LeBron James, Kobe Bryant, President Obama and more react to racist comments made by LA Clippers owner.
An extended 15-minute version of the racially-charged conversation between Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling and his then-girlfriend V. Stiviano was posted by Deadspin.com on Sunday morning.
Like the original audio posted by TMZ on Saturday, Sterling’s comments in this extended version are virulent.
"I don't understand, I don't see your views," Stiviano tells Sterling. "I wasn't raised the way you were raised."
"Well then, if you don't feel — don't come to my games," Sterling responds. "Don't bring Black people, and don't come."
It gets even more reprehensible.
“Do you know that you have a whole team that's Black, that plays for you?” Stiviano says.
“You just, do I know?” Sterling retorts. “I support them and give them food, and clothes, and cars, and houses. Who gives it to them? Does someone else give it to them? Do I know that I have… Who makes the game? Do I make the game, or do they make the game? Is there 30 owners, that created the league?”
At one point, Sterling point-blank fires, “You think I’m a racist.”
The exchange proceeds to segue with Sterling trying to explain why he wanted Stiviano to remove Instagram pictures with her and Black people by comparing Black and white Jewish people in Israel.
“It's the world! You go to Israel, the Blacks are just treated like dogs,” Sterling offers.
“So do you have to treat them like that too?” she asks.
“The white Jews, there's white Jews and Black Jews, do you understand?” Sterling says.
“And are the Black Jews less than the white Jews?” Stiviano questions.
“A hundred percent, fifty, a hundred percent.”
The conversation ends with Sterling saying, “There’s no racism here. If you don’t want to be…walking…into a basketball game with a certain…person, is that racism?”
Similarly to the original conversation that TMZ posted on Saturday, the NBA is investigating if this audio has been edited in any way. The Sterling family is suing Stiviano for allegedly embezzling $1.8 million from them, and Mr. Sterling emphatically denied that the views reflected in the released audio match his beliefs.
“I hate the fact that something like this has to come out when the playoffs have been unbelievable and the game of basketball continues to grow, but there is no room for Donald Sterling in our league,” James said prior to the start of the Game 3 playoff contest between his Miami Heat and the Charlotte Bobcats on Saturday. “There is no room for him.”
Bryant told ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith, "It's a damn shame but a sad reality that we have people in the world who continue to further such ignorance. I would not want to play for him."
Former NBA player Baron Davis, who played for Sterling’s Clippers from 2008-11, said Sterling’s feelings about Black people isn’t anything new.
“That’s the way it is…He is honest about what he believes in..Been going on for a long time, Hats off 2 the Team.. 4 playin above it all,” Davis tweeted on Saturday.
These reactions, and many more to likely follow, come after the original audio included Sterling scolding Stiviano for posting an Instagram picture of herself with Magic Johnson. When learning of Sterling’s leaked conversation, Johnson tweeted Saturday that he and his wife would never attend a Clippers game again as long as Sterling is the owner.
Sterling’s comments made it far enough to Malaysia, where President Obama is attending a news conference.
"I don't think I have to interpret those statements for you; they kind of speak for themselves," Obama said to a series of reporters Saturday. "When ignorant folks want to advertise their ignorance, you don't really have to do anything. You just let them talk. And that's what happened here. Obviously, the NBA is a league that is beloved by fans all across the country. It's got an awful lot of African-American players. It's steeped in African-American culture. And, I suspect that the NBA is going to be deeply concerned in resolving this."
New NBA commissioner Adam Silver promised Sterling due process, but vowed that the league will move extraordinarily quickly with its investigation. Silver emphasized that there are broad powers in place under the NBA’s constitution that include a range of sanctions that could be placed on the Clippers' owner.
"On behalf of the National Basketball Players Association, this is a very serious issue which we will address aggressively. We have asked [Sacramento] Mayor Kevin Johnson to expand his responsibilities with the NBPA, to determine our response and our next steps. As players, we owe it to our teams and our fans to keep our focus on our game, the playoffs, and a drive to the Finals."
The Clippers faced the Golden State Warriors in Game 4 of their first-round playoff series on Sunday. Sterling did not attend.
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