Donald Sterling alleged recording sparks action, anger across L.A.
The racist rant attributed to Clippers team owner Donald Sterling is expected to be a topic of much attention this week at Los Angeles City Hall.
Councilman Bernard Parks said Sunday he is drafting a City Council resolution that will demand an apology to Magic Johnson and “the entire Los Angeles community” and ask local newspapers, including the Los Angeles Times, to stop running ads for Sterling “that display his commercial real estate empire and his alleged civic activities.”
“Sterling’s actions are inconsistent with the United States human rights laws, the long-standing positions of the L.A. City Council, the diversity of the community, the fan base of the Clippers and the very high percentage of minorities who worked for and are working for the NBA,” Parks said in a statement Sunday. “Sterling’s actions and statements have no place in today’s society.”
TMZ posted an audio recording Friday that it said captured Sterling, telling a woman identified as V. Stiviano that, “It bothers me a lot that you want to broadcast that you’re associating with black people.” In the recording, the people identified as Stiviano and Sterling argued over the woman posting a photo of herself on Instagram alongside Magic Johnson.
An attorney for V. Stiviano told the Los Angeles Times that the recording was authentic. Clippers President Andy Roeser said in a statement Saturday that the team did not know if the man recorded was Sterling, but that the comments didn’t reflect Sterling’s “views, beliefs or feelings.”
The recording has set off a firestorm.
At 1739 Public House in Los Feliz, bartender Curtis Swanson said Sterling had been known as a racist and slumlord for 35 years. He doubted anything substantial would come of the controversy because “he’s got more money than the people yelling at him.”
“I grew up in the Deep South and old money is always racist money,” Swanson, 38, said. “It’s no different here. It’s just people jumping on the bandwagon.”
As for the fans, “they don’t realize who they’re supporting. He’s a slumlord. Unfortunately, it’s his team. They won’t do a thing. They’ll fine him and have him miss some games.”
Swanson said that Sterling’s comments would not turn him against the Clippers, however. He doesn’t support a boycott and will continue to follow the team.
“I love Chris Paul,” he said. “I’ve never seen Sterling out on the court throwing an assist.”
Among the crowd packing Buffalo Wild Wings, a watering hole and restaurant with more than a dozen television screens at the Crenshaw Mall south of Los Angeles, actor David Lesley weighed his words carefully.
“I hate the very idea of this owner putting his young players in a position to choose between chasing their dreams on the court or standing up in defense of their own dignity -- how dare he,” the 40-year-old Marina del Rey resident said. “How dare he make them wonder whether they should play their hearts out or sit out the game because this owner doesn’t want to associate publicly with African Americans or other minorities.”
“Wake up, Donald Sterling. Wake up,” Lesley said.
Cynthia Gibson echoed the sentiments of many others in the 64-table establishment, which had called in every available staffer in anticipation of record business for a playoff game.
“It’s as though a secret door has been thrown wide open,” she said, sipping a frosty glass of lemonade, “revealing things many people had been trying to hide but every black person knows as hard facts of life.”
Late Friday, TMZ posted an audio recording it said captures Sterling making racist statements in the course of an argument with a woman identified as V. Stiviano. The Times has not confirmed the authenticity of the tape.
“It bothers me a lot that you want to broadcast that you’re associated with black people,” the man in the recording says, later adding: “I’m just saying, in your … Instagram, you don’t have to have yourself with, walking with black people.”
A second audio recording allegedly capturing Sterling making insensitive racial remarks was released Sunday, days after the first tape was made public.
Some sports fans are still trying to reconcile the billionaire who allegedly chastised his girlfriend for posting a picture along Lakers legend Magic Johnson with the owner who hired a black coach, Doc Rivers, to head his team.
“It’s just so out of place for this man, knowing his position,” said Stan Jackson, 58. “He’s right in the middle of a sport that’s predominantly black. It’s not like he’s the owner of a white-dominated hockey team where he can hide and not have to mingle with blacks. It just does not add up. He’s surrounding himself around people that he doesn’t really care for.”
Jackson described himself as a Lakers fan, but said he appreciates the sport of the basketball as a whole and fear that Sterling’s statements will affect the sport.
“It’s just bad for the NBA,” he said. “I’m worried about how this will impact the league. And it’s just bad we have to keep revisiting this shameful sore of racism. We don’t need this during the playoffs.”
The controversy over Sterling prompted marital discord between Nick and Shannon Kearney in the sports bar at El Chollo, south of downtown.
They had biked there from their home in North Hollywood and had no plans to watch the game, which had just started and was visible on TV screens near their table.
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