Clippers face Sterling fall-out, NBA and associates speak out
Try to watch ESPN for 5 full minutes without seeing a pundit, bottom-of-the-screen ticker graphic to Donald Sterling or an over-the-shoulder image of Sterling. In case you’re just crawling out from under a rock, Clippers owner saga goes like this:
Saturday morning, TMZ Sports went public with a conversation – allegedly between 80-year-old Clippers owner Donald Sterling and his mistress V. Stivano. The voice in the recording, which is allegedly Sterling, says:
“Yeah, it bothers me a lot that you want to promo… broadcast that you are associating with black people.”
Stivano, who reportedly has over 100 hours of taped conversations with Sterling, gets a pass for violating the mistress code of silence. Sterling is not as fortunate; by Saturday afternoon, ESPN and company are now in non-stop punditry-mode calling for Sterling’s scalp.
“I’m surprised that anyone is surprised,” said Bryant Gumbel of HBO’s Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel. “I mean, Donald Sterling’s reputation is such that one could say if you keep a vicious dog for a while, and you know it’s vicious, you can’t be surprised when one day it bites someone.”
Sunday, the Clippers players responded – first by throwing their warm-ups at center court and then getting beat by the Warriors. Monday, the fallout intensified, the pundits still talking 24-7. The NAACP ended its plans to honor Sterling. Leon Jenkins, President of the Los Angeles chapter of the NAACP, said, “the words used were very Jim Crow-ish.”
While the sponsors start bailing, State Farm, CarMax, Kia, Virgin America and Red Bull all jump ship. Even Tank rolls past a chance to sing the National Anthem Tuesday, and Sterling’s estranged wife, Rochelle, gets in a twist of the knife with this statement:
“Our family is devastated by the racist comments made by my estranged husband.”
As the pundits keep talking, the NBA keeps investigating with Commissioner Adam Silver – expected to rule on Sterling Tuesday. NBA Hall of Famer Kareem Abdul-Jabbar said:
“We’ve used sports to make progress and to bring people together, and this is going in exactly the opposite direction.”
Get your personal opinion on the scandal heard before the NBA’s Tuesday ruling on KUSI’s All Sports Report Facebook page by answering the poll question at www.facebook.com/kusippr.