The singer/songwriter has joined other celebrities, fans and Clippers players in boycotting team owner Donald Sterling after the 81-year-old allegedly unleashed a racist rant that leaked online late last week. "As an African-American man and artist, I must take a stand on a matter that is so deeply personal to me," Tank said in a statement. "In light of the recent disturbing and offensive allegations, in good conscience, I cannot move forward with my scheduled appearance at Tuesday's Los Angeles Clippers game."
Sterling is now under investigation by league officials after TMZ posted a snippet of a conversation between the billionaire and his lady friend, V. Stiviano. The real estate and sports mogul tells Staviano, who is bi-racial, that she is not allowed to bring black people to his games, particularly Magic Johnson. An extended version of their conversation found its way online over the weekend.
NBA commissioner Adam Stern said at a press conference late Saturday (April 26) that Sterling would be afforded "due process" as the inquiry goes forward, but the public backlash has already set in.
After the tape landed on TMZ, Johnson — who may buy the team — tweeted that he wouldn't be attending any more games until Sterling is pushed out. Similarly, Lil Wayne tweeted that if he was on the team, he wouldn't be suiting up for Sterling; and Game has started a #EMPTYSEATCAMPAIGN encouraging fans to boycott remaining playoff games.
The Clippers have also lost advertisers since the news broke.
Sterling has been accused of racism before. In 2009, he paid $2.75 million to settle a federal housing discrimination lawsuit involving his refusal to rent to black tenants. During the trial, Sterling was accused of saying things like black people "smell … they're not clean" and Mexicans "must sit around and smoke and drink all day." The same year that the suit was settled, former Clippers general manager Elgin Baylor filed a wrongful termination lawsuit against Sterling, accusing him of having a "plantation mentality." According to the suit, "Sterling said, 'Personally, I would like to have a white Southern coach coaching poor black players," in addition to other racially insensitive comments.
Earlier today, Los Angeles NAACP chapter president Leon Jenkins held a press conference explaining the decision to renege on giving Sterling a lifetime achievement award. "There is a personal, economic, and social price that Mr. Sterling must pay for his attempt to turn back the clock on race relations," Jenkins said.
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(Photo: Al Bello/Getty Images)