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NBA Owner Under Fire For Racist Comments

Matt-Rivers-web-headshot Matt Rivers
Matt Rivers joined CBS 3 and The CW Philly’s Eyewitness News team ...
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By Matt Rivers

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Philadelphia’s sports community is disturbed by allegations that an NBA owner made racist remarks toward minorities, and specifically toward African-Americans.

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver announced that he is investigating the remarks reportedly made by Donald Sterling, owner of the Los Angeles Clippers. Sterling is the longest tenured owner in the NBA.

This isn’t the first time the owner has been accused of being a racist.

The audio recording was released by TMZ Sports on Saturday. The website describes the recording as a conversation between Sterling and his girlfriend, in which Sterling says he has a problem with who she is seen associating with, specifically discussing African-Americans.

“Yeah, it bothers me a lot that you want to… broadcast that you’re associating with black people,” Sterling says in the recording.

He then specifically brings up Magic Johnson. The former LA Laker was pictured walking with Sterling’s girlfriend in a picture on her Instagram account.

“And don’t bring him to my games,” the recording continues.

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver responded to the comments just after 9pm on Saturday night.

“The audio recording posted by TMZ is truly offensive and disturbing,” Silver said at a press conference, “and we intend to get to the bottom of it.”

Silver did not say what punishment Sterling may face from the league.

Former Philadelphia 76er Charles Barkley addressed the comments made by Sterling during TNT’s halftime show.

“We cannot have an NBA owner discriminating against a league that…. We’re a black league,” said Barkley.

Sonny Hill, a long time figure in Philadelphia basketball and current executive advisor to the Philadelphia 76ers echoed Barkley’s comments. “We would think that some of this would be in the background,” Hill said. “Unfortunately, it never goes away. It shows its ugly head.”

CBS3 asked former Philadelphia Eagle and current WIP host Hollis Thomas to put himself in the shoes of current Clippers players, who will suit up tomorrow for game 4 of their playoff series.

“I’d want to win a championship, not for the owners, but for myself,” Thomas said. “That’s first and foremost. But, in the same sense, as an African-American, I feel like I should take a stance.”

Sterling, who owns many properties in Los Angeles, was sued in 2006 by the Department of Justice for housing discrimination. He settled the case without admitting guilt in 2009.

The Clippers have released a statement, which reads, “We do not know if it is legitimate or [if] it has been altered. Mr. Sterling is emphatic that what is reflected on that recording is not consistent with, nor does it reflect his views, beliefs, or feelings.”

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver also said Saturday night that in light of this recording, Donald Sterling will not be attending his team’s playoff game Sunday night.

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