Written by: Curt Ashcraft (@cashcraft740)
Edited by: Matt Shock (@shockwave_music)
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Every so often a story comes out that not only transcends the world of sports, but also captivates the nation as a whole. If you didn’t already know, multi-millionaire and owner of the Los Angeles Clippers, Donald Sterling, was recorded by his mistress/girlfriend mentioning his displeasure for her hanging out with black people and that he doesn’t want her bringing them to Clippers games. As you can imagine, these comments have caused an uproar and as of today, Sterling is officially banned from the NBA for life, fined $2.5 million, and recommends to other NBA owners that they force Sterling to sell the Los Angeles Clippers.
Between his girlfriend, V. Stiviano, Sterling’s wife and these racial comments, this entire situation has become a three-ring circus. On top of that, every other NBA owner, player, coach and alumni out there has spoke of their disagreement with Sterling and the Clippers have even talked about boycotting the playoffs! While these last few days have been a soap opera’s dream, it all comes down to one basic philosophy, Donald Sterling should’ve known better.
Anytime you are a public figure like Sterling, you are constantly being watched under a microscope. The days of a normal life do not exist and anything you do or say can be analyzed and then criticized by the national media. Everybody is more than welcome to think whatever they want, we have that right, but when it comes to saying it, you better be ready to accept the consequences.
This may be a different story if this is the first time that Sterling was caught in a racially discriminatory act, but it isn’t. Sterling has used “the N-word” during a coaching interview back in the early 80’s, has been sued multiple times for discriminatory practices at his housing properties and even expressed visions of running the Clippers like a Southern plantation. You can say that Sterling is protected under the First Amendment and he is allowed to speak his mind, but the First Amendment never says anything about protecting people from stupid comments that follow with consequences and repercussions.
I understand that Donald Sterling grew up in a different era, but let’s be real. The man owns a professional basketball team in a league that is predominantly made up of black athletes. You would think that some understanding of the world today would help change his racism, but it’s obvious it hasn’t. During my young life, I have noticed that money gives people a false sense of authority. Yes, money allows you to buy things (even NBA teams) and be in charge, but it doesn’t mean you can just say whatever you want and get away with it. That is absolutely ignorant and nothing but the same from a man who is going down with the racist views that he believes in.
Watching this story unfold has been bittersweet. It may be under all of the wrong circumstances, but the way that a sports nation has rallied together to support equality within the NBA is pretty special. Civil rights have allowed sports and this nation to be where it is today, and there isn’t a darn thing Donald Sterling can do about it.
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