LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) – He’s been controversial for decades. Clippers owner Donald Sterling now faces more trouble — a nationwide firestorm over racist comments he allegedly made in a recorded conversation with his girlfriend.
Those alleged remarks by Sterling have caused uproar across the sports world. And perhaps the person most upset about the situation is Dodgers part owner and former Laker super star Magic Johnson himself who was mentioned, specifically, in the comments.
KCAL/CBS2 sports director Jim Hill sat down exclusively with Magic to discuss the remarks the Clippers owner allegedly made.
“I’m very disappointed, angry and upset,” said Johnson. “Let’s go back when I first got here in 1979. Dr. Buss took me to my first real party at Donald Sterling’s house in Malibu for his annual BBQ. Ever since then, since Dr. Buss introduced me to him at the time he bought the Clippers, we’ve been out, we’ve had lunch and even shared meals to talk about his team, so I thought we had a sort of a friendship, even though it may be a distant one.”
Johnson added, “I respect him, I thought he respected me, but when these comments came out, it hurt. It didn’t hurt me as much personally as it hurt me for all African Americans.
If you come to me and say, ‘Hey look I’m a racist or I discriminate against blacks or I don’t like you because you’re African American, I respect that. I can respect you more by doing that, but don’t smile in my face, shake my hand and then you don’t really respect me or want me to be around or come to your games as the owner of the Clippers.”
Magic said he also felt bad for the players and people associated with the Clippers organization.
“I feel bad for Doc Rivers, Chris Paul and all those guys who are African Americans that play for Donald Sterling. Then you think about all the people who live in his apartment building – some of them are African Americans, too. We’re putting a lot of money to his pocket, but at the same time he doesn’t want us in there or come to the Clipper games.
I think that all of us are outraged. We are all upset … If you’re going to be like this, ‘why do you own a team in the NBA which is over 70 percent African American basketball players?’”
Johnson is clear on what he thinks should happen next.
“I think he should step down. If you feel like that in a league that is predominately African Americans, you shouldn’t be owning a team.”
After all this, Magic suggests Sterling would be well advised to sell the team.
“It’s a shame because of the fact at this time, here we are now in 2014, we still are having people discriminating against African Americans. That’s uncalled for and has no place in the NBA.”
The NBA’s new commissioner, Adam Silver, will have to make a major decision that he’s going to be faced with in the next couple of days as the NBA will investigate these allegations. It will be more than just making a decision on discipline.
During the 90’s, former Reds owner Marge Schott was banned from managing the team from 1996 through 1998 for comments against African-Americans, Jews and Japanese. She sold the team in 1999.
“We’ve seen it happen before – Marge Schott – and they had to give up their teams,” he added. “So Adams is really going to make a big decision because this a black eye for the league, not just for the city and Clipper fans, but for the league. This is going to be a really important big first decision that he has to make.”