Jan 10, 2014; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling attends the game against the Los Angeles Lakers at Staples Center. The Clippers defeated the Lakers 123-87. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Donald Sterling, the Los Angeles Clippers and the fallout

Everyone even slightly involved around the Donald Sterling “situation” is in a tough spot: the Los Angeles Clippers, the NBA and its fans.

In case you’ve been hiding in a cave, or behind a rock, during the past couple of days, here is a gist of what happened late Friday night that sent the NBA world into a ruckus…

First, TMZ broke the story regarding Sterling making some very racist remarks (in its simplest form). Here is the original report: 

L.A. Clippers owner Donald Sterling told his GF he does NOT want her bringing black people to his games … including Magic Johnson … and it’s ALL on tape.

TMZ Sports has obtained audio of Sterling making the racist declaration during a heated argument on April 9th with V. Stiviano … after she posted a photo on Instagram posing with Magic.

Sterling rails on Stiviano — who ironically is black and Mexican — for putting herself out in public with a black person (she has since taken the pic down).  But it doesn’t end there.  You have to listen to the audio to fully grasp the magnitude of Sterling’s racist worldview. Among the comments:

— “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)

— “I’m just saying, in your lousy f******* Instagrams, you don’t have to have yourself with, walking with black people.” (7:45)

– “…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)

Sterling has a documented history of allegedly racist behavior — he’s been sued twice by the federal government for allegedly refusing to rent apartments to Blacks and Latinos.

He was also sued by former Clippers exec Elgin Baylor for racial discrimination — though a jury was ultimately not convinced and shot down Baylor’s case.

Sterling has been separated from his wife Shelly for years.  She remains a key player in running the team and sources tell us she’s “mortified” by Sterling’s comments.

We have made several calls to Sterling and his people … so far, no word back.

The NBA then made a statement yesterday afternoon stating that they would be conducting a full investigation on the TMZ report. Last night, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver held a press conference where he essentially said that they were still investigating and that the league would act “extraordinarily quickly”, once they verified that the recording was in fact Sterling.

Silver then answered some questions, but was limited with his responses mainly because the investigation is ongoing. However, he did say that Sterling would not be in attendance for the Clippers/Warriors Game 4 later tonight. We should be hearing more from Silver in the next couple of days.

That is business. Then, there was those that are directly affected by the issues — the players.

First, the Clippers.

The team reportedly had a meeting after the report was released late friday night. Here are the accounts told by Arash Markazi of ESPN LA:

Coach Doc Rivers led the 45-minute meeting and several players, including Chris Paul and Blake Griffin, spoke and voiced their anger after hearing the nearly 10-minute audio tape, which was released by TMZ on Friday night. The possibility of boycotting Game 4 of their first-round series against the Warriors was raised but quickly dismissed.

“I thought we needed to talk about it because everyone else is and so we needed to talk about it and all things came up,” Rivers said. “We’ve heard all the stuff, the boycotts and all the stuff and all those things are things you could do but we choose to play and we’re going to play tomorrow. … It was brought up because I’m sure 20,000 people have suggested it but honestly I’m completely against that and they were, too.

“Why should we let someone’s comments stop us from what we’re trying to do? We’re trying to do something here and we don’t want that getting in the way of what we’re trying to do.”

Then the face of the NBA made some bold statements prior to his game against the Charlotte Bobcats on Saturday night.

[via Bleacher Report]

“It’s unacceptable. It’s unacceptable in our league. It doesn’t matter if you’re white, black, Hispanic, whatever, all across the races. It’s unacceptable. And as a commissioner of our league, you have to make a stand and you have to be very aggressive with it. I don’t know what it’s gonna be, but you just can’t have that in our league.”

James spoke of NBA players being the “most recognizable” sports figures in the world.

“And for an owner to come out and say the things that he said, it’s very disrespectful, and very appalling,” James said. “And one of my best friends and dear friends plays for his team, Chris Paul.”

He also said that if Sterling were the owner of the Heat, he would’ve thought about sitting out the rest of the playoffs. Magic Johnson, one of the main targets in the recordings, also voiced his opinion.

And basically, this is where we continue to stand. A whole lot of arms up in the air, and we simply don’t know what to do with them. Similarly, the NBA may not know what to do about Sterling, either.

Do they force him to sell the team? Do they fine him? Suspend him? Boycott him?

I’m not really sure which way Silver elects to go, but I’m sure no matter how far he goes the rest of the league will be behind him in support.

Still, it’s the resounding words of LeBron James that will likely take center stage when the punishment comes down from Silver. LeBron said that there’s no place for an owner like Sterling in this league, and he’s probably right. However, is Silver in a position where he can just demand that Sterling sell his team?

This goes a lot deeper than just a simple punishment. It’s likely that there will be legal ramifications from this, if Sterling is forced out of the league. This is only the beginning, like it or not.

Donald Sterling vs the NBA could be on the horizon.

Tags: Donald Sterling Los Angeles Clippers NBA

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