Clippers saga just beginning

An audio recording of Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling sparked frustration and outrage in the National Basketball Association on April 26. In the midst of the first round of the NBA Playoffs, the Clippers have more than just an opposing team to consider and worry about. The Clippers now have to finish off the season playing for an owner that they lost all respect for.

TMZ news released the recording of the conversation between Sterling and his girlfriend. Sterling was arguing with his girlfriend about who she has been bringing to his games and associating herself with.

“It bothers me a lot that you want to broadcast that you’re associating with black people,” Sterling said in the audio recording.

Sterling said to his girlfriend he is fine with her having a relationship with black people but he does not think she should publicize it.

“I want you to love [black people] privately,” Sterling said. “But why publicize it on the Instagram and why bring it to my games?”

Once the recording was released by TMZ, people among the NBA reacted instantly. The Clippers decided to wear their warm-up gear inside-out for the following game [which they lost] to protest against the opinions of Sterling. Other teams like the Miami Heat also joined The Clippers and wore their gear inside-out. The Houston Rockets and Portland Trail Blazers decided to wear black socks in their game four of the series.

Clipper fan Bruno Sajor supports the players in their protest to make a point, although they could have done more than just turning their gear inside-out.

“I think turning their warm-ups inside-out was a good starting point,” Sajor said. “As a fan, I want to watch my team play, but the Clippers could’ve done more like not even played the game and I would’ve understood that.”

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver held a conference on April 29 just a few days after the release of the recording. Silver made it very clear that statements like Sterling’s are absolutely not tolerated in the NBA and his punishment will show for that.

“I am banning Mr. Sterling for life from any association with the Clippers organization or the NBA,” Silver said in the conference. “Mr. Sterling may not attend any NBA games or practices, he may not be present at any Clippers facilities and he may not participate in any business or player personnel decisions involving the team.”

Silver made this statement in hopes to get Sterling to willingly sell the organization. The commissioner made it very clear that Sterling is no longer welcome in the NBA. If he does not willingly do so, the owners of the NBA will vote to force him out or not.

“I think [the NBA] handled it the best way for the players. None of them seem to be upset with the decision that came out and they’ll be happy their commissioner supports them and doesn’t take sides with the owners,” said Guy Lynott, a forward for the California Lutheran University basketball team.

Silver made his announcement and the playoff games continued as scheduled. The Clippers got the news they wanted to hear and they played much better basketball beating the Golden State Warriors 126-121 in Game 7 of the first round. LA has moved on in the playoffs and will be playing the Oklahoma City Thunder in the next round.

CLU point guard Lanaki Apele understands that diversity is in every sport and he would be ashamed if something like this were to happen to him.

“Sports are filled with diversity and it’s been like that in our generation. I would be ashamed to play for somebody who is like that because I would feel used as a person and as an athlete,” Apele said.

Apele would continue to play just like the Clippers are doing but he would play under a different condition.

“I wouldn’t be playing for him, I’d be playing for my teammates. I’d play for the people with me and the people next to me,” Apele said.

No one knows exactly what the future holds for Sterling, but with the circumstances commissioner Silver made, it does not seem like he will be with the league much longer.

 

Ryan Perez
Staff Writer
Published May 7, 2014