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Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling is under fire after a recorded racist rant surfaced online. NBA leadership, high-profile athletes and political figures are weighing in — and the backlash is only getting more heated.
Here are the major developments (so far).
What did Sterling say?
On Friday, TMZ posted audio of what it claims is Sterling arguing with girlfriend V. Stiviano over her friendships with minorities. He was apparently upset about a since-deleted Instagram photo of her with Magic Johnson, and he said he didn’t want Johnson or other minorities at Clippers games.
“Don’t put him [Magic] on an Instagram for the world to have to see,” he said. “And don’t bring him to my games.” (Full audio below.) On Sunday, Deadspin posted an extended version of the conversation, and Stiviano’s lawyers released a statement saying the TMZ audio is “legitimate.”
Everybody – and Magic Johnson in particular. In a series of tweets Saturday, Johnson said he would not be attending Clippers games as long as Sterling owns the team. On Sunday, Johnson appeared on ABC’s NBA Countdown to say Sterling should no longer own the team.
Meanwhile, LeBron James wants Sterling out of the league, rapper Snoop Dogg is calling the mogul a “racist piece of shit,” and L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti is also condemning Sterling. (Read more responses here.)
What is the NBA doing about it?
The league says it is investigating the audio recording. In the meantime, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said Saturday Sterling has agreed not to attend the Clippers’ playoff game Sunday in Oakland. Silver is refusing to discuss possible sanctions against Sterling until an investigation is complete – which he hopes will be in a few days.
What’s Sterling’s response?
The Clippers organization says the recording does not reflect Sterling’s feelings or values, and that it is not sure whether the tape was doctored.
“It is the antithesis of who he is, what he believes and how he has lived his life,” the Clippers said in a statement. “He feels terrible that such sentiments are being attributed to him and apologizes to anyone who might have been hurt by them.”
The statement goes on to say that Sterling considers Magic Johnson a friend, and implies that Sterling girlfriend V. Stiviano leaked the audio to TMZ. (Read more on Sterling’s response here.)
About that NAACP honor …
In a case of incredibly poor timing, Sterling was slated to receive a lifetime achievement award from the NAACP Los Angeles May 15. However, the organization has since abandoned thate plan. Sterling has already been honored by the NAACP’s L.A. branch twice before. Meanwhile, the NAACP California State Conference is asking African-Americans and Latinos to boycott Clippers games.
What are the Clippers players doing about it?
Sterling’s players protested him Sunday, coming out onto the court before their game against the Golden State Warriors at Oracle Arena in Oakland, Calif., with their warm-up jerseys on inside out to hide the team logo.
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