In yesterday’s playoff game in Oakland against the Golden State Warriors, players for the Los Angeles Clippers wore black wrist bands, sleeves and socks in response to an alleged leaked conversation their owner, Donald Sterling, had with an estranged girlfriend. In that conversation, released to the masses by TMZ, a man, supposedly Sterling, tells his girlfriend he does not want her publicizing her association with black people, especially via her Instagram account.
Anyone with any sense, especially those connected to the Clippers organization, should know the history of Sterling and the racial allegations leveled against him in the past. So, for everyone that is acting surprised or disappointed about the leaked conversation, if indeed it is proven to be Sterling, should reevaluate themselves.
Suddenly, head coach Doc Rivers is questioning if he will return to the team next year as a result of the leaked conversation. When asked what remedy would be needed for him to return next year, “Don’t know yet. I’m just going to leave it at that,” he said, according to the Los Angeles Times.
The NBA is a very small fraternity and when individuals, such as Hall of Famer Elgin Baylor, start to levy accusations of racism, people should listen. Another former Laker that worked for Sterling had this to say, “He has a bad reputation, as far as I’m concerned. … I’m not surprised by this very much, and that’s really the most unfortunate part of this,” former NBA star Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, who worked for Sterling as a coach for the Clippers for about three months in 2000, told CNN.
In 2006 and 2003, Sterling had to settle two discrimination lawsuits, one brought against him by the federal government. In both of the cases, Sterling was ordered to pay more than $8 million combined, although denying the accusations in both instances.
While NBA Commissioner Adam Silver is calling for due process, current and former black players, are calling for maximum penalties to be doled out, including and up to Sterling being made to sell his team. Even usual suspects, Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton, are weighing in with their outdated views.
However, with all the talk of what punishment Sterling should receive, there has been virtually no talk about black players starting their own league. Only player, current or former, to entertain the idea is Larry Johnson, former UNLV standout and NBA great. On Saturday he Tweeted: “Black people your Focusing on the wrong thing. We should be focusing on having our own, Own team own League! To For Self!!’’
Guess how many top stars retweeted that? Enough said.