In the midst of a great start to the NBA Playoffs, the world has been hounded by the disturbing recording of Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling allegedly making racist statements regarding him not wanting African Americans to attend his team’s games. With this news coming just about 24 hours before the Clippers’ Game 4 matchup against the Golden State Warriors in the first round, many wondered how the team would react.
It turns out that the Clippers decided to wear their warm-ups inside out. Then as a team, they took off the warm-ups and left them at midcourt, only to display all red shirts that didn’t have a team logo on them. It’s great that the team is acknowledging what is completely wrong within their organization, however, I feel that they should have made a much louder statement.
On the Clippers’ roster, 12 of their 14 players are African American. In addition, their head coach, Doc Rivers, is also African American. So I know that the alleged remarks by Sterling did hit home with those individuals. If you ask me, the team should have not played a single game as long as Sterling is the team’s owner.
This isn’t the first time Sterling has had negative attention pointed in his direction. Former Clippers vice president of basketball operations Elgin Baylor, who is African American, filed an employment discrimination lawsuit against Sterling in 2009. Even outside the game of basketball, Sterling has been sued for refusing to offer housing to African Americans and Hispanics.
Obviously times have changed dramatically over the past half century. If something like this would have occurred during the era of the 1950s and 60s, I think African American players would have not set foot on a basketball court without hesitation until something was done about the situation, regardless of whether a championship was at stake.
It’s players like Bill Russell, who played a part in equal rights for African Americans outside of being an NBA player, that helped fight against things such as this so that players of color could have a chance to be where they are right now.
To me, the Clippers’ decision to play amid this scandal shows that you can actually put a price on what is morally right. Yes, the Clippers are in a good position to make a run at a championship, but I would think that taking a stand for what is right in the world would be far more important.
Clyde A. Speller is a writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @ClydeASpeller.