Don’t be fooled by photo above; the couple are not so loving today as Shelley Sterling has quickly sought to dissociate herself from the alleged racist remarks of her estranged husband, Donald Sterling.
The unverified recording has created the most extraordinary reactions when considered objectively, and not through the prism of the uncontrolled media-fueled hysteria that has erupted following its release. Whether or not Donald Sterling actually said the words as quoted, they were uttered in the context of a private conversation between him and his girlfriend.
As the other Donald (Trump) is reported to have commented, the woman who did it was ” the girlfriend from Hell!” Would it not have been reasonable for anyone in such a relationship to have expected that his words would not be secretly recorded, and then broadcast without any context to the world?
Shelley rushed to issue a statement via TMZ, saying:
“Our family is devastated by the racist comments made by my estranged husband. My children and I do not share these despicable views or prejudices. “We will not let one man’s small-mindedness poison the spirit of the fans and accomplishments of the team in the city we love. We are doing everything in our power to stand by and support our Clippers team.”
Extracts from the comments of Donald Sterling to which she refers, include:
“It bothers me a lot that you want to broadcast that you’re associating with black people. Do you have to?
“You can sleep with them. You can bring them in, you can do whatever you want. The little I ask you is not to promote it on that … and not to bring them to my games. Don’t put him [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.”
Not many men would be so generous in their acceptance, and even give permission, for their girlfriend to do anything with other men, including sleeping with them.
Which begs the question that no-one wants to ask in America today.
What if the people to whom he was referring had been white?
Because they were not white, the NBA has precipitously slapped 80-year-old Sterling with a $2.5 million fine, and banned him from participating in basketball management for what is left of his life.
Justifying the action, NBA commissioner Adam Silver said:
“The hateful opinions voiced by that of the man [on the tape] are those of Donald Sterling, … I’m personally distraught the views expressed by Mr. Sterling came from within an institution that has historically taken such a leadership role in matters of race relations.”
Sterling is not allowed “to attend any NBA games or practices, be present at any Clippers office or facility, or participate in any business or player personnel decisions involving the team.” He is also barred from attending any Board of Governors meetings and participating in any other league activity.
The obvious conclusion resulting from these decisions is that the Clippers would need new owners, and prospective buyers are already circling. The bidding war is expected to exceed $1 billion for the franchise, sources told Yahoo Sports. Among those groups, Magic Johnson and Guggenheim Partners are among the leaders.
Deadspin has released an extended version of the audio recording in which Sterling talks about how black players are treated in Israel. Has anyone actually checked how they are treated? Speaking about Clippers players, Sterling says:
“I support them and give them food and clothes and cars and houses. Who gives it to them? Does someone else give it to them? Do I know that I have – who makes the game? Do I make the game, or do they make the game? Is there 30 owners that created the league?”
Whilst not everyone will agree with those comments, is he not entitled to hold them?
Apparently not, and Sterling had been sued numerous times in the past for racial discrimination. In 2009, he paid $2.7 million to settle allegations that his companies targeted and discriminated against blacks, Hispanics and families with children in renting apartments in greater Los Angeles.
Shelly Sterling probably knows her husband better than most – after all, they have been married for almost 60 years.