While surfing the Internet last week I came across the TMZ story about Donald Sterling’s leaked conversation wherein he and his girlfriend are having a heated conversation about her posting photos of herself with Black people on Instagram. I can’t say that I was shocked, because this isn’t the first time, nor will it be the last time some well-known person’s racist views are made public. It was just a day or so before Donald was outed, that Clive Bundy, the Nevada rancher, was headline news due to his racist rant. And then there was Paula Dean and the list goes on. But what puts Donald in a class of his own is the paradoxical nature of the situation at hand. Either he is schizophrenic or he has a serious case of cognitive dissonance.
1) Donald’s girlfriend is Hispanic and Black.
2) Donald is the owner of the Clippers, a Los Angeles basketball team that’s made up of predominately Black players.
3) The coach of the Clippers is Black.
4) Donald has ties to the NAACP. According to USA Today, in 2009 Donald was given a lifetime achievement award by the L.A. chapter–the same year he agreed to pay a $2.765 million settlement in a case that alleged he discriminated against African American, Latinos and others at apartment buildings he owned in Los Angeles County.
5) Before his comments went worldwide, he was slated to receive another award from the NAACP this year in May. That award has since been cancelled.
The aforementioned begs the question, who is Donald Sterling and is he racist, or is he a part-time racist? What’s the deal? History has taught us that just because a person has a “friend” who’s of another race or is married to a person of another race, that they can still be racist. George Washington had a black mistress—Sally Hemings—and he owned her.
Donald’s racist reviews have not only rocked the NBA and its fans but the nation. It’s 2014, we have a Black president! It goes once more to prove that in spite of all our achievements in America on the racial front, there are still people like Donald who are stuck in a time warp. So should he lose the team? The radio and television airwaves are lit up with the views and opinions of pundits and regular folk like me. Some argue that the conversation took place in the privacy of his own home and although he doesn’t want African-Americans to attend his games, even prominent ones like Magic Johnson, he has not put in place any policies to enforce that. At this time, it’s a secret desire—well not so secret anymore. As far as we know, with the present team, there’s no evidence that he has discriminated against the players or the coach. And I say present, because according to the Los Angeles Times, in 2008, Lakers legend Elgin Baylor, a former general manager of the Clippers, sued Donald, alleging wrongful termination and discrimination on the basis of age and race.
Tomorrow night the Clippers are slated to play the Golden State Warriors at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. There’s talk of protests and fans boycotting the game. Donald says he won’t attend. It’s going to be interesting to the say the least how this situation is resolved. Will Donald be forced to sell the team? Will the fans stay away? Will the players boycott? Whatever the outcome, there are no winners here and the situation is deplorable. I can only imagine how the Clippers are feeling right now. Finally, on their way to greatness—and then there’s Donald. But like all good dramas, right when it looks like all hope is lost for the protagonist, things work out. Maybe the Clippers are going to win that Championship after all!