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For those of you who don’t follow the gossip of the Bureau of Land Management, Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy (honestly WTF is that name) decided that he doesn’t believe in following laws and has decided to stake out the land that his cows illegally graze on. If the fact that he and his buddies are armed with guns provoking the federal government because they don’t want to pay the grazing fees that everyone else in the country pays isn’t amusing enough for you, here’s an adorable quote from Mr. Bundy: “I want to tell you one more thing I know about the Negro … because they were basically on government subsidy, so now what do they do? They abort their young children, they put their young men in jail because they never learned how to pick cotton. And I’ve often wondered, are they better off as slaves, picking cotton and having a family life and doing things, or are they better off under government subsidy?” Because you know, “Negros” only have two options: pick cotton, or rot in jail.
So following Fox News’ poster boy Cliven Bundy making some of the most idiotic statements known to mankind, Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling was caught with his pants down (ew, not literally, he’s 80) making similarly brainless claims. I know you’re all caught up on this because it involves sports, and sports = LIFE, am I right? Ain’t nothing I love more than tossing the pig skin around. Oh, sorry, I was just informed that the Clippers are a basketball team, my bad.
This week, a recording was released by TMZ that includes Sterling saying things like “In your lousy f**ing Instagrams, you don’t have to have yourself with — walking with black people” to his half-Black, half-Latina girlfriend, referring to a photo she posted with Magic Johnson. He then went on to tell his girlfriend that she could do pretty much anything with black people (if you get my gist) except bring them to his games. So yeah, it’s safe to say that Sterling is a prick and that he should be treated with little respect when saying these things publicly to a news reporter like Cliven Bundy. But wait, that’s not how it went down. The recording of Sterling that was leaked is taken from inside his home as he is having a private conversation with his girlfriend.
Please don’t get me wrong here, people. There is no excuse to say things like this and I don’t think anyone except Sterling thinks that anything he said had an ounce of legitimacy. But Kareem Abdul-Jabbar brought up an insightful point regarding this clear breach of privacy.
“Shouldn’t we be equally angered by the fact that his private, intimate conversation was taped and then leaked to the media?” Abdul-Jabbar said. “Didn’t we just call to task the NSA for intruding into American citizen’s privacy in such an un-American way?”
Not to mention the fact that Donald Sterling has been openly discriminatory for years and has not received any public backlash until now. Abdul-Jabbar recounts when Sterling was sued multiple times for housing discrimination, employment discrimination and his “sometimes outrageous conduct” dating back to 2006 yet he kept his job as the owner of the Clippers until now. He writes: “Make no mistake: Donald Sterling is the villain of this story. But he’s just a handmaiden to the bigger evil,” referring to racism as a whole and the lack of attention paid to this dumbass until now.
It’s almost too often now that I hear: “Racism doesn’t exist anymore in America. We have a black president, duhh.” That’s like saying, “Sexism doesn’t exist anymore in America. Women can drive and work and wear pants.” But women still make 77 cents for every man’s $1. And Hillary Clinton is still a “bitch” when she argues with another politician, while Chris Christie is “assertive.” Abdul-Jabbar argues that instead of adding fuel to the fire of this public relations debacle, take a look at the point of what’s really going on. Racism is still prevalent — this is shitty. People think it’s okay to record and leak private conversations — also shitty. And I couldn’t agree more with Abdul-Jabbar when he discusses the future for the Clippers: keep supporting the team if you’re a fan. They don’t play for Sterling himself; if you haven’t noticed, it’s not a white-only team.
So let’s all hope that Sterling loses everything. He seems to be headed down that path; the Clippers have already lost sponsorships from CarMax, Virgin Airlines, State Farm and Kia, and yesterday, NBA commissioner Adam Silver slapped Sterling with a lifetime ban from the NBA and a $2.5 million fine (the maximum amount they can fine one person), which will go to anti-discrimination organizations. So hopefully by now, Sterling gets the picture: Just as he is allowed to exercise his First Amendment right and be a close-minded racist, so are companies allowed to respond by pulling out financial support from a company that’s run by a bigot.
And with that I will leave you with the intelligent words of Cliven Bundy once more. In defense of his remarks regarding “Negros” he recently stated: “If I say ‘Negro,’ or ‘black boy’ or ‘slave’ — if those people cannot take those kind of words and not be offensive, then Martin Luther King hasn’t got his job done yet. I should be able to say those things, and they shouldn’t offend anybody. I didn’t mean to offend them.”
If you didn’t mean to offend anyone, Cliven, I would advise you to scratch “black boy” from your vocabulary entirely.
Mckinley Krongaus hopes the Clippers score some touchdowns in the world cup despite this scandal.