Yesterday morning TMZ released an alleged recording of Sterling and his girlfriend V. Stiviano arguing about what Sterling viewed as her problematic habit of appearing in public and being photographed with minorities, specifically blacks and Latinos.
“You can sleep with [black people]. You can bring them in, you can do whatever you want,” Sterling said. “The little I ask you is not to promote it on that [Instagram] ... and not to bring them to my games."
At one point in the nearly ten-minute phone call, Sterling, took issue with a photo Stiviano took with Magic Johnson and posted to Instagram, and asked her not to bring Johnson to Clippers games. Johnson took to Twitter to say he would not attend Clippers games as long as Sterling is owner.
The recording has caused a predictable firestorm around the NBA and the United States, eliciting reactions from NBA players and owners, the hip-hop community and even President Obama.
"We just have to be clear and steady in denouncing it," the president said in a statement this morning.
NBA superstar LeBron James echoed this sentiment, saying, "there's no room for Donald Sterling in the NBA -- there is no room for him."
Without specifically condemning his fellow owner, Mavericks owner Mark Cuban addressed the controversy with, "The obvious is the obvious. There's no reason for me to repeat the obvious."
To rapper Snoop Dogg, the obvious was worth repeating and professionalism wasn't a concern.
"[Expletive] you, your momma and everything connected to you, you racist piece of [expletive]," the rapper said in a video posted to Instagram.
Despite numerous venomous reactions to Sterling's views, in a press conference yesterday NBA commissioner Adam Silver said he will wait for the results of their investigation before taking action. When asked directly by longtime NBA reporter J.A. Adande why no actions have been taken in the past given Sterling's long history of discrimination, Silver claimed ignorance, saying "I haven't looked back at any past proceedings involving Mr. Sterling."
Bryant Gumbel posed the same question on Meet the Press this morning, expressing his sentiment that no one should be surprised.
"If you keep a vicious dog for a while and know it's vicious you can't be surprised when one day it bites someone [...] I'm kind of amazed that anyone is surprised at this and frankly I'm kind of surprised the NBA is being let off the hook," Bryant Gumbel told NBC's David Gregory this morning.
"Why did the NBA allow this man to own a team when they knew what kind of a person he was? I don't want us singling out the NBA because they're not the the exception to the rule." Gumbel then briefly alluded to Major League Baseball and the questionable practices of Astros ownership.
"We look at the tip of the iceberg and ignore the mass underneath."
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