Sterling still found the entire situation highly upsetting. 

Although the recording is still under investigation, there is strong evidence to suggest the voice does, in fact, belong to Sterling. Most notably he says, "It bothers me a lot that you want to broadcast that you’re associating with black people. Do you have to?" He goes on to claim, "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 [Instagram] ... and not to bring them to my games." 

I suppose Sterling's wish has been granted. Magic Johnson tweeted, ".@cjbycookie [his wife] and I will never go to a Clippers game again as long as Donald Sterling is the owner." He also goes on to tweet, "I feel sorry for my friends Coach Doc Rivers and Chris Paul that they have to work for a man that feels that way about African Americans." Rivers, Paul, and a majority of the Clippers starting lineup are African American.

During yesterday's playoff game against the Golden State Warriors, the team chose to wear their warm up shirts inside out as a silent protest against the comments made by Sterling. They also maintained a united front during post-game press conferences. When asked about the purported comments, both Chris Paul and Blake Griffin chose to turn the attention back to their performances during the game. Eventually, the reporters got the hint and stuck to questions related to the playoffs.

Courtesy of Mashable
As if this story didn't have enough ironic twists and turns already, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) was planning to honor Sterling with a lifetime achievement award in May. They have since retracted it in a statement from interim president and CEO, Lorraine C. Miller, saying, "Let me make it clear, the NAACP will not be honoring Mr. Sterling at the upcoming Los Angeles branch event and we have strongly urged our Los Angeles unit to take the necessary steps to rescind the previous award they bestowed on him." 

Typically, the work of one prominent member of an organization can tarnish the entire franchise's name. However, it seems the LA Clippers have come together, and its fans have rallied behind the team in support. As President Obama stated when asked about his reaction to the recordings, "When ignorant folks want to advertise their ignorance, you don’t have to do anything, you just let them talk....The United States continues to wrestle with legacy of race and slavery and segregation. That’s still there. We’ve made enormous strides, but you’re going to continue to see this percolate up ... We have to continue denouncing it and teach our children differently."

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