President Barack Obama, speaking in Malaysia on Sunday, responded to the firestorm created by recent racist remarks allegedly made by Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling.
Obama said it is a reminder that the U.S. “continues to wrestle with the legacy of race and slavery and segregation, that’s still there, the vestiges of discrimination.
“… We constantly have to be on guard on racial attitudes that divide us rather than embracing our diversity as a strength. … We’ve made enormous strides, but you’re going to continue to see this percolate up every so often. And I think that we just have to be clear and steady in denouncing it, teaching our children differently, but also remaining hopeful that part of why statements like this stand out some much is because there has been this shift in how we view ourselves.”
Charlotte Bobcats owner Michael Jordan also responded Sunday to Sterling’s alleged comments through a statement.
“I look at this from two perspectives — as a current owner and a former player. As an owner, I’m obviously disgusted that a fellow team owner could hold such sickening and offensive views,” he said. “I’m confident that (commissioner) Adam Silver will make a full investigation and take appropriate action quickly.
“As a former player, I’m completely outraged. There is no room in the NBA — or anywhere else — for the kind of racism and hatred that Mr. Sterling allegedly expressed. I am appalled that this type of ignorance still exists within our country and at the highest levels of our sport. In a league where the majority of players are African-American, we cannot and must not tolerate discrimination at any level.”
Silver said Saturday the NBA “plans to get to the bottom” of the situation, but has not yet come to a decision.
Sterling was not expected to attend Sunday’s Clippers-Golden State Warriors playoff game in Oakland.
TMZ posted audio Friday night of what is believed to be Sterling making racist comments to his girlfriend. The man was recorded questioning his girlfriend, V. Stiviano, about her association with black men.
According to TMZ, Stiviano, who is black and Mexican, posted a photo of her with Magic Johnson on Instagram, but the picture has been removed.
In the recording, the man believed to be Sterling says: “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 (black people). 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.”
The Clippers issued a statement late Saturday, which read: “Mr. Sterling is emphatic that what is reflected on that recording is not consistent with, nor does it reflect his views, beliefs or feelings.”
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