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If NBA investigation finds these are Donald Sterling’s comments it is time for NBA to finally act.

Apr 26, 2014, 1:59 PM EDT

Donald Sterling Donald Sterling

For years, former commissioner David Stern and the other owners of NBA teams have stood around while Donald Sterling has been an embarrassment to the NBA. They enabled him. Sterling paid the largest fine in American government history for housing discrimination. The stories of his racist actions and comments are extensive and legendary. He ran his team for a profit not to win, at least until recently. Through it all the league did nothing.

Now TMZ has audio allegedly of Sterling arguing with his girlfriend, because she put on her Instagram account a picture of her with Magic Johnson when she met him (she soon after took it down). The audio is hard to listen to it is so disgusting, but here are a few “highlights.”

“It bothers me a lot that you want to broadcast that you’re associating with black people. Do you have to?”

“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.”

“I’m just saying, in your lousy f******* Instagrams, you don’t have to have yourself with, walking with black people.”

“…Don’t put him [Magic] on an Instagram for the world to have to see so they have to call me. And don’t bring him to my games.”

Sterling comes off as sad, and the kind of racist in a suit (to quote Henry Aaron) who doesn’t want to discuss his issues but will act on them in private.

The NBA is investigating, said NBA Executive Vice President of Communications Mike Bass.

“We are in the process of conducting a full investigation into the audio recording obtained by TMZ. The remarks heard on the recording are disturbing and offensive, but at this time we have no further information.”

Current commissioner Adam Silver was already slated to address the media in Memphis before the Grizzlies face the Thunder. He will certainly address this, although I’d be surprised if he said much at this point, he’s a lawyer and guarded.

Magic Johnson responded on twitter saying Donald Sterling will get his wish.

If the investigation shows this is Sterling saying these vile things, the NBA finally needs to act. Decisively.

This isn’t on the players to act, this is on the league, on the other owners of teams (who tend not to want to punish their own, less that boomerang back on them someday). Owning a team does not award the right to say anything you want, do anything you want without repercussions. Sterling has been enabled by the NBA ownership and league office for too long, it is time for that to end. It is time for the league to back up it’s rhetoric and say that this behavior is unacceptable for any person.

RELATED: Enabling Sterling must stop, writes Joe Posnanski

The league should do what MLB did with Marge Schott — ban him for an extended period from having any interactions or contact with the team, none with operations at all. Push him out of his cushy courtside seats or going back to the locker room. End his courtside party each game where he gets to bask in celebrity.

Eventually that and more forced Schott to sell the team. We should all be so lucky in this case.
Already one Clipper, DeAndre Jordan, made his thoughts known on Instagram.

You can be sure other players will comment as well. Clippers’ star Chris Paul is the president of the players’ union right now, he will have to address this at some point.

But the league should be the one to act. It’s time.

  1. Professor Fate - Apr 26, 2014 at 6:39 PM

    How much did David Stern hate watching the Lakers prove his new CBA was worthless immediately after the lockout? So much he let Sterling have Chris Paul. If Sterling deserves punishment (and he does) then Stern deserves a big chunk, too. Stern was right to worry about his legacy before he retired.

    • jimeejohnson - Apr 26, 2014 at 7:59 PM

      Lakers definitely got screwed.

  2. gritzblitz66 - Apr 26, 2014 at 6:45 PM

    If the Clipper players had any self respect they would not take the court. I know they want a championship for themselves and fans and not the owner but when it comes to discrimination sacrifices have to made. Many of men and women have had to sacrifice their dreams for the greater good.

  3. 700levelvet - Apr 26, 2014 at 7:36 PM

    How soon til the Reverends Al and Jessie sink their teeth into this potential cash cow?..

    • jimeejohnson - Apr 26, 2014 at 7:58 PM

      As soon as people forget that little camera phone video entitled “Mitt gets caught saying what he really thinks”.

  4. 700levelvet - Apr 26, 2014 at 8:18 PM

    Spike Lee has phoned in… Hey y’all send me donations via Kickstarter so I can make a movie about this…

  5. edbrowndesign - Apr 26, 2014 at 9:20 PM

    Al, Jessie, Spike and Obama has absolutely nothing to do with any of this. The fact the there continued to be mentioned with this topic instead of facing the real issue at hand is exactly the enabling defense expected by proponents of Sterling’s views. If you guys wanna through out names that are relevant to this topic lets start with Hitler, David Duke and wake are way down to Marge Schott and the Sterling.

    • adamsjohn714 - Apr 26, 2014 at 9:30 PM

      While not personally involved, any person of color has something to do with this. Sterling was directly addressing and insulting them. Al, Jessie, Spike, and Obama all are public figures who are heavily invested in the discussion on racism. Their opinion should be heard if they offer it.

      • 1historian - Apr 27, 2014 at 10:36 AM

        This sort of issue is mother’s milk to the big 4 you mention – what do you think their opinion’s might be? (Sarcastic question)

        Everybody is going to get ballistic about this silly little incident.

    • 1historian - Apr 27, 2014 at 10:33 AM

      Work on your spelling and you might say something worth reading.

      “Al, Jessie Spike and Obama has (sic) absolutely nothing to do with this.”

      Wanna bet? Obama has ALREADY spoken up.

      • realfootballfan - Apr 27, 2014 at 7:44 PM

        Ok, dummy. Not a word in what I typed is spelled incorrectly, but I know you probably need someone to read to you. I don’t give a f*** if Martin Luther King, Jr. came back and spoke on this subject, it has nothing to do with what Sterling said. It’s what you closet racists do though, cry about anything but the subject at hand.

  6. the8man - Apr 26, 2014 at 9:29 PM

    I’m not defending him, but this is a personal dialogue between him and his female friend. It wasn’t said on camera and shouldn’t be in print. While we may not agree with what he said, if we begin to persecute on thoughts and words in private we begin down a slippery slope.

    Did someone see him say this? Not everybody likes everybody else. We all need to get over it and move on.

    • darcrequiem - Apr 26, 2014 at 10:38 PM

      His half black/half latina female friend. I mean seriously, if you are going to be an undercover bigot, then keep that from your ethnic girlfriend…

    • realfootballfan - Apr 26, 2014 at 11:47 PM

      If someone is being a bigot in private, that’s fine? Okay, just stop posting on this subject. How about not being a bigot? How about that being a good alternative? According to you, if someone beats their wife behind closed doors, in “private” and the bruises don’t show up and she doesn’t say anything, it’s all good. The NBA is a brand, and this tarnishes the brand with him actually being a so called owner.

  7. braven4evr - Apr 26, 2014 at 9:39 PM

    MLB forced Marge Schott to sell the Cincinnati Reds; the NBA should do the same to Sterling

  8. ufools - Apr 26, 2014 at 10:26 PM

    Any of you trolls that blame fans for routing for the clippers can fist yourselves. We route for the players, coaching and winning games….not the d-bag owner.

    None of those guys sign off on Sterlings crap and I’d go as far as to say that it’s crap that this has blown up now, during playoffs. Let the team play in peace.

  9. ufools - Apr 26, 2014 at 10:29 PM

    @ashholemonetti88…..don’t take some high and mighty road. We route for the team, not the owner. You need to “look inside” for judging people. If you think routing for the team is wrong, you are vastly misguided. The owner lacks character….don’t put that on the team and coaching.

    • adamsjohn714 - Apr 26, 2014 at 10:38 PM

      Root. The word is root.

      • bbk1000 - Apr 27, 2014 at 7:26 AM

        I kind of like route in this instance.

        On the other hand today’s fans have CCIE’s in rooting and switching. They root for a team, if that team doesn’t win, they switch to another team.

  10. ufools - Apr 26, 2014 at 10:32 PM

    That said, most Clipper fans will applaud a new owner. Sterling has been a crap-bag since the beginning.

    We are still fans of the team….

  11. mrlaloosh - Apr 26, 2014 at 11:24 PM


  12. 1historian - Apr 27, 2014 at 10:28 AM

    1) The dude has a serious belly

    2) At least he didn’t let his bulldog take a dump on the court, a la Marge Schott

  13. 1historian - Apr 27, 2014 at 10:30 AM

    How long do you think that they looked for the picture of Sterling that they used? It makes him look just as bad as possible.

  14. taron2in1 - Apr 27, 2014 at 10:55 AM

    Yes he has issues, but getting your private conversation recorded by a gold digger is the real crime here. No one says crazy things during a argument/breakup I guess. The media loves this stuff!!!!

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