NBA team owner faces strong criticism after alleged racist comments

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LOS ANGELES -- Longtime NBA team owner Donald Sterling is being roundly criticized for remarks he allegedly made regarding African-Americans that many would view as racist.

Sterling, who has owned the Los Angeles Clippers for nearly three decades, made the comments in a 10-minute argument he had with girlfriend V. Stiviano on April 9, according to TMZ, which posted the audio Saturday.

Multiple calls to the Clippers organization Saturday were not returned. CNN cannot independently verify the authenticity of the recording.

TMZ does not say who made the recording or how the celebrity-centric website obtained it.

Attempts to reach Stiviano on Saturday also were unsuccessful.

If authentic, the remarks seem to reflect Sterling's embarrassment and frustration with Stiviano over her associating with African-Americans at Clippers games and for posting such pictures on her Instagram account.

Stiviano is part African-American, according to the recording.

The man alleged to be Sterling takes particular exception to a photo she posted to Instagram with NBA icon Earvin "Magic" Johnson.

"In your lousy f**ing Instagrams, you don't have to have yourself with -- walking with black people," the man says.

"If it's white people, it's OK?" she responds. "If it was Larry Bird, would it make a difference?"

Bird, the longtime Boston Celtics star, was Johnson's NBA rival.

"I've known [Magic] well and he should be admired .... I'm just saying that it's too bad you can't admire him privately," the man on the recording says. "Admire him, bring him here, feed him, f**k him, but don't put [Magic] on an Instagram for the world to have to see so they have to call me And don't bring him to my games."

Johnson responded Saturday afternoon via his verified Twitter account.

"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" read a tweet from @MagicJohnson. "I will never go to a Clippers game again as long as Donald Sterling is the owner," read another.

The NBA weighed in as well.

"We are in the process of conducting a full investigation into the audio recording obtained by TMZ," Mike Bass, executive VP for communications, told CNN. "The remarks heard on the recording are disturbing and offensive, but at this time we have no further information."

The Clippers are set to play the Golden State Warriors in Oakland on Sunday in the fourth game in their best-of-seven playoff series.

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12 comments

  • Snarky Cosmos

    Would this even be a story if Sterling was black and made disparaging comments against whites? After all in our Politically Correct society, only whites are racist.

  • Snarky Cosmos

    Furthermore; Sterling owns the Clippers for one reason…to make money. His dark tan (black & brown) girlfriend looks to be a gold-digger and Sterling seeks to show off eye-candy half his age on his arm.

    Also his players won’t cave in to boycott pressure since they made the playoffs, and won’t give up the chance to win all the marbles.

    Regardless of race, any young player from the ‘hood would play for Sterling’s Clippers when a few million are dangled in front of them.

    I see Jesse Jackson has called for a boycott of the Clippers. Jesse and his buddy Al Sharpton profit from playing the race card, and you can bet that those two have said plenty of racist remarks against whites over the years.

    • Tricia Doran

      I absolutely agree with you. I am a 50yrld white female, parents came over from Ireland, nobody rich here. But, I will say, he was set up by that gold digger. Everybody has their feelings on different races. Truly doesnt mean that he should be ousted. Their are very few, in my opinion, black people that really and trully do not like white people. Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, we KNOW how they feel, yet they arent sanctioned. And they shouldnt be.
      We, as people, are entitled to our thoughts and feelings, right or wrong, and their are so very many people that feel the same way..about many different people. Again, right or wrong, but true.
      I am not racist. I hire people on their ability to perform the job. I have friends of all color and religion, and we all have our differences. Have we all said things, in what we thought was a private spector? Yes we have. We all have, all around the world.

      I am not even a sport fan, but I am a supporter of free speech. This was a set up, and I think its wrong to sanction this guy. Im just glad that he is older and doesnt have to live with public redicule for long.

      All people have their thoughts on others different from them, he didnt put it out there, he said it in private.

      I would really love, an honest answer, from all Clippers, all African Americans, about what they truly feel about white people… Most African Americans do not like white people, period.

      • Snarky Cosmos

        That’s one of the problems with the societal cancer called Political Correctness in that it assumes that thoughts opposing the PC dogma can be legislated out of existence. The Communists tried it and failed, along with numerous other regimes down through the ages.

        Sterling is entitled to his opinions; whether offensive or not. About the only thing Sterling perpetuated is the perception that men only think with their little heads by having a gold digging eye-candy girlfriend.

        Sterling is a billionaire, the $2.5-million fine the NBA levied against him is pocket change. Even if he’s forced to sell the team; he’ll probably get $500-million for it. The bottom line is that he still comes out smelling like a rose; just a bit wilted. His ex-girlfriend will become a footnote in basketball history in a similar vein as Monica Lewinsky, and overpaid mush mouthed snots who can only say “You know” multiple times during interviews will still play a silly game for millions of dollars per year. The fans won’t care as long as they can get their B-ball fix at the arena or on TV.

  • Jodi Allen

    I must be reading it wrong…….seems to me he has an issue with Magic Johnson not blacks in general. I do however agree that in today’s society sure seems the whites are always racist even if we aren’t……pretty pathetic!

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