UPDATED 4/29/14, 2:54 p.m. EST:
At the news of the NBA deciding to ban Donald Sterling for life, after he admitted to making the statements that recently aired, the Rev. Al Sharpton (pictured) released the following statement:
“The lifetime banning of Donald Sterling is a bold and appropriate action in this matter. This is a huge victory for those of us that stood against this ugly display of racism. We must continue to make unequivocal stands against bigotry and racism. I look forward to speaking to NBA Commissioner Adam Silver and beginning the dialogue with other civil rights leaders right away to discuss putting in measures to make sure this never happens again.”
The fervor surrounding Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling and his alleged racist comments taken from a taped conversation between he and his girlfriend show no signs of slowing. Rev. Al Sharpton (pictured) and his National Action Network (NAN) are calling for the NBA to move swiftly in its investigation of the comments and suspend Sterling if the findings hold true.
Sharpton wasted little time in responding to the allegations that Sterling told his girlfriend, who is of Black and Mexican descent, to not bring Black people to his team’s games. The “Politics Nation” host appeared on NBC’s “Meet The Press” Sunday morning and spoke frankly with host David Gregory about the NAN’s plans if Sterling was indeed behind the comments.
From “Meet The Press“:
REV. AL SHARPTON: Well, I think that clearly the National Basketball Association must suspend him, or must say that, “We’re going to remove any kind of imprimatur we have on this team if he’s the owner.” You cannot have someone own an NBA team in this country and have these kind of attitudes. You must remember, he settled multi-million dollar discrimination lawsuits in the past, so he has a background. So what we said in National Action Network is the NBA ought to move right away. Let’s not play games. They say they’re going to investigate.
DAVID GREGORY: Right.
REV. AL SHARPTON: He needs to state unequivocally, “That’s not me on the tape.” If it is him on the tape, they need to move today, or we’re going after advertisers, saying, “How can you advertise with a team owned by a man with this kind of attitude.”
Watch Rev. Al Sharpton’s comments on “Meet The Press” below:
Lorraine Miller, the interim president of the NAACP, joined Sharpton on the program and stated that her group has revoked granting Sterling a lifetime achievement award as previously reported.
Bryant Gumbel was also on the program and offered his careful view of the unfolding reports. Gumbel said that the Sterling issue, and the NBA at large, should not be the lone focal point of outrage, adding that issues of racism and discrimination existed in other major sports leagues.
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver announced Monday evening that he will hold a press conference at 2 p.m. EST Tuesday, regarding the Sterling controversy. In response, Sharpton has requested that Silver meet with he and other civil rights leaders to discuss the league’s investigation of Sterling’s comments.
On Tuesday, Sharpton is meeting with Congressional Black Caucus members in Washington as well. Sharpton will be joined by President of the National Urban League Marc Morial; Interim President of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) Lorraine Miller; and President of the National Coalition on Black Civic Participation (NCBCP) Melanie Campbell.
Shaprton has demanded that Silver meet with this group of leaders ahead of today’s press conference.