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The most hated man in the sports industry: Donald Sterling

After being recorded stating racist comments in a private conversation, longtime Clippers owner, Donald Sterling, was handed a lifetime ban from the National Basketball Association. Not bad, considering he’s 80 years old.

Donald Sterling and girlfriend sitting court side at a Clippers game
Photo by Ronald Martinez

N.B.A. Commissioner Adam Silver ideally wants to force Mr. Sterling to sell the Clippers; confident he will get the necessary three-quarters approval from other team owners. The team is worth an estimated $500 million. Sterling was fined a mere $2.5 million, but that’s just a small percentage of his estimated total net worth of $1.9 billion.

Sterling is treading lightly and refraining from making any public comments thus far. Nevertheless, Silver continues to proudly update the media. “The views expressed by Mr. Sterling are deeply offensive and harmful,” Mr. Silver said. “We stand together in condemning Mr. Sterling’s views. They simply have no place in the N.B.A.”

The initial controversy sparked over the weekend with the public release of Sterling’s racist comment to a female acquaintance. Apparently, he was raged by her having had taken pictures and posting them online with black men; one of them including Magic Johnson, who played his Hall of Fame career with the Los Angeles Lakers.

In recordings released by TMZ, Sterling said, “Don’t put him on Instagram for the world 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?" The female replied, “You associate with black people.” Sterling countered, “I’m not you, and you’re not me. You’re supposed to be a delicate white or a delicate Latina girl." That prompted the woman to say, "I’m a mixed girl … And you’re in love with me. And I’m black and Mexican whether you like it or not."

Commissioner Silver confirmed that the voice in the recording was Sterlings’ and that Sterling himself admitted the words to be his.

Many fellow players, coaches, owners, and celebrities have supported Mr. Silver’s decision. Even the Clippers made an inconsequential statement: “We wholeheartedly support and embrace the decision by the NBA and Commissioner Adam Silver today. Now the healing process begins.”

An obviously very distraught team, but a strong team, nevertheless. The teams website consisted of a black backdrop with the words, “We Are One.”

Clippers coach, Doc Rivers, called off the teams practice on Monday after the Golden State Warriors beat out the Clippers 118-97. He also turned down an invitation to speak with Mr. Sterling on Monday. "I was asked, do I need to talk with Donald, and I passed, quite honestly. I don't think right now is the time or the place, for me, at least. I just took a pass."

President Obama chimed in on the controversy during a news conference with Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak, “When ignorant folks want to advertise their ignorance, you don't really have to do anything, you just let them talk. That's what happened here.” Obama continued to say that Sterling’s alleged comments are an example of how "the United States continues to wrestle with the legacy of race and slavery and segregation."

The music industry followed suit in giving their comments as well. Lil Wayne, a.k.a Weezy, stated in a video recording, “F– you. That simple, that easy. If I were a Clippers fan, I wouldn’t be one any more, it’s that simple. But if I was a current Clippers player you wouldn’t see me on the court any more in that uniform.”

Snoop Dogg and Rihanna also posted videos and memes on Instagram.

This is not the first time Sterling got in trouble for racism. In 2009, the [now former] Clippers owner paid $2.76 million to settle a housing discrimination suit brought by the Justice Department representing African Americans, Latinos, and families with children.

Donald, if you’re wondering what your next move should be, I suggest you take your money, buy an island somewhere off the coast of anywhere, and live there permanently and alone.

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