Reverend Al Sharpton weighed in on the National Basketball Association’s Donald Sterling controversy yesterday, telling TMZ Sports that “No one should be allowed to own a team if they have in fact engaged in this kind of racial language.”
TMZ broke the story with a alleged recording of Donald Sterling, the owner of the Los Angeles Clippers, admonishing his girlfriend for hanging out with black people in public and telling her not to bring black people to his games.
“It bothers me a lot that you want to broadcast that you’re associating with black people,” he allegedly said. “Do you have to?” He added, “Don’t put [Magic Johnson] on an Instagram for the world to have to see so they have to call me. And don’t bring him to my games.”
Reaction has been widespread, with criticism coming from NBA legends such as Magic Johnson to even President Barack Obama. The Clippers team themselves even held a silent protest before their next game, dumping their warm-up apparel at center court.
Adam Silver, NBA commissioner, said an investigation has been launched into whether it was truly Donald Sterling was responsible for the remarks in the recording.
“The audio recording posted by TMZ is truly offensive and disturbing, and we intend to get to the bottom of it as quickly as possible,” Silver said.
In a statement, Andy Roeser, president of the LA Clippers, said: “We do not know if it is legitimate or it has been altered. Mr. Sterling is emphatic that what is reflected on that recording is not consistent with, nor does it reflect his views, beliefs or feelings. It is the antithesis of who he is, what he believes and how he has lived his life. He feels terrible that such sentiments are being attributed to him and apologizes to anyone who might have been hurt by them.”
Sharpton is calling for the NBA to make its investigation into Sterling its number one priority, adding, “We are prepared at National Action Network to rally in front of the NBA headquarters if this matter is not immediately dealt with.”
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