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The Donald Sterling Racism Controversy refers to an ongoing controversy surrounding Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling after a tape was leaked in which he makes racists remarks against African American athletes in the National Basketball Association.
On April 26th, 2014, TMZ published a post titled, “L.A. Clippers Owner to GF: Don’t Bring Black People to My Games …Including Magic Johnson,” which featured an audio clip featuring Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling making racist remarks to his girlfriend V. Stiviano. On April 26th, Deadspin released an extended audio clip.
The audio clip, which was recorded on April 9th, features the voice of Sterling reprimanding Stiviano for posting a picture of her with former NBA player Magic Johnson (shown below) on her Instagram account, which has since been removed.
Stiviano is being sued by Sterling’s wife, Rochelle Sterling, who says some of the presents Sterling bought Stivano came from money jointly controlled by her and her husband. Stiviano, however, denied releasing the tape in a statement made by her lawyer who said:
""This office understands that the currently released audio tape of approximately 15 minutes is a portion of approximately one (1) hour of overall audio recording of Mr. Donald T. Sterling and Ms. Stiviano, and is in fact legitimate. Ms. Stiviano did not release the tape(s) to any news media."
On April 26th, rapper Snoop Dogg posted an angry, explicit video message to his Instagram account directed at Sterling.
In less than 48 hours the video received over 90,000 likes.
That same day rapper Lil Wayne decide to add in his opinion on the matter
I couldn’t play for him— Kobe Bryant (@kobebryant) April 26th, 2014
LA Clippers owner Donald Sterling’s comments about African Americans are a black eye for the NBA.— Earvin Magic Johnson (@MagicJohnson) April 26th, 2014
I know coaches & players play for each other & especially THE FANS, but it would be hard for me to play another game for Sterling. #NBA— James Worthy(@James_Worthy42) April 26th, 2014
“When ignorant folks want to advertise their ignorance, you don’t really have to do anything, you just let them talk.”
Before their game on Sunday, Clippers players prepared wearing red shirts turned inside out, without visible Clippers logo, as a way of protesting Sterling’s comments.
On April 27th, Twitter employee Jeremy Gordon tweeted a picture of two fans at the April 27th Clippers game mocking Sterling’s request on the tape that his girlfriend refrain from bringing African Americans to Clippers games. In less than 24 hours the tweet gained over 9,000 retweets.
Good thing the Clippers owner isn’t here to witness that. #DubNation #BeatLA pic.twitter.com/3quh433cma— Jeremy Gordon @JeremySF) April 27th, 2014
The hashtag #DonaldSterling was tweeted out over 130,000 times in the week following the tape leak.
On April 27th, the NAACP’s official Twitter account tweeted that Sterling would not be receiving a second lifetime achievement award from their Los Angeles branch he was previously scheduled to receive. He was awarded his first lifetime achievement award from the branch in 2009.
#DonaldSterling will not be receiving a lifetime achievement award from the LA Branch of the NAACP. #MTP— James Worthy(@James_Worthy42) April 26th, 2014
The controversy caused several of the team’s sponsors to leave, including insurance agency State Farm and used car company CarMax. The NBA has also barred Sterling from coming to any playoff games this season. On April 29th, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver announced that Sterling has been permanently banned from the league for life and fined a $2.5 million for the racist remarks. In addition to the penalties, the Commissioner also stated that he will “urge the board of governors to force a sale of the team and will do everything in my power to ensure that happens.”
“The central findings of the investigation are that the man whose voice is on the recordings … is Mr. Sterling and that the hateful feelings are those of Mr. Sterling. The views expressed by Mr. Sterling are deeply disturbing and alarming.”
The Huffington Post – Obama: Donald Sterling Comments ‘Incredibly Offensive’