Michael Jordan, a NBA team owner, former player, and widely considered the most iconic figure in the basketball realm; spoke out Sunday regarding his fellow NBA team owner Donald Sterling of the LA Clippers alleged racist comments. Jordan was “disgusted…completely outraged…” and “appalled that this type of ignorance still exists within our country and at the highest levels of our sport.” Strong words from a serious figure in the sport, so what did Sterling say that got Jordan so heated? TMZ broke the story Friday night in the midst’s of the NBA Playoffs, included in the audio were racist comments including references to Magic Johnson:
— “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)
This controversial news put a damper on the Clippers blowout win Thursday night over the GS Warriors. Magic Johnson spoke before the playoff games on Saturday, exclaiming his feelings on the matter and the delicate situation of players still having to play for a racist owner.
“We all play with different races of people in sports. That’s what makes sports so beautiful. He’s put his own team in a tough situation. So I believe that once Commissioner Silver … does all his due diligence, gets all the information gathered, he’s gotta come down hard. [Sterling] shouldn’t own a team anymore. And he should stand up and say, ‘I don’t want to own a team anymore.’ Especially when you have African-Americans renting his apartments, coming to the games, playing for him, coaching for him. This is bad for everybody. It’s bad for America and I’m really upset about it.” –Johnson
The NBA will give Sterling due process to defend himself, but ultimately if these comments prove to be a true reflection of him, severe consequences will be expected. If not, expect another tally mark to historical LA riots with a notch at summer 2014. Outcry from former players, current players, and even the President of the United States are flooding social media and news outlets. It’s hard to believe the owner of a franchise that majority employs African Americans could be a racist. It seems unanimous that there is no place for this type of behavior or beliefs in the NBA, or for that matter our society. Expect punishment to play out swiftly within the next week or so, new NBA commissioner Adam Silver wouldn’t want this delicate subject to dominate the news over the pending NBA finals.