The owner of the NBA’s Los Angeles Clippers basketball team who has ignited a national firestorm by allegedly asking his girlfriend not to bring black people to basketball games is reportedly a Democrat, donating over the years to members of the Democratic Party.
According to RealGM, campaign-contribution records show Donald Sterling supported former California Gov. Gray Davis early in his career as well as former New Jersey U.S. Sen. Bill Bradley, both high-profile Democrats.
The report says Sterling donated $6,000, with no activity since the early 1990s.
Sterling sparked a racial fury after TMZ publicized a purported audio recording of Sterling and his girlfriend, V. Stiviano, in which he allegedly asked her not to bring black people to his team’s basketball games.
“It bothers me a lot that you want to broadcast that you’re associating with black people. Do you have to?” the voice in the recording says.
Sterling also reportedly says he is not troubled by Stiviano sleeping with black men, but he doesn’t want her to post photographs with them on Instagram: “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.”
On its Facebook page, African American Conservatives said: “I don’t know which political party Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling supports. But if MSNBC doesn’t focus on him exclusively for the next 2 weeks, if Rev. Al Sharpton and the NAACP don’t call for protests and demand Chris Paul and Blake Griffin quit the team, and if he isn’t forced to sell Clippers, he’s not a Republican.”
The controversy has catapulted its way across the globe where President Obama is visiting Malaysia.
He addressed the issue at a news conference Sunday in Kuala Lumpur, saying Sterling “is reported to have said some incredibly offensive racist statements that were published. I don’t think I have to interpret those statements for you; they kind of speak for themselves.”
“When people – when ignorant folks want to advertise their ignorance you don’t really have to do anything, you just let them talk. And that’s what happened here.”
“Obviously, the NBA is a league that is beloved by fans all across the country,” Obama said. “It’s got an awful lot of African American players. It’s steeped in African American culture. And I suspect that the NBA is going to be deeply concerned in resolving this.”
Obama said Sterling’s comments indicate, “The United States continues to wrestle with a legacy of race and slavery and segregation that’s still there – the vestiges of discrimination.
“We’ve made enormous strides, but you’re going to continue to see this percolate up every so often,” he added. “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 some statements like this stand out so much is because there had been – there has been this shift in how we view ourselves.”
Sports journalist and ESPN commentator Stephen A. Smith said some NBA players were actually being pressured by friends and family to protest Sterling’s remarks by simply not playing basketball:
“According to one player, I was actually told within the hour that players were considering actually not playing – not themselves but their family members, their confidants, their loved ones – were encouraging them to take a stand and not to play. A matter of fact, one of the things that they’ve heard is that obviously if this was something that was a gay slur or what have you, it would have been something that was reported and you would see people taking a stand. So obviously they’re being pressured under that guise alone in terms of ‘Show me a unified front’ and taking a position that ‘You know what? Maybe you shouldn’t participate in these games.’ But that’s obviously something that’s not going to happen, because as one player told me, ‘You know something, when we dreamed of competing for a championship, we certainly didn’t dream of winning it for Donald Sterling. We dreamed of winning it for ourselves.’ So I just think it’s emotions of the moment right now.”