NBA legend Kareem Abdul Jabbar, who is known for speaking out on issues of race in the United States, has weighed in on the alleged racist ramblings of L.A. Clippers owner Donald Sterling.
Jabbar agreed that Sterling is clearly racist, but was more incensed by not only systems of oppression that breed the Donald Sterlings of the world, but the actions of Sterling’s mistress, V. Stiviano.
Read more from Time Magazine:
Yes, I’m angry, too, but not just about the sins of Donald Sterling. I’ve got a list. But let’s start with Sterling. I used to work for him, back in 2000 when I coached for the Clippers for three months. He was congenial, even inviting me to his daughter’s wedding. Nothing happened or was said to indicate he suffered from IPMS (Irritable Plantation Master Syndrome). Since then, a lot has been revealed about Sterling’s business practices:
- 2006: U.S. Dept. of Justice sued Sterling for housing discrimination. Allegedly, he said, “Black tenants smell and attract vermin.”
- 2009: He reportedly paid $2.73 million in a Justice Dept. suit alleging he discriminated against blacks, Hispanics, and families with children in his rentals. (He also had to pay an additional nearly $5 million in attorneys fees and costs due to his counsel’s “sometimes outrageous conduct.”)
- 2009: Clippers executive (and one of the greatest NBA players in history) sued for employment discrimination based on age and race.
And now the poor guy’s girlfriend (undoubtedly ex-girlfriend now) is on tape cajoling him into revealing his racism. Man, what a winding road she led him down to get all of that out. She was like a sexy nanny playing “pin the fried chicken on the Sambo.” She blindfolded him and spun him around until he was just blathering all sorts of incoherent racist sound bites that had the news media peeing themselves with glee.
They caught big game on a slow news day, so they put his head on a pike, dubbed him Lord of the Flies, and danced around him whooping.
Make no mistake: Donald Sterling is the villain of this story. But he’s just a handmaiden to the bigger evil. In our quest for social justice, we shouldn’t lose sight that racism is the true enemy. He’s just another jerk with more money than brains.
So, if we’re all going to be outraged, let’s be outraged that we weren’t more outraged when his racism was first evident. Let’s be outraged that private conversations between people in an intimate relationship are recorded and publicly played. Let’s be outraged that whoever did the betraying will probably get a book deal, a sitcom, trade recipes with Hoda and Kathie Lee, and soon appear on Celebrity Apprentice and Dancing with the Stars.
Jabbar also wrote the following on his Facebook page:
Donald Sterling’s recent comments confirm that he is guilty of the systematic racism that he’s been accused of for the past 14 years. The best possible outcome would be for him to voluntarily give up his franchise so a new owner who reflects the values of America can take over. In the meantime, we all need to continue to support the Clippers, who clearly are enduring a moral crisis. At a time like this, it’s important that they remember that, though the team is owned by Sterling, they are not defined by him anymore than Americans are defined by any one elected official. The players are defined by their actions. And right now their actions should reflect their commitment to the fans and to showing the world that the players live up to the principles of equality.
Read more at Time Magazine.