Update: Sterling has responded:
Sterling and the Clippers organization tell TMZ Sports, “We have heard the tape on TMZ. We do not know if it is legitimate or it has been altered.”
The statement goes on … We do know that the woman on the tape — who we believe released it to TMZ — is the defendant in a lawsuit brought by the Sterling family, alleging that she embezzled more than $1.8 million, who told Mr. Sterling that she would ‘get even.'”
And the statement goes on, “Mr. Sterling is emphatic that what is reflected on that recording is not consistent with, nor does it reflect his views, beliefs or feelings. It is the antithesis of who he is, what he believes and how he has lived his life.”
And there’s this: “He feels terrible that such sentiments are being attributed to him and apologizes to anyone who might have been hurt by them.”
“On behalf of the National Basketball Players Association, this is a very serious issue which we will address aggressively. We have asked Mayor Kevin Johnson to expand his responsibilities with the NBPA, to determine our response and our next steps. As players, we owe it to our teams and our fans to keep our focus on our game, the playoffs, and a drive to the Finals.”
Doc Rivers also responded:
Donald Sterling has been more and more in the background of the Clippers organization in recent years as they have climbed the ladder to respectability on the court.
But the Clippers’ owner with a long history of alleged racism — he paid the largest fine the U.S. government has ever handed out for housing discrimination, among other things — has reared it’s head right in the middle of the Clippers’ playoff run.
TMZ has audio allegedly of Sterling arguing with his girlfriend because she put on her Instagram account a picture of her with Magic Johnson when she met him (she soon after took it down). The audio is hard to listen to it is so disgusting, but here are a few “highlights.”
“It bothers me a lot that you want to broadcast that you’re associating with black people. Do you have to?”
“You can sleep with [black people]. You can bring them in, you can do whatever you want. The little I ask you is not to promote it on that … and not to bring them to my games.”
“I’m just saying, in your lousy f******* Instagrams, you don’t have to have yourself with, walking with black people.”
“…Don’t put him [Magic] on an Instagram for the world to have to see so they have to call me. And don’t bring him to my games.”
The NBA is investigating, said NBA Executive Vice President of Communications Mike Bass.
“We are in the process of conducting a full investigation into the audio recording obtained by TMZ. The remarks heard on the recording are disturbing and offensive, but at this time we have no further information.”
Commissioner Adam Silver is set to address the media in Memphis Saturday night and likely will say more.
The question is what will the league do about this? A league so concerned about image that if you do the “Sam Cassell big ball dance” as a player you get a $25,000 fine. The league can’t just sweep this under the rug again.
Magic Johnson responded on twitter saying Donald Sterling will get his wish.
The Clippers’ center DeAndre Jordan posted this on Instagram.
This will not be the end of the story.