Twitter Reacts to Racist Rant Allegedly from LA Clippers Owner Donald Sterling

Stephen Babb@@StephenBabbFeatured ColumnistApril 26, 2014

AP Images

TMZ is reporting that Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling went on a racist rant during an argument with girlfriend V. Stiviano. You can listen to the alleged conversation below.

If you're familiar with the basics of the story, here's the very latest (for all the sordid context, we have that further down as well):

The NBA and Commissioner Adam Silver is getting set to speak on the issue again Tuesday, presumably to announce the initial round of sanctions.

Meanwhile, sponsors are quickly fleeing away from the Sterling-led LA Clippers organization.

Clippers coach Doc Rivers has faced the uneasy task of focusing his players during the media storm and troubling circumstances.

Though there have been reports that Magic Johnson might be interested in buying the Clippers out from under Sterling, per Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports, this has also been recently called into question.

If you're catching up to the story, we have a wealth of valuable information, context and commentary below: 

Deadspin.com has extended audio featuring the rest of the 15-minute conversation.

Sterling expressed frustration that his girlfriend associated with "minorities" in public and said he didn't approve of her posting pictures online via Instagram. The recording is unsurprisingly garnering plenty of attention.

Some of Sterling's comments centered on NBA legend Magic Johnson: "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."

Johnson joined ABC's NBA Countdown crew Sunday to address the issue.

Michael Jordan, a man who avoided controversy at all costs during his playing career, also spoke out strongly.

Even President Barack Obama leveled criticism at Sterling.

In the immediate aftermath of the comments becoming public, Johnson told TMZ"It's a shame that Donald Sterling feels that way about African-Americans. He has a team full of amazing African-American basketball players that are working to bring a championship to Clippers fans. The Clippers also have a strong minority fan base."

He also posted his thoughts on Twitter.

Either way, AP Sports and USA Today's Sam Amick report that the league, per spokesman Michael Bass, is already investigating the matter.

Commissioner Adam Silver addressed the comments Saturday evening.

Aside from drawing presidential notice, heat from the commissioner's office and the scorn of every prominent NBA figure, Sterling's comments could have far-reaching practical effects for the franchise he owns.

The Clippers are talking about it too.

TMZ is reporting that, according to Stephen A. Smith, some Clippers considered not playing in Game 4 on Sunday:

ESPN reporter Stephen A. Smith says several members of the L.A. Clippers considered not taking the floor tomorrow against the Golden State Warriors as a protest against team owner Donald Sterling. Smith says several players on the team are FURIOUS after hearing the comments Sterling made to his girlfriend in an audio tape published by TMZ Sports. Its (sic) unclear what will happen tomorrow — but Reverend Jesse Jackson has suggested the team employ a "symbolic expression" to show their disdain and disapproval for Sterling.

Instead, they used their shooting shirts and matching black attire to make a non-verbal, preliminary protest statement.

Chris Paul has already responded in his capacity as president of the National Basketball Players Association, per Howard Beck:

On behalf of the National Basketball Players Association, this is a very serious issue which we will address aggressively. We have asked Mayor Kevin Johnson to expand his responsibilities with the NBPA, to determine our response and our next steps. As players, we owe it to our teams and our fans to keep our focus on our game, the playoffs, and the drive to the Finals.

Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson, previously tapped to search for the NBPA's executive director, will also spearhead the NBPA's efforts concerning Sterling. He addressed the process as well:

The reported comments made by Clippers owner Donald Sterling are reprehensible and unacceptable. The National Basketball Players Association must and will play a very active role in determining how this issue is addressed. There needs to be an immediate investigation and if the reports are true, there needs to be strong and swift action taken. I have spoken with NBPA President Chris Paul and will be leading the NBPA in addressing the implications of this serious matter.

 Center DeAndre Jordan already has to some degree courtesy of Instagram.

Miami Heat players James Jones and Chris Bosh both say the league should punish Sterling if the report is confirmed.

LeBron James had an even stronger statement to make, echoing many voices:

 Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban also spoke out against Sterling, but reiterated that he doesn't want to become a part of the story. 

LA Lakers star Kobe Bryant has weighed in as well.

Indiana Pacers forward David West had more extended thoughts.

NBA owners have registered their disapproval as well. Miami Heat owner Micky Arison and Sacramento Kings owner Vivek Ranadive both tweeted sharp rebukes of Sterling.

As the story spreads, so too has universal condemnation of Sterling's comments.

 Stephen A. Smith said he was "appalled," but "wasn't too surprised."

The TNT crew also had its say during halftime of Game 4 of the Pacers-Hawks series.

Other analysts have covered the story and its implications.

The fact that Sterling has such a sketchy history also sheds light on the comments. The extent to which we aren't more surprised is a sad commentary on the Clippers owner.

The big question going forward is how the league can, and should, respond.

So long as Sterling remains the Clippers owner, there will be a bad taste surrounding the organization. It may take an all-out coup to get him out of the picture, but stay tuned for what happens next. 

Hopefully that's a scene we can avoid, even if the Clippers do win. And hopefully, the planned award from the NAACP doesn't happen.

As bizarre as that honor sounds, there's an explanation.

Fortunately, interim president Lorraine Miller spoke out, and the NAACP won't be honoring Sterling after all. Per Darren Rovell of ESPN, Miller said, "If you're silent about this, then you are accepting this. And people have got to say that this is not good and do something about it."

The reaction at Staples Center Tuesday night will go a long way in determining what immediate direction this team is headed in.


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