Mark J. Terrill / AP)
I normally despise when black people attempt to equate anything happening in sports today to slavery.
However, I could not help but think of a plantation mentality while watching the stunning CNN interview with Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling by Anderson Cooper. The man began the show by saying, “I am not a racist, and I have never been a racist.”
Then he went on and made racist and bigoted comments.
Sterling attempted to defend himself weeks after an audio came out during a conversation with friend V. Stiviano in which he said he did not want her bringing blacks to Clippers games. The CNN train wreck interview is one of the most revealing in sports history, and Sterling doesn’t even realize how bigoted he sounds. The part that floored me was when he said of his players, “I contend that they love me. ... They know I am not a racist.”
However, those same players protested by laying their warmups at center court before a playff game against Golden State and threatened not to play unless NBA commissioner Adam Silver punished Sterling.
Film producer Spike Lee said it best when he said Sterling was essentially saying, “My darkies still love me.” The words are harsh and do not set well in today’s changing world. But Lee hit the nail on the head. After Sterling said he does not want blacks at Clippers games and after all the civil lawsuits against him, how can he have the audacity to say his players, most of them black, love him?
Sterling has been accused of trying to create a plantation mentality with the Clippers, and you could see signs of that in his interview.
Here are some other things we discovered about Sterling. He is a liar.
■ He claims he should not be chastised for one mistake.
“Am I entitled to one mistake?” he asked. “Am I after 35 years?”
He’s settled lawsuits accusing him of unfair housing practices against blacks and Hispanics. He has allegedly accused Hispanic males of being lazy and said black women smell. He reportedly asked coaching candidate Rollie Massimino, “I wanna know why you think you can coach these (n-words).”
Massimino took himself out of consideration for the job.
■ I think Sterling is jealous of Magic Johnson. He said that Johnson does nothing for the black community, although his foundation has raised millions for HIV awareness and also helps people in the inner city. Johnson has opened up businesses in areas few companies would consider, which opened up jobs for black people.
“What does he do for the black people?” Sterling asked. “Doesn’t do anything.”
Johnson actually does a lot.
■ Sterling had the gall to criticize Johnson for sleeping with women all over the country, yet he cried during the interview because he is obviously in love with V. Stiviano, a woman he admitted he was chasing and bought things for. And did I tell you Sterling is married?
So it is OK for him to have women on the side but not Johnson?
■ Sterling is out of touch with the modern way. He said Johnson caught “those AIDS.” Sorry pal, it is called AIDS. And Johnson is actually HIV-positive and does not have full-blown AIDS.
Sterling is right about one thing: People still support him. A few days ago I wrote a column about how he needs to stop fighting the NBA and ride off into the sunset.
I cannot tell you how many emails and phone calls I got from people asking, “What did Sterling do that was wrong?” One guy said, “At least he did not use the n-word.”
If you cannot figure out what is wrong, then you’ve got problems too.
The bottom line is Sterling is bad for the Clippers, bad for the NBA, bad for minorities and bad for business. He simply must go away.