The NBA said it is conducting an investigation following a report by TMZ late Friday of an audio recording that allegedly captures Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling making racist statements in the course of an argument with a friend.
A person identified by TMZ as Sterling can be heard in the recording, said to be made made earlier this month, telling a female friend, identified as V. Stiviano, that he was upset she posted a picture on her Instagram account of herself next to Lakers legend Magic Johnson.
“It bothers me a lot that you want to broadcast that you’re associating with black people,” Sterling allegedly says, later adding, “I’m just saying, in your … Instagrams, you don’t have to have yourself with, walking with black people.”
“Don’t put him on an Instagram for the world to have to see so they have to call me. And don’t bring him to my games.”
The NBA released a statement saying it was conducting a “full investigation” into the recording.
“The remarks heard on the recording are disturbing and offensive,” NBA spokesman Mike Bass said in the statement, “but at this time we have no further information.”
TMZ did not state in its report how it obtained the recording. The Times has not heard the tape or verified its authenticity.
Johnson tweeted that he and his wife would never go to a Clippers game again as long as Sterling owned the team.
“I feel sorry for my friends Coach Doc Rivers and Chris Paul that they have to work for a man that feels that way about African Americans,” Johnson tweeted. “LA Clippers owner Donald Sterling’s comments about African Americans are a black eye for the NBA.”
The Clippers did not immediately respond to a request for a comment, but Rivers and players are expected to meet with the media Saturday afternoon at the University of San Francisco as they continue preparations for their first-round playoff series against the Golden State Warriors. The Clippers hold a lead of 2 games to 1 in the best-of-seven series that resumes with Game 4 on Sunday at Oracle Arena in Oakland.
For Sterling, who is married to Rochelle Sterling, this is not a first brush with racial issues.
In 2009, Sterling agreed to pay $2.73 million to settle allegations by the government that he refused to rent apartments to Latinos, blacks and families with children in the Koreatown area of Los Angeles.
Former Clippers General Manager Elgin Baylor also filed a lawsuit against Sterling that same year contending the owner embraced a “vision of a Southern plantation-type structure” for his organization, though his claim was eventually rejected by a jury.
ALSO:Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times