WASHINGTON – Less than a week after demanding Republicans denounce Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy for remarks interpreted by some as racist, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid was in no rush to pile on Clippers owner Donald Sterling for egregiously anti-black comments that got him banned for life from the National Basketball Association.
Billionaire Sterling, though hardly a political activist, has a lifetime record of donating only to Democrats, such as former California Gov. Gray Davis and former New Jersey Sen. Bill Bradley, a former NBA star.
WND contacted Reid’s office for comment by phone and email on this question: “Harry Reid demanded Republicans denounce Cliven Bundy’s statement as racist. Will you denounce the statements made by major Democratic donor Donald Sterling, now that he has been banned for life by the NBA for racist remarks?”
The staffer promised someone would get back to WND. The response never materialized.
Reid, D-Nev., has made his own racially charged comments in recent years.
During Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign, he described the future president as a light-skinned African-American “with no Negro dialect, unless he wanted to have one,” as reported in the book, “Game Change.” Reid later apologized to President Obama and told reporters, “I’m not going to dwell on this anymore.”
Other prominent Democrats in Congress were likewise contacted by WND without response. They included: Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., president pro tempore, Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., assistant majority leader, Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., vice chairman of the conference, Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., Democratic leader of the House and Rep. Steny Hoyer, D-Md., Democratic whip.
At the same time he remains silent about the Sterling scandal, Reid wants Republicans to condemn Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy for making racist remarks first quoted by the New York Times.
Last week, Reid was quick to jump on Bundy, the Nevada rancher he previously labeled a “domestic terrorist” for staring down 200 armed Bureau of Land Management agents sent to collect his cows for grazing on public land. Bundy’s comments were deemed by some as racist. Others saw them in a completely different light.
“Today, Bundy revealed himself to be a hateful racist,” Reid said. “But by denigrating people who work hard and play by the rules while he mooches off public land he also revealed himself to be a hypocrite.”
Reid made a point to make the issue political by calling on “national Republican leaders” to show a “united front” against Bundy.
“To advance his extreme, hateful views, Bundy has endangered the lives of innocent women and children,” said Reid. “This is not a game. It is the height of irresponsibility for any individual or entity in a position of power or influence to glorify or romanticize such a dangerous individual, and anyone who has done so should come to their senses and immediately condemn Bundy. For their part, national Republican leaders could help show a united front against this kind of hateful, dangerous extremism by publicly condemning Bundy.”
Unedited video of Cliven Bundy’s comments:
Reid hasn’t hesitated to inject himself when matters of race and professional sports have collided in the past.
In 2013, he called Washington Redskins owner Dan Snyder “so shortsighted” when Snyder refused to change the name his NFL team has had for 82 years. Reid said, “We live in a society where you can’t denigrate a race of people. And that’s what that is. I mean, you can’t have the Washington Blackskins. I think it’s so shortsighted.”
Sterling was banned for life Tuesday from the NBA and given the maximum fine possible for his racist private, covertly recorded remarks.
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver announced the lifetime ban and a $2.5 million fine.
The decision – coming just three days after website TMZ posted audio featuring the remarks, which Silver said that Sterling admitted he made – was widely applauded by NBA owners, players and others connected to the league.
Under the lifetime ban, Sterling is prohibited from attending games or practices, stepping foot inside any Clippers’ facility, taking part in business or personnel decisions or having a role in league activities such as attending NBA Board of Governors meetings.
Silver also insisted that he will do “everything in my power” to compel the NBA Board of Governors to “force a sale” of the Clippers.
Sterling’s inflammatory comments came packaged in a 10-minute recording that TMZ said occurred during an April 9 conversation between Sterling and girlfriend V. Stiviano.
On the recording, a man and woman argue about photos posted to Instagram in which Stiviano appears with African-Americans, including the following one posted by TMZ. The man says he doesn’t want the woman bringing any black people to games with her.