Over the past 48 hours, the sports world has been hit with yet another racial scandal. This time it was in the NBA world, around what is the most important time for the league: the NBA Playoffs. Yesterday, the popular website, TMZ, released a audio recording of a conversation between Donald Sterling and his girlfriend, V. Stiviano, in which he made some very offensive remarks towards African-Americans, and minorities in general. Now, as of this morning it seems that the website, Deadspin, has released a 15 version of the conversation between Sterling and his girlfriend, from which was originally released by TMZ.
The audio tape is disturbing to say the least from a man who employs several minorities from the arena staff to the players on the basketball court. The tape reveals that Sterling, “doesn’t want Magic Johnson or any other minorities at his games.” Several current players and NBA greats have been very vocal about their feelings and sentiments towards the remarks made by Sterling on Twitter, via ESPN. Chris Paul, who is arguably the biggest star on the Clippers team, released a statement on behalf of the National Basketball Association Players’ Union.
“On behalf of the National Basketball Players Association, this is a very serious issue which we will address aggressively. 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.”
It has been said that sports is always one of the icebreakers for racism in the world. That the togetherness and team aspect with the common goal in place can rally people from all different walks of life. In my honest opinion, it does, but with a small exception. That exception is related to what Sterling was referring to, as we still have a society of individuals that believe no one of color is their equal. This all manifests from your culture and upbringing in your family. The fact that Sterling went out of his way to imply that the culture can not be changed is because, he himself will not change. He made that quite apparent yesterday in the audio, even going as far to say that it is okay to love them behind closed doors, but just keep it out of the public eye.
Now, the onus is on the players of the league and new commissioner of the NBA, Adam Silver. With all of the responses and statements coming in bunches from social media to press releases, the question will be what action will the players take once the process is over. If Sterling is still in ownership, will the current players on the roster still want to be on the team? If a potential free agent is looking for a new team, will he think twice about joining the Clippers regardless of the amount of money being offered? For Adam Silver, what to do with Sterling if he is proved to be the voice on the audio recordings? Will the other 29 owners take a stand and vote to force a sale of the team? Will they vote for the NBA to buy the team until a new ownership group is in place? This is far from being resolved, but I would like to think that a situation like this can affect not only the players on the Clippers team, but the other players around the league. I love the game of basketball and the NBA, due to the strides they are trying to make domestically and internationally. If the current state of the NBA is where BIG happens, then I can only hope that they do what is unexpected from most, and that is doing the right thing not just for the game of basketball, but for the true culture we live in today.