NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — Shockwaves are rippling through the NBA after reports of a racist recording of the league’s longest-tenured team owner.
As CBS 2’s Steve Overmyer reported, the NBA is investigating whether or not the racially insensitive comments that were made actually came from L.A. Clippers owner Donald Sterling.
Sterling allegedly told his girlfriend he did not want her publicly appearing alongside black people during an argument.
The conversation allegedly happened after she posted a picture with Magic Johnson on Instagram.
On Saturday, the basketball icon tweeted his reaction to the comments, saying “Clippers owner Donald Sterling’s comments about African Americans are a black eye for the NBA.”
Johnson added “I will never go to a Clippers game again as long as Donald Sterling is the owner.”
Johnson is hardly the only one outraged by the allegations.
During a news conference Saturday evening, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver called the audio clip “truly offensive.”
The commissioner vowed to get to the bottom of the comments.
Silver went on to say that everyone in the NBA family deserves due process and so he is not yet ready to discuss any potential sanctions against Sterling.
Meanwhile, Sterling has agreed not to attend his team’s playoff game Sunday against the Golden State Warriors, the commissioner said.
Rev. Al Sharpton said this isn’t the first time these types of claims have been made against Sterling, 1010 WINS’ Gary Baumgarten reported.
“This is something this man has been accused of in the past. As I’ve said this is a 9-minute conversation, this is not a slip of the tongue.”
Sharpton called on the NBA to take action against Sterling.
“No one should be allowed to own a team if they have in fact engaged in this kind of racial language. We are prepared at National Action Network to rally in front of the NBA headquarters if this matter is not immediately dealt with,” he said.
Miami Heat forward LeBron James said “There is no room for Donald Sterling in our league. There is no room for him.”
Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson, a former NBA player, called the audio clip “reprehensible and unacceptable.”
Nets and former Clippers guard Shaun Livingston said “I would say it’s probably disappointing to a lot of people, you know what I mean? But you look at what’s kind of gone on in the past, it’s very unfortunate, but I think it kind of tells the same story as what’s been told if you pull up the record.”
Clippers President Andy Roeser has questioned the legitimacy of the tape.
At practice, Clippers coach Doc Rivers said the team held a meeting to talk about the tape.
While he said players are angry, they are resolved.
“We’ve heard all the stuff — the boycotts — and those are all things that you could do. We choose to play, and that’s what we’re going to do tomorrow,” Rivers said.
The Clippers released a statement, saying:
“We have heard the tape on TMZ. We do not know if it is legitimate or it has been altered. We do know that the woman on the tape — who we believe released it to TMZ — is the defendant in a lawsuit brought by the Sterling family alleging that she embezzled more than $1.8 million, who told Mr. Sterling that she would ‘get even.’
“Mr. Sterling is emphatic that what is reflected on that recording is not consistent with, nor does it reflect his views, beliefs or feelings. It is the antithesis of who he is, what he believes and how he has lived his life. He feels terrible that such sentiments are being attributed to him and apologizes to anyone who might have been hurt by them. He is also upset and apologizes for sentiments attributed to him about Earvin Johnson. He has long considered Magic a friend and has only the utmost respect and admiration for him–both in terms of who he is and what he has achieved. We are investigating this matter.”
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