What We Allow: Racist Donald Sterling Crawls Out From His Plantation, Enraging Many

Abby Zimet

If you haven't heard, Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling has won the Pretty Much Most Awful Human Being on the Planet Award after a leaked audio in which he ranted at his girlfriend for bringing to his games and otherwise "associating with" black people - like, you know, most of the guys who play for him. After the leak, Sterling, who has a long ugly history of racist behavior, was blasted somewhat politely by Magic Johnson, LeBron James, President Obama and many others, and not at all politely by Snoop Dog; the NBA announced it is "investigating" the remarks; and at their playoff game Sunday the players who have to work for him staged a silent protest at warm-up by removing their Clipper jackets and wearing their t-shirts inside out, without logo. For all the current uproar, though, it's helpful to acknowledge there is nothing new under the racist sun. In sports, like virtually any other arena of what is still largely segregated American life, there are lots of Donald Sterlings.

"Donald Sterling has company. Always has, always will. That is a truth we must accept. The question we need to all really be addressing and asking ourselves in this moment is why did it have to come to this in order for us to be appalled?"

Update: The NBA has banned Sterling for life, fined him $2.5 million for being a racist jerk, and said it will force a sale of the Clippers franchise. Not bad. Posted on the team website:

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