Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling made some head-scratching racist comments toward African-Americans to his former girlfriend. The details of those comments were released yesterday (and the extended remix put out today). Sterling has been raked over the coals since the release of those tapes, and justifiably so.
As an owner of a franchise that is predominantly African-American, in a league that is predominantly African-American, in a sport that resonates around the world, Sterling clearly should not be in a position of power.
If you didn’t know already, you now know that Sterling is a unapologetic racist, so enough about that fool. His comments will get him reprimanded and branded; his reputation is now a big steaming pile of shit.
The other side of his comments have put the Clippers’ organization in a very tough situation. The team is the #3 seed in the midst of NBA playoffs. So, what do they do in response when the owner of the team thinks you’re less than a white person?
Do the players sacrifice their entire season, take a united stand and not play? That obviously would be impactful, but that also would make the players suffer even more. So, what is the right thing to do in this kind of situation?
There’s no perfect response, but what the Clippers did today in a move of solidarity and symbolism was surprisingly strong. They all suited up for the game, but they tweaked one thing: Blake Griffin, Chris Paul, DeAndre Jordan, J.J. Redick and the rest of the team turned their shooting shirts inside out to hide the Clippers logo.
So during the warmups, the logo wasn’t visible on their shirts. On the bench, the players weren’t displaying the Clippers anywhere; just plain, red shirts that were purposely turned inside-out. I thought it was a small but classy response, and I’m sure it won’t be the last statement they’ll make.