In the midst of their first round playoff series against the Golden State Warriors, the Los Angeles Clippers have found themselves at the center of a media firestorm after audio recordings allegedly featuring team owner Donald Sterling spewing racist remarks surfaced. In the audio obtained by celebrity-gossip website TMZ and Deadspin, Sterling repeatedly asks his girlfriend V. Stiviano, who is both black and Mexican, why she posts pictures of herself online with “minorities” like NBA legend Magic Johnson and instructs her “not to bring [black people] to [his] games.”
“It bothers me a lot that you want to broadcast that you’re associating with black people. Do you have to,” Sterling allegedly asks. “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.”
Listen to the audio recording TMZ released on Friday below:
On Sunday, Deadspin released additional audio of the alleged conversation between Sterling and his girlfriend.
“Do you know that you have a whole team that's black, that plays for you,” Stiviano allegedly asks.
“You just, do I know? I support them and give them food, and clothes, and cars, and houses,” Sterling responds. “Who gives it to them? Does someone else give it to them? Do I know that I have—Who makes the game? Do I make the game, or do they make the game? Is there 30 owners, that created the league?”
Listen to the complete audio via Deadspin HERE.
On radio this morning, Pat and Stu played some of Sterling’s comments and discussed what the next steps will be. While many are calling for Sterling to be forced out of the league, Pat and Stu argued against the ouster.
“We could sit here and make fun of it. I think that's the appropriate way to handle something like this,” Stu said. “You know, people are going to further extent. People are saying his team should be taken away from him. Now, I'm sorry, as far as I'm aware, being racist in a private conversation does not mean the things you've purchased you lose ownership to them.”
“And it's not against the law,” Pat added. “It's awful. I don't want to hang out with the guy. He's obviously a terrible human being in many respects.”
The audio is being investigated by the NBA, and in a statement to ESPN, NBA spokesman Mike Bass said that the remarks heard on the recording are both “disturbing and offensive.” Furthermore, Magic Johnson and others have taken to social media to vow to never attend another Clippers game as long as Sterling as at the helm.
.@cjbycookie and I will never go to a Clippers game again as long as Donald Sterling is the owner.— Earvin Magic Johnson (@MagicJohnson) April 26, 2014
“Here's the weird thing. Magic Johnson is saying that black fans should boycott Clippers games. But the black players on the Clippers should not boycott the Clippers games. Well, isn't that a little hypocritical,” Pat asked. “He doesn't want to cause problems for his friends who play basketball and earn their living that way. And I don't blame them. I wouldn't either. But that's stupid line to draw. I mean if you really want to make a statement, then the players who are making the millions are the ones who should boycott the games. Then you've made a statement.”
Stu likened the situation to Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy’s racially charged remarks. While the sentiments he expressed were certainly offensive, no one is suggesting his land be taken away from his as a result. In the case of Sterling, he is probably not best suited to own an NBA franchise given his opinion. But whether or not he decides to leave the league should be his decision.
“You could make the point, he shouldn't own an NBA team. And I would say, you know what, he shouldn't. Why does he even want to be involved in this league if this is the way he feels about black people,” Stu concluded. “But to say he can't be an owner is another line I didn't know existed. I'm completely fine with this guy being out of the league. But it needs to be something that he does on his own. You can't take away someone's possessions because of the fact he has horrible opinions in his private life… That's a weird line to start jumping all over no matter how bad the comments are.”
Front page image courtesy of the AP