Donald Sterling got caught, plain and simple. The nine minute and twenty six second audio recording of the conversation between him and his girlfriend reveals it all.
“Yea, it bothers me a lot that you want to broadcast that you’re associating with black people,” says Sterling.
His words were undoubtedly racist. He told his girlfriend that he had to “live within the culture, so that’s the way it is.”
But who can blame him? He was in the comfort of his own home, with no knowledge that he was being recorded. He had no idea that these comments would result in him being banned from the NBA for life, fined 2 million dollars, and result in having his team revoked. Besides, the NBA didn’t even give him a slap on the wrist when he was sued by 19 people for housing discrimination in 2003, why should the public care now?
They care because Sterling is no longer the owner of a laughing stock franchise that goes 28W-54L in a season. Sterling owns a powerhouse team with two of the NBA’s best players, Chris Paul and Blake Griffin, at the helm of the ship. He pays these two men, both black, millions of dollars to play basketball for his team, but then he says he is only, “living within the culture”.
His comments were delusional and did not match up with his actions, since he did not exhibit any racial discrimination towards his black players, which make up 12 out of the 14 players on the Clippers roster. Sterling was simply caught saying something stupid. This stupidity just so happened to be caught on tape. The tape was then released to TMZ by a third party, whom is unknown. The general public was able to see and hear the stupidity exhibited by Sterling, and therefore was able to pass judgement upon it, and because of this the NBA was forced to react.
Players protested against the offensive comments, fans made shirts and signs, the league banned Sterling. In Sterling’s case, his words spoke much louder than his actions, which is quite contrary to what most of us have grown up to believe.
This controversy has shown that racism is still intact within the NBA, a multi-cultural community of athletes, that expounds a large amount of resources and energy to keep incidents like this at bay.
Sterling’s racist thoughts turned into words but not actions against the NBA. His racist attitude was reflected previously with the housing discrimination case, but it was not an offense against the NBA. Once the Clippers started winning games, Sterling became an NBA bobble head. The message this whole shenanigan is portraying is odd: no consequences will be placed against racism exhibited by a person who isn’t a factor.