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Spike Lee is likening Donald Sterling‘s racist and inflammatory remarks to those of a slave owner.
Lee, speaking to CNN’s Anderson Cooper, said that he believes the owner of the L.A. Clippers should be removed from his position within the NBA.
“I don’t know the bylaws of the league, but he has to go … because he’s tainting all the other 29 partners, he’s tainting the league, and he’s tainting America,” Lee said during an appearance on Anderson Cooper 360. “And when you hear something like that, that is the mentality of a slave master. He sees his players as slaves.”
His comments echo those of Oprah Winfrey, who told CBS This Morning that Sterling’s comments remind her of “a plantation mentality in the 21st century, in 2014. It just doesn’t fit.”
Meanwhile, Lee said it wasn’t a surprise to him when the audio surfaced of Sterling allegedly telling girlfriend V. Stiviano not to publicly associate with black people, including Magic Johnson, and not to bring them to Clippers games. Lee said that when he was in Los Angeles for the NBA All-Star Game in 2011, he and a friend ran into Sterling at a restaurant. According to Lee, Sterling said to them: “Why are [the players] gonna go on strike? We should pay all the players $500,000. If they didn’t play basketball, they wouldn’t have a job.”
Lee also said that his second cousin Baron Davis, who played for the Clippers from 2008-11, has “told me a whole lot of stuff about Sterling.”
He added: “People say, ‘Well doesn’t [Sterling] know that all his players are black?’ Masters knew that too when we were out there in the cotton fields working. So he has to go.”
Lee also said he’s disappointed that more white players haven’t come forward to condemn Sterling and his remarks.
“If you are someone who believes in humanity, justice for all, whether based on race, sex, whatever, this is an affront to everybody,” he said. “We should all be outraged as Americans.”
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