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TMZ revealed a recording early Saturday morning of what it says is Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling pathetically admonishing his girlfriend for “associating” with African-Americans – apparently she made the major mistake, in Sterling’s eyes, of posing for a photo with Basketball Hall of Famer Magic Johnson, a photo she later uploaded to her Instagram account.
It's a shocking and infuriating 9½-minute bit of tape that should embarrass the NBA and force new commissioner Adam Silver into action.
According to TMZ's recording, Sterling went on to chide his girlfriend, who is half-African-American and half-Mexican, for bringing African-Americans to Clippers games, even if those guests in question were of exalted status as Magic is, and even if she’s never done as much.
The recording is an absolutely depressing listen, to say the least. Here are some of the snippets, according to TMZ, from Sterling, who told his girlfriend V. Stiviano that he feels “very strongly” about her “broadcasting” the fact she briefly spoke to and posed with a very famous black man:
-- "It bothers me a lot that you want to broadcast that you’re associating with black people. Do you have to?" (3:30)
-- "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 that ... and not to bring them to my games." (5:15)
-- "...Don't put him [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." (9:13)
Donald Sterling is the NBA’s great shame, and now a major media outlet apparently has him on record as telling a woman – one that he obscenely disrespects throughout the entire exchange – that he doesn’t want African-Americans coming to his basketball games. Whether Sterling is sadly mixing up his words or only referring to Magic Johnson personally, or jealous of the brief attention his much younger girlfriend (Sterling is still married to another woman, mind you) received isn’t the point – the point is that the NBA has to do something about its biggest problem.
This is indefensible. Sterling’s treatment of this woman is execrable enough, but the clear intent of his message and what’s simmering just underneath what he actually lets out should be enough to force what has previously been a spineless league (regarding the Clippers' owner) into action. The Clippers could boast a lily-white roster and coaching staff, that part barely matters in relation to Donald Sterling – owner of an NBA team – being taped telling someone he doesn’t want African-Americans at his basketball games.
Fight with his girl, heat of the moment, jealous as hell – it does not matter.
This is Silver’s first great task. He’ll have to balance the interests of a small team-owning few versus the respect of hundreds of millions. This, like Donald Sterling, is a no-brainer.
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