Obama Denounces Clippers Owner's Alleged Racist Remarks
Racism in America is far from over. NBA owner Donald Sterling reportedly made racist comments in a tape released by TMZ Friday, and although the tape has not yet been verified, the comments caused a firestorm over the weekend. Sterling has already been denounced by LeBron James and other current and former NBA players, and the NBA has already started an investigation. By Sunday, the president himself commented on the issue.
In the audio recording, Sterling, who owns the Los Angeles Clippers, allegedly yells at a woman for appearing in an Instagram photo with Magic Johnson. That leads to a racist tirade from the voice TMZ claims belongs to Sterling. TMZ alleges that the woman is a former girlfriend of Sterling's. Clippers officials corroborate that much, saying she is the defendant in a lawsuit currently being brought against Sterling.
On the recording, the male voice tells the woman that he doesn't want her "walking with black people" and lays into Johnson himself: "Admire him, bring him here, feed him, f**k him," he tells the woman, "but don't put him on an Instagram for the world to have to see so they have to call me. And don't bring him to my games."
At a news conference before a playoff game, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said of the tape, "We intend to get to the bottom of it as quickly as possible." Sterling himself has not yet commented on the issue, but in a statement from the Clippers, the team's president writes that Sterling "feels terrible that such sentiments are being attributed to him and apologizes to anyone who might have been hurt by them." Sterling was supposed to receive a lifetime achievement award from the NAACP this week, but that's no longer the case as of Sunday.
Even President Obama has commented on the scandal. When asked about the tape on Sunday during a press conference with Malaysia's prime minister, Obama said, "When ignorant folks want to advertise their ignorance you don't really have to do anything, you just let them talk." Obama is confident that the NBA will get to the bottom of the issue but used the moment to remind listeners that racism still exists in the U.S. "That's still there, the vestiges of discrimination," he said. "We've made enormous strides, but you're going to continue to see this percolate up every so often."