1. Update — April 27, 5:06 p.m.: Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson said players don’t want Sterling at any of the playoff games.
Representing the National Basketball Player’s Association, Johnson also said the team is “outraged” and wants an explanation of why Sterling hasn’t been previously sanctioned.
He added that players will not be silent on the issue.
“We are not just a league office, we are not just a league of players, we are collectively one family,” he said during the halftime press conference.
Donald Sterling and V. Stiviano (left).
3. Update — April 27, 3:36 p.m. ET: A lawyer representing Donald Sterling’s girlfriend, known as V. Stiviano, said the recording is legitimate and denied her involvement in its release.
“This office understands that the currently released audio tape of approximately 15 minutes is a portion of approximately one (1) hour of overall audio recording of Mr. Donald T. Sterling and Ms. Stiviano, and is in fact legitimate,” said Mac E. Nehoray of the Nehoray Legal Group.
He added, “Ms. Stiviano did not release the tape(s) to any news media.”
Calling the lawsuit involving Stiviano and Sterling’s wife “absurd,” Nehoray said they have no further comments.
Donald Sterling, owner of the Los Angeles Clippers.
5. Update — April 27, 11:37 a.m. ET: Deadspin has acquired an extended version of the audio call, in which even more racist commentary can be heard.]
V. Stiviano: I don’t understand, I don’t see your views. I wasn’t raised the way you were raised.
Donald Sterling: Well then, if you don’t feel — don’t come to my games. Don’t bring black people, and don’t come.
V: Do you know that you have a whole team that’s black, that plays for you?
DS: You just, do I know? 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?
There’s also a jarring exchange about black Jews in Israel, with the voice that is allegedly Sterling’s pointing out he only wants a girlfriend who will “do what I want”:
DS: It’s the world! You go to Israel, the blacks are just treated like dogs.
V: So do you have to treat them like that too?
DS: The white Jews, there’s white Jews and black Jews, do you understand?
V: And are the black Jews less than the white Jews?
DS: A hundred percent, 50, a hundred percent.
V: And is that right?
DS: It isn’t a question — we don’t evaluate what’s right and wrong, we live in a society. We live in a culture. We have to live within that culture.
V: But shouldn’t we take a stand for what’s wrong? And be the change and the difference?
DS: I don’t want to change the culture, because I can’t. It’s too big and too [unknown].
V: But you can change yourself.
DS: I don’t want to change. If my girl can’t do what I want, I don’t want the girl. I’ll find a girl that will do what I want! Believe me. I thought you were that girl — because I tried to do what you want. But you’re not that girl.
Sterling also gets angry when his girlfriend compares his attitude to the Holocaust:
“There’s no racism here. If you don’t want to be … walking … into a basketball game with a certain … person, is that racism?”
6. Update — 9:36 a.m. ET: President Obama called the comments “incredibly offensive” while speaking to reporters during a diplomatic trip to Malaysia.
“When ignorant folks want to advertise their ignorance, you don’t really have to do anything,” he said. “You just let them talk. That’s what happened here.”
Obama added that Sterling’s comments are an example of how “the United States continues to wrestle with the legacy of race and slavery and segregation.”
President Obama speaks next to Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak during a joint news conference on April 27.
8. Updated — 9:13 p.m. ET: In a press conference, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said he was not yet ready to discuss any sanctions against Donald Sterling, but the owner will not attend tomorrow’s playoff game.
Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson has also become involved in the investigation, he said.
Silver added that he hopes the investigation will wrap up “in the next few days,” and that the core of the investigation is “understanding whether the tape is authentic.”
“Donald Sterling should be awarded due process just as any player in this league or executive in this league would be,” he said.
The NBA said today it is conducting a “full investigation” into Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling after TMZ obtained a recording of him allegedly telling his girlfriend during a fight that he doesn’t want her bringing black people to games, among other racist statements.
The comments, which the NBA spokesman described as “disturbing and offensive,” might have been prompted after V. Stiviano, Sterling’s girlfriend who happens to be black and Mexican, posted a photo of herself with Magic Johnson.
The racially charged diatribe includes comments like:
“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 [Instagram] … and not to bring them to my games.”
“I’m just saying, in your lousy fucking Instagrams, you don’t have to have yourself with, walking with black people.”
“I’ve known [Magic] well and he should be admired … I’m just saying that it’s too bad you can’t admire him privately. Admire him, bring him here, feed him, fuck him, but don’t put [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.”
Clippers President Andy Roeser told TMZ in a statement that they had heard the tape, and do not know “if it is legitimate or it has been altered.”
Sterling also “feels terrible that such sentiments are being attributed to him and apologizes to anyone who might have been hurt by them,” the statement says.
Roeser suggested the woman leaked the tape as revenge on Sterling for a lawsuit against her from his wife, Rochelle, who is demanding damages and the return of gifts after her husband allegedly bought his mistress multiple luxury cars and a duplex, which she said was supposed to be kept in the Sterlings’ name.
“We do know that the woman on the tape — who we believe released it to TMZ — is the defendant in a lawsuit brought by the Sterling family alleging that she embezzled more than $1.8 million, who told Mr. Sterling that she would ‘get even,’” Roeser said.
“He is also upset and apologizes for sentiments attributed to him about Earvin Johnson. He has long considered Magic a friend and has only the utmost respect and admiration for him—both in terms of who he is and what he has achieved.” Roeser said in a statement Saturday night.
Clippers coach Doc Rivers told reporters after practice today that all of his players — regardless of race — were upset with the remarks. He added that there was even discussion before practice of boycotting their upcoming playoff game, but said that idea was eventually rejected.
In a statement to TMZ, Magic Johnson said the comments were shameful.
“It’s a shame that Donald Sterling feels that way about African-Americans,” he said, adding, “He has a team full of amazing African-American basketball players that are working to bring a championship to Clippers fans. The Clippers also have a strong minority fan base.”
The NBA players union is also looking into the remarks, said President Chris Paul, who is also the point guard on the Clippers.
“On behalf of the National Basketball Players Association, this is a very serious issue which we will address aggressively,” Paul said in a statement. “We have asked 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 the drive to the Finals.”
Sterling, who has owned the team for nearly three decades, has a history of being accused of this kind of behavior, having been sued by the Department of Justice for allegedly refusing to rent apartments to minorities. He was also sued for racial discrimination by former Clippers Vice President of Basketball Operations Elgin Baylor.
In court documents, Baylor alleged that while discussing a coaching job, Sterling once said to him he would “like to have a white Southern coach coaching poor black players.” A jury ultimately dismissed the case.
In the ’80s, Sterling also allegedly asked former Villanova head coach Rollie Massimino, “I wanna know why you think you can coach these [n-word].”
TMZ reported that Sterling’s wife who continues to help run the team, said she’s “mortified” by Sterling’s comments.
Civil rights leader Jesse Jackson has called for a boycott of the Clippers, and rapper Snoop Dogg posted a profanity-laden video cursing out the owner.
Basketball players are also beginning to speak out against Sterling. During today’s Atlanta Hawks-Indiana Pacers halftime program, two basketball legends also commented on the controversy.
“Should this guy continue to be an owner?” asked Shaquille O’Neal, who called the comments “repugnant.”
Charles Barkley added, “We cannot have an NBA owner discriminating against the league. We’re a black league.”
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