Column: It’s time to retire Donald Sterling


It’s time to retire Donald Sterling.

Let the real estate magnate and Clippers owner take his millions and buy a hockey team. Then he won’t have to worry about black superstars showing up for games on his girlfriend’s arm.

That’s what seemed to set him off in what is alleged to be a recorded argument with his girlfriend, who had posted a picture of herself with Magic Johnson on her Instagram account.

“It bothers me a lot that you want to broadcast that you’re associating with black people,” the man on the recording said. “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 tape, which goes on for almost 10 minutes, is riddled with stereotypes and comments so outlandish, it sounds like a “Saturday Night Live” spoof.

This instance of “racial behavior” -- as sports commentators are awkwardly calling it -- may be outrageous, but it shouldn’t be shocking.

Sterling has a long history of biased and offensive remarks, not to mention a well-deserved reputation as the worst team owner in pro basketball.

Sterling has spent millions settling federal discrimination claims and lawsuits related to apartment buildings he owns. According to depositions from former employees, he didn’t like renting to blacks or Latinos. They testified that he said black people “smell” and “Mexicans … just sit around and smoke and drink.”

I’d say we can take “diversity training” off the table as an option to rehabilitate him.

If Sterling’s young trophy girlfriend -- who happens to be black and Latino -- can’t drag the octogenarian into the 21st century, I don’t think NBA commissioner Adam Silver has a chance.

A temporary suspension? Sterling is a billionaire who doesn’t care what the establishment thinks. What we ought to do is declare every Clipper a free agent and see who’s willing to play for him.


Sterling’s been an embarrassment to the NBA long before this weekend’s flap.

I don’t know if this new development paints Sterling as a hate-filled bigot or a self-centered buffoon.

The man on the tape sounds like a jealous boyfriend, afraid of losing face with his friends. He threatened to back out of their European vacation if his girlfriend doesn’t stop consorting with black men.

His fear of public censure over race-mixing is patently stupid -- and might be comic if Sterling weren’t raking in millions from a team whose fortunes rely on the talents of black athletes.

Read more Sandy Banks columns here.