Clippers, Sterling and Controversy

By Kia Smith

Controversy is brewing in NBA land about the fiasco surrounding Donald Sterling, the owner of the Los Angeles Clippers. TMZ released an audio recording of a conversation between Sterling and his ex-girlfriend Vanessa Stiviano, in which Sterling chastised her for posing with blacks on her Instagram page (i.e. Magic Johnson and Matt Kemp). And how he doesn’t want blacks at his games. While it’s still up in the air whether the audio voice recording is legitimate or not, it still sucks that there are people in this world who feel this way about minorities.

As much as people like to throw around that we are living in a “diverse” post-racial world, (because, having a black president actually means something) something like this happens (which isn’t even the worst thing I’ve heard concerning racism, but who’s here to rank oppression anyway) and then America realizes we still have the same problem with racism.

But we need to focus on the players, who are between a rock and hard place.


It is so easy for us to say what the players should and should not do when we are not in their situations.

Sure, they wore their jerseys inside out as a silent protest during Sunday’s game.

Sure, some players like DeAndre Jordan took to his Instagram account and posted a picture of blackness.

Sure, there are rumors that Magic Johnson is looking into buying the Clippers, which would be a good thing because there needs to be more black NBA owners in the league.

But yet, I still feel sorry for them.

When racism and business is so closely intertwined, a person has to be very careful about his or her ways to eradicate racism. Doing too much can land a person getting his or her financial stability taken away, and doing too little can cause scrutiny from the entire black community.

Neither is a situation anyone would want to be in, even us looking from the outside in.

Earlier this month, Dr. Cornel West said something very thought provoking, while referencing an old Wu-Tang Clan song. He said: “Cash rules everything around me. But it doesn’t have to rule you.”

And that’s true. But I think we’ve been conditioned to accept racism in exchange for being financially stable, that we think it’s acceptable to be owned by someone who thinks so much less of us.

In a perfect world, we want the players to cease playing games as long as Donald Sterling is their owner.

We also want the players and their families to be compensated when they quit, so they won’t have to worry about financial stability while they take a civil rights vacation.

We want Donald Sterling sued for everything he’s worth, and leave him broke and penniless so he can learn a valuable lesson on how to treat people.

Hell, we probably want NAACP lawyers to represent the players if a lawsuit does come forth.

Our wants are justified, but lets be real: We don’t live in a perfect world.

That’s usually how it goes though. When racists decide to let the world know they’re racist, or they get found out because some racists hide their racism very well, everyone else is expected to turn the other cheek and figure out ways to accommodate them, instead of letting the racist know that their behavior is unacceptable.

Even with major companies such as Red Bull, Sprint, KIA, Aqua Hydrate and others pulling their sponsorships from the team, not individual players in some cases, I still feel sorry for the Clippers.

While they are getting pressured from friends, family, fans and the media to take action and stand up for themselves, let’s not forget Sterling is still employed, still wealthy, and still racist.