Is LA Clippers’ Owner, Donald Sterling, a Racist?

V_Stiviano
TMZ reported on a socially and morally damning conversation, allegedly held between NBA basketball owner, Donald Sterling, and his alleged, now ex-girlfriend, V. Stiviano.1 Sterling’s purported comments may have single-handedly taken us back two or three millennia without the courtesy of a Silver DeLorean and white-haired guy named Doc. When we look at our phones, tablets, watches and calendars we may see the year 2014; however, the energy present over the NBA right now is reflective of a time more akin to 18th and 19th century America, when chattel slavery was alive and well, rather than the more liberal mindset of the 21st century. The alleged attitude of LA Clippers’ owner, Donald Sterling, bears the sentient fruit of  generational programming, born of a society of separatist and elitist mentalities, rooted in racial and national prejudice.

In a silent protest, Clipper’s players turned their warmup shirts inside out (Click here to Watch Video).

JerseysInsideOut

It has been reported on various Media Outlets, News Channels, etc., that Sterling allegedly became agitated with Stiviano after hearing that she posted pictures of herself posing with NBA Hall of Famer, Magic Johnson. Those pictures have since been removed from Instagram. Nevertheless, the tensions continued to brew between them… so much so, that Miss V, found it necessary to fight back. During the showdown, she was the quickest on the draw. V pulled out the big guns and recorded their conversation, where she emotionally triggered him, repeatedly, provoking him to speak passionately and openly, in order to expose the secrets of his heart and mind to the world. But why? This is obviously not the first time that she has been privy to this type of conversation with Sterling and she knew that she could benefit from the damaging things that he says. When you consider who he is and what he has at stake there is a quite a bit on the table to be compromised, lost and damaged. TMZ reported that Stiviano has more than 100 hours of audio on Sterling and reports that he has come right out and asked, “How can we make this go away?” Was all of this a calculated ploy to get money from Sterling and to keep her hand in his purse? Probably! However, that does not change the fact that Sterling is responsible for his own actions and there would be nothing to control him with if there was nothing incriminating smoldering beneath the smoke. Is this is a case of the chickens coming home to roost?

At this point, Rochelle Sterling, Wife of Donald Sterling, has openly stated that she is disgusted by her estranged husbands comments, referring to the audio that was released, which at minimum confirms that it is indeed Donald Sterling’s voice. Rochelle and Donald have been married for more than 50 years. I find her to be the most credible in recognizing Sterling’s voice.

Mr. Sterling is no stranger to discrimination allegations. He has been in court numerous times since 2003 for discriminatory behaviors specific to his real estate practices and actions as a NBA team owner. According to CNN, “The Nonprofit Housing Rights Center and a group of tenants who lived in Sterling’s properties filed a federal lawsuit in 2003 against Sterling, accusing him of ‘numerous discriminatory statements and housing practices,’ according to court documents.” This case was dismissed after reaching a settlement, where the judge ordered Sterling to pay almost $5 million in plaintiff attorney’s fees, other details of the settlement are undisclosed.2 Deadspin,3 referenced at the end of this article, has posted quoted information on the depositions from the 2003 case, acquired by ESPN The Magazine’s, Peter Keating.In 2006, Sterling settled yet again, for nearly $3mil in response to claims made against him by the Department of Justice for refusing to lease his Beverly Hills properties to African-Americans, Non-Koreans in Koreatown, Los Angeles and to families with children.2 As if that is not enough smoke within a 6-year span to alarm us of a real fire, LA Clippers former executive vice president and general manager (1986 to 2008), Elgin Baylor, also alleged discrimination in a 2009 lawsuit against Donald Sterling.  Baylor claimed that he was underpaid and that Sterling treated him “as a token because of his race.”2 Some of you are probably asking the same question that I did, “If that is true, why did you stay for 22 years?” Was Baylor selling out? Baylor also contended that Sterling wanted a ‘Southern Plantation type structure for the team with poor black boys from the south and a white head coach. (Fused quotations)2 By evidence of his own behavior, Baylor, had no intention of leaving the Clipper’s organization and the only reason these alleged truths came out when they did is because Baylor wanted to defend what he purportedly believed to be a wrongful termination. Despite when this information came to the table, and despite whether or not Baylor won his case, his claims may very well be true, proven or unproven.  But what escapes me is this: How is it possible that an African-American executive vice president/general manager, could and would, knowingly stay with an organization, an owner, who held such a racist visage? Was Baylor content being the HNIC until he was axed (pardon the adage)? What other reasons would he have to stay if his claims are true?  Is it possible that Baylor, who is just a little shy of 5 months younger than Sterling himself, mirrors the thinking of man with same cultural afflictions, brought on by generational influences and scores of socioeconomic and sociopolitical changes through the years that is an inevitable byproduct of a not-so-distant antebellum south? I point this out to help each of us to soberly examine the role that we may be playing in this type of madness, on some level, but perhaps are remiss to it and the damage that it is wrecking. All of us have a story. No, one person, is a villain alone, they have help in becoming that. Therefore, let us recognize that any behaviors that we participate in that honors separation and bias against another human being, publicly or privately, regardless of how small, gives life to the collective agreement for this distortion.

Examine the audio for yourself . What do you hear? Do you find Sterling’s (alleged) comments racist?


Doc Rivers, current coach for the Clippers had this to say during an interview, “It’s disturbing. Listen, it’s disturbing if you hear it from anyone. It doesn’t matter if he works with us or works for us.. Uh, it doesn’t matter. It’s a disturbing comment. Uh… but we have to be above it, uh, right now.  It’s about being human. You know, so, we’re not going to get to what race we are, uh… because we represent each other and this is our team and that’s the way we’re going to keep it. And, no one was happy about, JJ Reddick was just as pissed as Chris Paul. You know? And that’s the way it should be. Uh, having said that, our goal is to win the NBA title and we’re not going to let anything stand in the way of that. Uh, that’s adversity that we didn’t want, but we have it, we have to deal with it. We’re gonna play and we’re gonna play hard. Our enemy right now has to be Golden State and we have to get that focus on them. Why should we let someone’s comments stop us from what we’re trying to do? Uh, we’re trying to do something too, here. And, uh, we don’t want that to be, to get in the way of what we want to do.”

Lebron James shared his feelings about Sterling’s alleged comments, “There’s no room for that in our game. We’ve uh… found a way to make this the greatest game, uh… in the world and, and for comments like that, it… it takes our game and we can’t have that.  We can’t have it from a player, we can’t have it from an owner, we can’t have it from a fan and so and so on. It doesn’t matter if you’re Black, White, Hispanic, or whatever the case may be. Uh… we can’t have that a part of our game and uh… You know the Commish, uh… will take care of it. Uh… we’re sure of that and we’ll continue to build this game the best way we can because it’s been an unbelievable 2014 playoffs and we don’t want Donald Sterling’s comments to overshadow what this game means to everyone, including the fans.”

While I understand Doc Rivers, Lebron James and many others’ stated views, not to allow such ignorance to overshadow what the players, the league, the fans and so many others enjoy, I have to say, “Pause!” In my humble opinion, this is not a time, to keep it moving. This is a time ripe for making a statement and taking action! This is not about basketball! Basketball is simply the catalyst that is shining a microscope on an illness that is very real and prevalent in our society and it must be addressed. Something far greater is a stake, the quality of humanity! I’m Sorry, but NO MORE

“nighttime, sniffling, sneezing, aching, coughing, stuffy-head, fever, so you can rest medicine.”

We do not need to suppress the symptoms so that we can rest! It is not a time to sleep on the issues. We need to realize that this fever we are experiencing is therapeutic and the temperature of our culture is rising to heal the bacterial and viral elements of this unhealthy state of being. We must address this very primitive thinking that, like a cancer, seeks to destroy its host. This shadow aspect of the self does not understand that when it wins, it loses, just like cancer!

As you can hear, the audio is very revealing. Unfortunately, this is an issue that is very old and spans many cultures and ages. It is going to take more than one conversation, article or book to dissolve the surmounting issues of non-acceptance, intolerance, racism, etc. I wish the situation were as black and white as it appears (no pun intended), but the truth of the matter is this is a deeply complex psychological virus that has rooted itself in the very root directory of our human physiology. It is so deeply integrated into who we are at a fundamental level, it doesn’t seem far-reaching to think it may be coded into our BIOS Utility. I do not say this facetiously, but from a perspective of staunch resolve.

Donald Sterling’s alleged comments, “it’s been that way historically,” refers to his observations of the judgments that we as a human family hold against one another based on our tribal differences and he believes those observations justifies his frame of thinking.1 Sterling lives in a subculture dominated by manipulation and control; a system of reward and punishment; above average perks for being a good player; for accepting their place as a pawn in the strategy of a larger plan. People who essentially trade their soul because of fear, security, money, etc., have a difficult time seeing pass what they are choosing because they, themselves are slaves. This is what they know and it is who they are. When they reach a certain point, neural pathways have been created, and there is a chemical script running as a program in the background. It would take some real effort to override those programs and too many are afraid to think for themselves; for them the stakes may just be too high!

Did you know that hate groups have risen by 56% since the year 2000, according to Southern Law Poverty Center dot org. The question is why?  And the answer remains the same as it always has, FEAR! These groups represent the extremist reactions to fear, fear amplified.6

The mentality of much of White America during the periods of slavery and for some, thereafter, have always been disparate. Not all Whites hated African-Americans. Some, were simply afraid to admit their association with or lack of hatred for, African-Americans because they did not want to bring any danger, exile or suffer any other type of ramifications against themselves, their friends or their families. This was a very real factor for them.  The hatred was so deep that certain groups of whites would do unconscionable things to other whites, simply for fraternizing with or showing any level of compassion towards blacks, and such mentalities still exist today. All of this is certainly an outrage and overtly cowardly, and while I do realize that communities are deeply triggered (not just Blacks), but we must not let our emotions run the show.  This subject has always been devastatingly hard to face, as it digs at the deepest aspects of our vulnerabilities and challenges our emotional intelligence.  However, we must stay centered.  It is a new day. A new earth is anchoring and inviting us all to perceive beyond the veil and to identify the true elements of this vial pathology that continues to infect the hearts and minds of our people. Many white and Non-Whites alike, do not believe that they are racist because they do not have anything against a particular group, per se. They are, however, in bed with or somehow connected with people who are, and unfortunately, are not willing to take a stand that personally puts them at a disadvantage with the counterparts they believe “define” who they are in society.

Let me be clear, “I am not, in any way, shape, form or stretch of the imagination, defending these behaviors nor am I denigrating the very real impact that such behaviors have on our society or any particular peoples, individually or as a group.” However, it is my role to stay objective and to identify, as best I can, truth, unclouded by or conflated with emotional fogs. And if we are going to call a thing a thing, as our sister Iyanla Vanzant says, we must be willing to tell the hard truths, despite how uncomfortable that may be. If we are really honest with ourselves, we can admit that we are not judgment free on this issue.  Many of us have had our own personal challenges with healing the behaviors of such infected thinking; behaviors that we, ourselves, are not proud of. This disease has taken its toll on many, to greater and lesser degrees; yet, the fight remains. The truth is, there are levels of racism and some levels are far more egregious than others, but ALL must be healed. The measure of imbalance is a determinate of the degree of threat that will impact our personal growth and evolution of society at large. We want to walk around saying it’s 2014, as if reminding ourselves of the year is somehow going to instantly catapult us, like a portal out of a Marvel story, into a paradigm of spiritual awakening and maturity. We think to ourselves, “it’s all good” and to some degree it is, but we are still responsible for being mindful of the real dangers of the hatred that is amongst us. We must do the work! We must each take responsibility for our part is this still, very real, illness. Energy flows where attention goes! Like ripples in a pond, our behavior and thinking effects not only our immediate environment, but reaches distances beyond our imagination. When we recognize the evidence of distortions within ourselves, let us choose to “Pause,” then choose actions that are more responsible, more healthy and more loving. May mercy be upon us as a people.

Tomorrow, we will reveal deeper insights about the conversation that has the world stewing and what it is all really about.  You might be shocked at what you hear. Stay tuned to learn more, as the insights unfold!

Written by Nabiyah An-Nur

 

Resources:

01.) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YhT6d5fMhzI

02.) http://www.cnn.com/2014/04/27/us/donald-sterling-lawsuits/?hpt=hp_t1

03.) http://deadspin.com/5263277/the-sordid-life-of-clippers-owner-donald-sterling

04.) http://m.espn.go.com/nba/story?storyId=4187729&wjb=&pg=1

05.) http://www.nydailynews.com/sports/basketball/sterling-wife-locked-lawsuit-clippers-owner-mistress-article-1.1770819  – Picture above is compliments of NY Daily News

06.)  http://sports.yahoo.com/news/clippers-wear-warm-up-shirts-inside-out-to-protest-alleged-comments-by-team-s-owner-202850099.html – Video Link

07.) http://www.splcenter.org/what-we-do/hate-and-extremism

08.) http://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/nba/clippers/2014/04/27/donald-sterling-racism-allegations-outrage-los-angeles/8333029/

09.)  http://www.cbsnews.com/news/donald-sterling-naacp-drops-plans-to-award-la-clippers-owner/ – Headliner picture is compliments of CBS News

10.) http://losangeles.cbslocal.com/2014/04/27/clippers-turn-jerseys-inside-out-in-silent-protest-against-sterling/

11.)  http://www.tmz.com/2014/04/28/donald-sterling-v-stiviano-settlement-conversation-book-deal-life-clippers-audio-recordings/

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