New tape has leaked this morning to Deadspin of Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling discussing his views on race, and the audio makes it clear that Sterling is about as enlightened on the topic as mouth-breathing Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy. The key difference is that Sterling owns a major NBA franchise.
LeBron James didn't hesitate to let his feelings be known about Sterling's racist rants. "There's no room for Donald Sterling in the NBA -- there is no room for him," he told ESPN.
Sterling, a Los Angeles real estate magnate, has long battled charges of racism. He paid millions in 2009 to settle a lawsuit from the DOJ alleging he discriminated against blacks and Hispanics in his housing developments and has spent years battling a suit from Clippers legend Elgin Baylor, who claims Sterling underpaid him while openly disparaging blacks in the organization.
Then, this weekend, TMZ posted a short audio clip of Sterling and his then-girlfriend, V. Stiviano. On the tape, Sterling admonishes her for hanging out with black people and then tells her not to bring black friends to Clippers games.
Deadspin's full tape, posted early this morning, digs the hole deeper for the 80-year-old owner. Sterling clearly criticizes Stiviano for associating with blacks and then offers this argument why it's OK for him to ban her from bringing black fans to the arena to watch a team of mostly black professional athletes.
"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?"
Players across the league have lashed back at Sterling. His own team refused to wear Clippers gear during warmups for last night's playoff game and then wore black armbands during the matchup.
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None has been more outspoken than LeBron, who told ESPN that Sterling should be booted ASAP.
"Obviously, if the reports are true, it's unacceptable in our league," James told the network. "It doesn't matter, white, black or Hispanic -- all across the races it's unacceptable. As the commissioner of our league, they have to make a stand. They have to be very aggressive with it. I don't know what it will be, but we can't have that in our league."