Chris Paul, Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, President Obama and NAACP Speak Out On Donald Sterling’s Racist Comments

(via Necole Bitchie)

Donald-Sterling-Girlfriend

The past 24 hours have been a roller coaster of emotions for sports fans as they’ve been anticipating how the Clippers would handle the news that their owner was a racist!

On Saturday morning, audio from a phone call between 80-year-old Donald Sterling and his 20-something-year-old bi-racial girlfriend V. Stiviano leaked and the billionare could be heard arguing with the girl for posting black people on her Instagram, including Magic Johnson, and he even revealed that he didn’t want her to bring any black people to his games. After the audio made its rounds, fans called for the Clippers to boycott by refusing to play until he is removed. The NBA has launched an investigation, and although they haven’t suspended him yet, it has been confirmed that he will not attend tonight’s Clippers game against the Warriors.

Meanwhile, comedian Kevin Hart, NBA stars Chris Paul, LeBron James and Kobe Bryant, Stephen A. Smith, and even President Obama reacted to the appalling audio.

Catch some of the reactions below:

Chris Paul
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 a drive to the Finals.

Comedian Kevin Hart:
The owner of the CLIPPERS is a flat out racist and will never see a dime of my money!!! Donald Sterling is disgusting…this sh-t is sad. I’ve spent probably 100k over the past 2 years supporting my friends on that team and to find out that the owner is a flat out RACIST…All I can do I shake my head. The league better take a stand on this issue! I am taking a stand on this…I want to show this racist asshole the power is social media & our culture….
The only way to do that is to hit him where it hurts which is his pockets…I will support my friends but not the CLIPPERS organization. I can assure you that you will not see my black face or any other black face that has heard this racist mans comments at a clippers game. The @NBA better make a stand on this matter…our culture has the power to shut that whole organization down if we wanted to!!!!I will Tweet/FaceBook/Instagram everyday of the playoffs until this matter is resolved in my eyes!!! The @NBA must take a stand!!!

Lebron James
Obviously, if the reports are true it’s unacceptable in our league. It doesn’t matter, white, black or Hispanic — all across the races it’s unacceptable. As the commissioner of our league they have to make a stand. They have to be very aggressive with it. I don’t know what it will be, but we can’t have that in our league. We’re the model citizen of all sports around the world because we are the most recognizable figures. … It’s very disrespectful and it’s appalling.

One of my best friends and dear friends plays on his team — Chris Paul. I haven’t had a chance to talk to him, but I can only imagine what’s going through his head. I have kind of wavered back and forth if I would actually sit out. If our owner would come out and say the things he said I would have to sit down with my teammates and talk to my family because at the end of the day, our family and teammates are way more important than that. Basketball is huge and the playoffs have been unbelievable so far and I hate that something has to come out. I can only imagine if a player came out and said something of that stature what would happen to us as players. I believe in Adam (Silver) and I believe in the NBA and they have to do something very fast before this really gets out of hand. But like I said there is no room for Donald Sterling in our league.

Kobe Bryant (via Twitter)
I couldn’t play for him

Stephen Smith on the players reactions
First of all, they are furious. They are absolutely livid, they are appalled. I don’t know what they would do with this man, Donald Sterling, their owner, if he were in front of their face at this [time]. According to one player, I was actually told within the hour, that players were considering not playing. Not themselves, but their confidants, their families, their loved ones were encouraging them not to play. Matter of fact, one of the things that they’ve heard is that, obviously, if this was something of a gay slur, it would have been reported, and you would see people taking a stand, so obviously, they are being pressured under that guise alone to take a unified stand and taking a position that, ‘you know what, maybe you shouldn’t participate in these games.’ But that’s obviously not something that’s going to happen because as one player told me, ‘When we dreamed of winning a championship, we certainly didn’t dream of winning it for Donald Sterling, we dreamed of winning it for ourselves.’ I think that’s the emotions of the moment right now, but it is no doubt they are livid to say the least. I’m not going to say physically hostile, but emotionally, spiritually, verbally hostile. They are not pleased at all, it’s embarrassing, it’s uncomfortable and it’s highly, highly offensive.

President Obama (when asked about Donald Sterling’s statements during a Malaysian press conference)
When ignorant folks want to advertise their ignorance, you don’t really have to do anything, you just let them talk, and I think that’s what happened here. I have confidence that the NBA Commissioner Adam Silver will address this. 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.

The United States continues to wrestle with a legacy of race and slavery and segregation that’s still there — the vestiges of discrimination. We’ve made enormous strides, but you’re going to continue to see this percolate up every so often, and I think that we just have to be clear and steady in denouncing it, teaching our children differently, but also remaining hopeful that part of why some statements like this stand out so much is because there had been — there has been this shift in how we view ourselves.

A bizarre addition to this story is that Donald Sterling received an award from the NAACP in 2009, and he was set to receive a Lifetime Achievement Award from the LA Chapter next week. Yesterday, Alice Huffman, President of the NAACP California State Conference, said in a statement:

If these allegations are proven true, we are extremely disappointed in Mr. Sterling. Recent remarks like these, and those of Cliven Bundy, remind us that racism is not a footnote of our past, but a reality of our present that we must confront head on. For 105 years, the NAACP has fought against the culture bigotry that leads to the comments like those we heard on the recording, and as public response to these remarks has shown, we have made significant progress.

As the investigation is in progress, we urge the LA Branch of the NAACP to withdraw Donald Sterling from the honoree list at its upcoming Gala. We also suggest that African Americans and Latinos should honor his request and not attend the games.

Last month, Donald Sterling’s wife of over 50 years filed a lawsuit against the girlfriend (who can be heard in the audio). In the suit, she alleges that her husband used community property to buy the mistress a 2012 Ferrari, two Bentleys and a 2013 Range Rover, worth a total of more than $500,000, and he also bought her a $1.8 million duplex while providing her with $240,000 for upkeep and living expenses. It’s unclear if the wife or the girlfriend is behind the audio leak (but a lot of folks are leaning more towards it being a set up by the girlfriend.)

What an interesting and sad chain of events over the past few days. Realistically, although fans are calling for a boycott, the game tonight will pull in high ratings since people will be curious of how the team will respond. Some are suggesting that if the team doesn’t boycott, that they at least wear black tape over their logo.

You can catch Stephen A. Smith’s commentary below:

If you missed Donald Sterling’s ignorance, listen below:

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