Monday, Jul 28, 2014 02:26 pm est

Sterling’s remarks point to racial divide

Posted on April 28, 2014 | by Charles Surette

via Wikipedia.org

TMZ reported that Donald Sterling, owner of the Los Angeles Clippers, was recently recorded admonishing his girlfriend for posting an Instagram picture with Magic Johnson, a three-time NBA MVP and five-time NBA champion. Sterling goes on to demand that she no longer bring any African-Americans to Clippers home games or make it known that she is “associating with black people.”

The tirade is the latest in a long line of documented racism by the billionaire real estate tycoon. In 2009, Sterling settled a lawsuit with the U.S. Department of Justice over a refusal to rent apartments in his L.A. properties to African-Americans and Hispanics. In addition, he is alleged to have once asked a candidate for Clippers head coach “why [he] thinks [he] can coach these niggers.”

Sterling’s deplorable behavior has shifted focus away from the exhilarating on-court action during the NBA postseason, and also weakened the NBA’s efforts to brand itself as a league in which African-American athletes be leaders on and off the court. As the league attempts to strike a balance between policing players’ actions and not appearing overly controlling, Sterling’s statements serve as a harsh reminder of the gulf between the predominantly white team owners and the overwhelming number of African-American players. As the rancor surrounding the 2011 NBA lockout made abundantly clear, players continue to voice skepticism about the owners having the players’ best interests at heart — they think owners are more concerned about money.

This backward view of the relationship between players and owners was once again put on full display following LeBron James’ decision to depart his hometown Cleveland Cavaliers in free agency in July 2010 to join the Miami Heat. Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert responded with an open letter to Cleveland fans, accusing James of “betraying” the franchise and city through his “act of disloyalty” by signing with Miami, willfully ignorant of James’s right as a free agent to choose his team and the Cavaliers’ complete refusal to surround their superstar with talent. Instead, James’ value was reduced to an asset under the exclusive control of the team. Like Sterling, Gilbert showed a cold-hearted disregard for James and dehumanized him by viewing him as a money making enterprise for his team, rather than as a person with his own agency.

Sterling has demonstrated his callousness and insensitivity on numerous occasions in the past, and this week’s latest incident only serves as a reminder of the reality of race relations not just in the NBA, but in the United States as a whole. If the NBA is to continue making strides toward providing equal opportunities for players, it must be quick to sanction Donald Sterling for his remarks and ensure that any future team owners are held to a higher standard of behavior.

A version of this article appeared in the Monday, April 28 print edition. Charles Surette is a contributing writer. Email him at sports@nyunews.com

Comments

  • Katy Smith

    Beware of lying Jews and violent black racist.

CLOSE [x]
CLOSE [x]
CLOSE [x]
profile portrait
Felipe De La Hoz

Multimedia Editor | Felipe De La Hoz is a Colombian national studying journalism at the College of Arts and Sciences. Having been born in Colombia and raised in the United States, Mexico and Brazil, Felipe is a trilingual travel aficionado and enjoys working in varied and difficult environments. Apart from his photography, Felipe enjoys investigative reporting and interviews, interviewing the likes of Colombian ex-M-19 guerrilla fighters and controversial politician Jimmy McMillan. He has covered everything from governmental conferences to full-blown riots, as well as portraiture shoots and dining photography. Having worked under Brazilian photojournalists for Reuters and AFP, Felipe hopes to one day work on demanding journalistic projects and contribute to the global news cycle.

AS
Ann Schmidt

News Editor | Ann is a liberal studies sophomore who lived in Florence during her freshman year. She plans on double-majoring in journalism and political science and is always busy. She is constantly making lists and she loves to laugh.

 

DY
Daniel Yeom

Daniel started at the Features desk of WSN last Spring, writing restaurant reviews whilst indulging on free food and consequently getting fat. Last Fall, he was the dining editor, and he this semester he is senior editor. Daniel is in Gallatin (living the dream) studying Food & Travel Narratives, incorporating aspects of Food Studies, Journalism, and Media, Culture, and Communication. He loves food more than life itself.

Hannah Luu

Deputy Multimedia Editor | Hannah Luu is a ridiculously great Deputy Multimedia Editor. She is a sophomore from Northern California. If you think Northern California means San Francisco you might need to closely examine a map. She is passionate about NPR and being half Asian.

CLOSE [x]
  • How to join:

    The Washington Square News holds open weekly budget meetings at its office located at 838 Broadway every Sunday. All are welcome to attend, no matter your background in journalism, writing, or reporting. Specific times for meetings by desk are listed below. If you wish to talk to an editor before you attend, feel free to check out the Staff page.

    NEWS FEATURES MULTIMEDIA SPORTS ARTS OPINION
    5 P.M. 6 P.M. 6 P.M. 6:30 P.M. 6:30 P.M. 7 P.M.

    Applying for an editor position: Applications for editor positions during the fall or spring semesters are available twice each academic year and can be found here when posted. Applications for the Fall 2012 semester are closed, but check back for Spring 2013. Those who wish to apply are urged to publish pieces in the newspaper and contact current editors for shadowing.

    History of the Washington Square News:

    The Washington Square News is the official daily student newspaper of New York University and serves the NYU, Greenwich Village, and East Village communities. Founded as an independent newspaper in 1973, the WSN allows its undergraduate writers and photographers to cover campus and city news and continues to grow its strong body of award-winning journalists and photographers.

  • The WSN has a circulation of about 60,000 and can be found in over a hundred purple bins distributed throughout campus. It is published Monday through Thursday during the fall and spring semesters and online on Friday, with additional special issues published in the summer. The newspaper recently revamped its website during the Fall 2012 semester.

    Like few campus newspapers in the country, the paper is editorially and financially independent from the university and is solely responsible for selling advertisements to fund its production. The WSN, including its senior staff, is run solely by current undergraduate students and the business-division is largely student-operated as well.

    A Board of Directors comprised of alumni, NYU professors and working news media professionals serves as advisors to the paper. Board members have no control in the WSN's editorial policy or newsroom operations. Alumni of the newspaper are established and leading journalists in such news organizations as The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, NBC news, ABC news, Fox News, and USA Today.

    Next