NBA Playoffs: Donald Sterling “the Racist” Has Been Blown WAY Out of Proportion


Apr 27, 2014; Oakland, CA, USA; Los Angeles Clippers center DeAndre Jordan (6) puts on his warm up jacket against the Golden State Warriors during the first quarter in game four of the first round of the 2014 NBA Playoffs at Oracle Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

The Warriors vs Clippers NBA Playoff Series has taken a dramatic turn on the court and tonight will continue to get even more interesting as the series heads back to Los Angeles all tied at two apiece. Of course our interest here at ACU is largely because of the association of Klay Thompson to our school but also it’s the only Playoff series that I have payed really close attention to, at least to this point because I generally haven’t been an NBA fan since Seattle left.

With that in mind and with me being black myself, I feel I have a voice in this matter that we have all heard about so I’m going to use it for a moment.

As you know, the intriguing on-court California rivalry has taken a back seat these past few days to Clippers owner Donald Sterling’s comments to his girlfriend over the phone and it’s a shame. But what’s most shameful for the sake of the series (and the NBA in general) is that it has all been blown WAY out of proportion.

First of all, the fact is that just like any of us, Sterling has a right to whatever views he has. As an American, just as we have the right to our opinions of him, he has every right to his opinion. Call it ramblings of an old man set in his ways, call it a world view of ignorance, call it whatever you wish, it is indeed his right to be belligerent.

Secondly we must remember that these comments, however you see them, were not meant for any of us and they weren’t made publicly. While Sterling has a very publicized history of racial indignities, this is not those instances. It’s my personal opinion that we go out of our way to look way too hard for people to blame for racism being evident in this country still and in cases like this, it eats us up unnecessarily. These comments were made privately and clearly, Sterling doesn’t see himself as a racist.

Abe Lincoln didn’t see himself as a racist either, by the way, even though for a long time he owned black slaves (before he eventually freed them in an effort to do the right thing). Do those things justify Lincoln’s actions back in the day or Sterling’s comments a few days ago? No, absolutely not. But context must be applied.

Who knows what he’s seen these “black friends” of his mistress do? Who knows what parties he’s attended where these people were inconsiderate or rude or said some things he didn’t like? Who knows any of it? He never calls names and his association is color-positive, so maybe it was specifically her “black friends” that he was talking about. Maybe not, but it is truly unfair for us to judge it. I’m sure we’ve all generalized things about another race that if caught on tape would set us up for some huge lawsuit.

If you read the other side of the conversation, by the way, it does seem like plenty of bait was left on the hook. Magic Johnson probably never comes up if she doesn’t mention him. Certain comments are not made if she doesn’t set them up.

I don’t want to get into the dialogue of the conversation, I just wanted to throw out there that as a black man in today’s America, there was nothing here that I personally got overly upset about. I certainly wouldn’t call Sterling a racist for it. Is he stupid for wanting to maintain a sterling (pun intended) public image while publicly acknowledging a wife and a mistress? You bet! Is he stupid for not knowing how to convey a clearly spoiled world view on the matter without bringing up another racial issue? Heck yeah! But let’s get a hold of ourselves, this was supposed to be a very private talk and wasn’t meant to call anybody out.

And look, I totally understand the NBA’s need to maintain its image and believe they are doing the right thing when it comes to actively pursuing action, not because of this conversation, but because of the many unique public outbursts that have come before it from this same individual. It’s not going to go away and it’s not going to die until action of some sort is taken. If you think it’s wrong, I support that thought and I support that some individuals are taking a stand against the man, but I didn’t personally take offense anything that was said “racially” and if I were a Clippers fan, lived in L.A. and had the money would for sure go and see the game tonight.

The Warriors vs Clippers series should be the overlying theme here, even though it’s clearly not. The Clippers themselves got in on the act of overplaying the situation when they did the whole “no name” thing in warm-ups the other day. For me, it’s kind of ruining the series…

But not so much that I won’t be watching to see how everything turns out for the rest of it!