Donald Sterling Racism Controversy

Donald Sterling Racism Controversy

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Updated Dec 19, 2017 at 06:56AM EST by Y F.

Added Apr 27, 2014 at 01:44PM EDT by TripleA9000.

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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[1] 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[15] 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[2], which has since been removed.


Stiviano is being sued[16] 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[17] 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."

Notable Developments

Celebrity Reactions

On April 26th, rapper Snoop Dogg posted an angry, explicit video message to his Instagram[3] 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

Several current and former NBA players took to Twitter the same day to express their anger towards Sterling's comments, including Kobe Bryant[5], Magic Johnson[6] and James Worthy.[8]

In a press conference held on April 27th, U.S. President Barack Obama[4] condemned Sterling's comments, saying:

"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[14] prepared wearing red shirts turned inside out, without visible Clippers logo, as a way of protesting Sterling's comments.

Fan Reactions

On April 27th, Twitter employee[11] Jeremy Gordon[12] 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.

The hashtag #DonaldSterling[7] was tweeted out over 130,000 times in the week following the tape leak.

Official Response

On April 27th, the NAACP's official Twitter account[9] 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[10] award from the branch in 2009.

The controversy caused several of the team's sponsors to leave[13], 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."

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