Donald Sterling's Plantation Mindset

Monday, April 28, 2014

Donald Sterling, owner of the Los Angeles Clippers, sits next to his girlfriend V. Stiviano (R) during the 2013 NBA Playoffs at AT&T Center on May 19, 2013 in San Antonio, Texas. (Ronald Martinez/Getty)

Audio allegedly shows LA Clippers owner Donald Sterling making racist statements and describing a worldview where minorities are inferior and he, as owner, "support them and give them food, and clothes, and cars, and houses." Clinton Yates, columnist for The Washington Post and WTOP radio discusses the remarks, the response, and Sterling's long history of discriminatory and predatory business practices.

Comments [61]

Garyboy from Harlem

All well and good, but why don't we hear the NAACP, and other self-appointed rights orgs, denounce the use of "My N---a" by young black teens? They shout it, loudly and proudly in front of the white people in public, then smirk while watching Whitey squirm. What's good for the goose is good for the gander. Enough of the double standard; enough of playing the race card. Respect is earned, not demanded. Thank you.

Apr. 29 2014 06:48 PM
TGZ from NY

@jgarbuz: Sterling is a Republican. Don't know why you are trying to implicate "liberals" in his obviously right-wing behavior.

Apr. 29 2014 10:40 AM
Edward from Washington Heights AKA pretentious Hudson Heights

I'd like to hear some surreptitious recordings of Al Sharpton (Tawana Brawley, Crown Heights riots, Freddies Fashion Mart) on the phone.

Apr. 29 2014 09:26 AM

Let's ask Judge Robert's to rule as to whether Sterling is racist, or just using free speech.

If Sterling sells the team, he will just be a richer racist. The League maybe should make the fine equivalent to 90% of the team's dollar value or put it in retainer status.

Apr. 29 2014 08:21 AM
Daryl from Brooklyn

It's weird.

I have would thought this kind of outrage in sports would have happened WAY earlier. I'm talking about going back to Super Bowl 28 [1994 in Atlanta...Cowboys vs Bills] when the confederate flag [part of the state flag of Georgia] was raised in the stadium. TO ME, that would have been the prime time opportunity for the Brothers on both teams to come together to make their presence felt, ["Take it down or we don't play."] BUT, just like Jordan ["republicans wear sneakers, too"] at that time, the Brothers were too consumed with money and winning (in that order).

Every time I see that B&W photo of Ali, Bill Russell, Jim Brown, & Kareem, it kind of makes me sick to know that that kind of solidarity is a thing of the past.

Apr. 28 2014 06:32 PM
jgarbuz from Queens

To PJ in BK

I lived in the housing projects of Brownsville in the 1950s and '60s. I lived in Beersheba where the Ethiopian Jews were brought in to live from Addis Ababa in 1984. The Black Jews were treated far better than Blacks in America ever were! I LIVED with both. The Ethiopian Jews in Israel are doing very, very well overall compared to most other Jewish immigrant groups considering they came with zero skills. They didn't even know what a fork and spoon were for. They had never had electricity, elevators or toilets. Today they are engineers, doctors, and MKs in the Knesset.

Apr. 28 2014 12:23 PM
PJ from Bk

Sterling is right about one thing. Blacks in Israel are treated worse than in Jim Crow America. I have read and seen so many stories how these people are discriminated against at every turn in Israel. Not on US media of course, but that not withstanding it happens to an appalling degree daily. Maybe Bob Simon one day before he retires will take his 60 minutes camera and a pair, and expose the horror of blacks in Israel, as he attempted to pioneer on US TV about Palestinians under occupation. fWhen he retires he doesn't have to apologize as he had to on his piece on the occupation.

Apr. 28 2014 12:09 PM
The Truth from Becky

Wasting too much oxygen on this clown.

Apr. 28 2014 11:43 AM
BT from NJ

Why should anyone be surprised that rich people feel superior to others not in their same economic class. Its not really racisim. Its 'classism'. They feel everyone (regardless of race) who do not have the same amount of money as they do as inherently inferior to them. If they weren't inferior, they'd have as much money, too. Its not news, but it is illuminating when it is overheard. Why anyone should be surprised, well, I dont' know why. Doesn't the euphemism 'job-creator' imply that they are better than the rest of us, and they condescend to give us jobs (at the most minimum wage possible) if they can't hire overseas for less than that. I don't think the 'plantation mentality' has ever left the over-privileged super rich. It's directed at everyone less wealthy than they are who are dependent on a paycheck, regardless of race.

Apr. 28 2014 11:39 AM
B. Law from UWS

Sterling is disgusting and reprehensible. There is no defense for his remarks. He seems to have a long history of bad behavior and racism, so why has it taken this long for people to call for his ouster? Most likely it's all about money.

btw: It's interesting that the sports press went to another reprehensible and disgusting human being, Charles Barkley for a comment. And Shaq O'neil, too! Nobody seems to remember Shaq doing his offensive juvenile "ching-chong" routine when addressing a question about Yao Ming years ago. I don't recall screams for him to be thrown out of the league. Oh, that's right, he was making too much money for the league and their corporate interests.

Apr. 28 2014 11:31 AM
Steven from Bklyn

I think this is largely a male/female relationship issue exacerbated by an interracial component (and an age disparity). A man feels hostility toward another man that is favored in someway by a woman he's involved with, a man who has some quality she may desire that he does not have. Do people think a black man celebrates when a black woman he's interested in dates a white man because it's a sign of racial progress?

Note, I haven't listened to the tape.

Apr. 28 2014 11:27 AM
BL Producer from Varick Street studios

We know this is a sensitive topic, but please try to keep it civil and refrain from personally attacking your fellow commenters.

Apr. 28 2014 11:19 AM
Sheldon from Brooklyn

Fuva, my point is that many people wrongly assume that the NAACP's national and local chapters are one and the same. However, if your views were made knowing that fact, I for one, will not stand in your way.

Apr. 28 2014 11:17 AM
Bonn from East Village

Sterling and his girlfriend are both horrible people. End of conversation.

Apr. 28 2014 11:16 AM
fuva from harlemworld

Sheldon, the NAACP is unequipped to deal with today's race problems and has no credibility. What's your point?

Apr. 28 2014 11:01 AM
The Truth from Becky

@LEO A - I venture to say the plantation workers would NOT agree with you... they built this Country which is worth more that any basketball players salary.

Apr. 28 2014 11:00 AM
jgarbuz from Queens


Jews are just people and all people are inherently evil. If Jews were better than anybody else why would God have had to give Moses 613 commandments aimed soley for the Israelites when the Gentiles are only required to observe the 7 laws of Noah. Clearly you don't have to give more laws to an inherently better people. No, Jews are definitely not better than anyone else, but just like to think so.

Apr. 28 2014 11:00 AM
blacksocialist from BKbaby

jgarbuz - when did i call you a racist? ... i will call you a mor0n.... just pathetic

Apr. 28 2014 11:00 AM
Sheldon from Brooklyn

@Fuva, I believe it is a local LA chapter of the NAACP. Just as the local NY chapter, sided with soda companies a year ago, exposed how corrupt local NAACP chapters are.

Apr. 28 2014 10:58 AM
fuva from harlemworld

Seth, et al: STOP...Magic Johnson is not her age; no where near. Sterling did not say "youngsters"; he said "black people". Furthermore, nothing can possibly obscure their vast age gap, he wouldn't be trying to obscure it and he likes/ likes to flaunt it. If she baited him, she must have known what she'd get, because she heard it before. And if he can be baited into saying such things, there's still a degenerate racist problem there. The conversation may have been an illegal taping of private things he has a right to say, but once it gets out, players/fans/NBA have a right to not want to be associated and to take action against him...STOP.

Apr. 28 2014 10:57 AM
jgarbuz from Queens

To black socialist

I'M THE RACIST?? You are crazy, man. Blind as a bat. But if you call yourself socialist then when else could you be but totally blind?

Apr. 28 2014 10:56 AM
The Truth from Becky

I am continuously amazed at how the equally victimized jewish people of the holocaust, can repeat the evil that nearly obliterated their entire race off the planet! *SMH*

Apr. 28 2014 10:55 AM
blacksocialist from BKbaby

seth - your ignorance almost rises to the level of jgarbuz... he has been known as a racist since the 80s. she didnt fool him into speaking. his record is well known....

Apr. 28 2014 10:53 AM
Roman from Brooklyn

Wow, all these years of waiting for some actual coverage of hockey from WNYC/NPR, and what do I get. Brian saying that resist owners should go to the NHL. Nice!

Apr. 28 2014 10:53 AM
BK from Hoboken

Your attitude is almost as ignorant as Sterling.

Apr. 28 2014 10:51 AM
Sheldon from Brooklyn

"A post racial society", yeah right.

The man was accused and settled over housing discrimination towards blacks and hispanics years ago.

The power structure in this country is controlled by 60+ rich white men and many of them feel the way Sterling does. Hardly Shocking.

Apr. 28 2014 10:51 AM
The Truth from Becky

You are the problem John, I am sure this man hates you as well, lest you forget that you are a minority yourself!

Apr. 28 2014 10:50 AM
Amy from Manhattan

OK, please don't stereotype old people in your effort to oppose stereotyping black people.

Apr. 28 2014 10:50 AM

The man just wants his trophy wife hanging out with the Housewives of Beverly Hills, not kids her age and like her.

Apr. 28 2014 10:50 AM
JimD from nj

Maybe the players would go play in Europe.
Maybe the fans not buy tickets only winds up hurting the player saleries.
There is no such avenue to get the team away from Sterling, your guest is just running his mouth without any facts.
Wow a symbolic stand on the podium, does diddley, a major moment, your a joke.

Apr. 28 2014 10:49 AM
The Truth from Becky

No, no, no this is not "up to the fans" this squarely on the person who took Stern's place or the players union perhaps.

Apr. 28 2014 10:49 AM

OK. This reporter is really trying to stretch it, and I think the girlfriend was setting up some entrapment for her own interest/retaliation. The arguments I've heard are very week, and I think the energy to break down racism can be used much more effectively in other venues. This is just some show that won't change racism but will just push bigots to better watch their speech.

Apr. 28 2014 10:49 AM
fuva from harlemworld

Sterlings' friends are people LIKE THE BUSS FAMILY. The two helped each other buy their respective teams -- KKKlippers and the Lakers. And Magic not only co-owns with the Buss family, he seems to really loooove them. And he should; we should def try to maintain the love. But hopefully this episode is also "The Education of Magic Johnson."

Apr. 28 2014 10:48 AM

This one taped snippet is not bad. He *does* pay them. What did you expect him to say, that he provides them with their mansions and investment accounts?

Is this because the players have such incredibly inflated view of themselves? Should he have said that he provides them so much money and status that they think they can get away with rape (e.g. Bryant) or violence (Sprewell) or merely giving them a platform to win endorsement deals?

Admittedly, it sounds like that are a lot of other things going here, and Sterling may in his heart be bigoted. But you can't legislate or punish folks for what's in their hearts. You punish them for their actions. We can dislike him, but the NBA can't really do diddly. They shouldn't do anything based on this alone. Can the NBA act based on a penumbra of separate racist actions? I dunno. That's a Q for their legal team.

Apr. 28 2014 10:48 AM

Jimmie "The Greek" suffered tremendously for his comments, which I personally believe were misguided but not hateful or even racist. Sterling's comments were much more hurtful and he should be punished mo
re than "The Greek".

Apr. 28 2014 10:48 AM
PJ from BK

The hypocrites are going to come out now rightfully condemning Sterling. However I read blogs on gentrification & the racist vitriol against black is no different. I'm pretty sure it's the same young white people smiling with black people in Bed Stuy and other nabes. War against racism is a lost war. Whites in general, lots of exceptions of course, think they are superior. Thats how many were raised and that's how they live. The more important thing is how blk people think about themselves and their place in the world

Apr. 28 2014 10:48 AM
jgarbuz from Queens

This is pure liberalism. Looking down your nose at the people you are supposedly helping.

As for black Jews in Israel, they were treated better than I was over there. I lived in Israel when 80,000 black Jews were brought in from Ethiopia. They were treated beautifully! Better than any other Jewish immigrant group to Israel. There was one problem. The Ethiopian are the descendents of ancient converts to Judaism. Nobody can deny that. The Rabbis wanted them to go through an additional "baptism" or submersing in a "mikva" or ritual bath, and this infuriated many of them. But I don't think it was an outlandish request, because the Ethiopian Jews had been cut off from the Talmud for over a thousand years so I don't see what was so terrible about asking them to reinforce their commitment to the Jewish nationhood in this symbolic way. But I also can understand their objections as well.

Apr. 28 2014 10:47 AM
jgarbuz from Queens

This is pure liberalism. Looking down your nose at the people you are supposedly helping.

As for black Jews in Israel, they were treated better than I was over there. I lived in Israel when 80,000 black Jews were brought in from Ethiopia. They were treated beautifully! Better than any other Jewish immigrant group to Israel. There was one problem. The Ethiopian are the descendents of ancient converts to Judaism. Nobody can deny that. The Rabbis wanted them to go through an additional "baptism" or submersing in a "mikva" or ritual bath, and this infuriated many of them. But I don't think it was an outlandish request, because the Ethiopian Jews had been cut off from the Talmud for over a thousand years so I don't see what was so terrible about asking them to reinforce their commitment to the Jewish nationhood in this symbolic way. But I also can understand their objections as well.

Apr. 28 2014 10:47 AM
Jim D from nj

Yates, your such a mindreader, there's a job in Times Square reading palms you'd be better qualified for.

Apr. 28 2014 10:46 AM
Seth Pecksniff

Good point re: TMZ.

He looks bad. She looks bad. But, this kind of surface reporting that WNYC decries when they want donations, makes WNYC looks worse than either party in the story.

As a defender of WNYC when Martin C. gets in gear, I'm sad to have to say this.

Apr. 28 2014 10:46 AM

The NAACP has announced on its official Twitter account that Sterling will not receive the award.

Apr. 28 2014 10:45 AM
fuva from harlemworld

Race-delusional people like Sterling this world, in this country, on this page...Addressing the phenomenon must be part of race justice 2.0....

Apr. 28 2014 10:45 AM
Jim D from NJ

Your guest exemplifies the kind of journalism TMZ would welcome.

Apr. 28 2014 10:43 AM

Please, you want to get this right, listen to the entire recording. Hear how she baits him over and over again. I blame him for not being wise to her underhandedness. It's shameful to both parties.

Apr. 28 2014 10:42 AM


Apr. 28 2014 10:42 AM
fuva from harlemworld

Please. The NAACP has noooooo credibility. Surprise, surprise.

Apr. 28 2014 10:40 AM

He does not want her surrounding them with young minorities, because it will only make him look like an out-of-place old white guy.

He's not against those minorities - he's against looking like an old white guy who's hooking up with young chicks that he does not really care about.

Apr. 28 2014 10:39 AM
BK from Hoboken

He's a rich old bigot. Bit I am not sure the NBA can force him to sell his team. The players and coach won't boycott because they want to win. The fans will still pay for tickets because they love their hometown players, not the owner.
Since he seems to love his money so much (he has been known as the cheapest owner for decades), Silver should fine him at least $10 million.

Apr. 28 2014 10:39 AM
Plug from usa

wow, SHOCKER, a corporation could be racists and homophobic and xenophobic and sexist and anti-semitic etc.
old white men could harbor these thoughts/feelings/attitudes - SHOCKER.
Sometimes these things are a generational thing.
Look at that guy at Nevada who said those racist things. They are all around the same age.

Apr. 28 2014 10:38 AM

Brian...oh forget it

Apr. 28 2014 10:38 AM
Leo A

yes those poor Black Basketball plantation players. Those millions of dollars it makes must not be enough. I would say plantation workers would be appalled at that comparison.

Apr. 28 2014 10:37 AM
Seth Pecksnigg

ESPN played the entire recording. It really does come off different than just playing "sound bites".

With this, WNYC has fallen into the same trap that they blame other stations of doing, but not public radio. WNYC reminds us of this throughout pledge times. Bad on WNYC.

The man just got caught trying to polish up his trophy. It's not right, and it is racist, but I've heard much worse. WNYC looks no better than this man, but reporting it as they are right now.

Apr. 28 2014 10:35 AM
Roy from Queens

Wouldn't it be nice if guys like Sterling would put their bigoted/racist feelings in a diary, bury it and pass away to avoid criticism. Then again, I'm asking dumb people to be smart...

Apr. 28 2014 10:34 AM
blacksocialist from BKbaby

john from office - go back to sleep boy....

Apr. 28 2014 10:34 AM
fuva from harlemworld

The girlfriend is BLACK and Mexican, Brian. And also get this straight: Sterling's wife is suing the girlfriend for things Donald gave her. (Not that she's not trifling, but lets tell the story right.)

He "gives" the players things? In a league that makes him much more money for basically sitting on his behind? Dude is rich and powerful and nuts. And there are sooooo many of these.

He has to go.

Apr. 28 2014 10:34 AM
john from office

What is the problem here?

Apr. 28 2014 10:32 AM
fuva from harlemworld

Actually, Sterling is apparently a Democrat, if it matters.

Yo, he has the right to believe and say what he wants, privately or publicly. And, once it gets out, the players/fans/NBA have a right to disagree and not want to be associated with it.

Sterling has a right to due process. But looks like this is just a formality. Neither he, his wife, nor the KKKlippers in their official statement have denied that it's his voice. And there's no context that could justify it. And it almost definitely wasn't a splice.

The takeaway is that his mentality is wayyyy more pervasive than folks want to believe.

Apr. 28 2014 10:26 AM

the 10 trillion slaver industry did not disappear. they became workers getting paid hardly anything, another form of slavery, where you feed and house yourself.

Apr. 28 2014 10:25 AM
jf from reality

Yeah everyone has a boss to sign their checks. We will all die from people going to work at corporations and causing mass extinction, hurricanes, earthquakes, floods, cancer, heart disease, diabetes, war, crime, every problem comes from everyones bribe. the paycheck. your little payoff to destroying the earth and all humanity and nature.

Apr. 28 2014 10:19 AM
blacksocialist from BKbaby

jgarbuz - he's not "liberal".... your ignorance never ceases to amaze

Apr. 28 2014 10:12 AM
jgarbuz from Queens

Typical phony Jewish liberal businessman, pretending to care about blacks, using them, paying them well, but despising them as well. And probably vice versa. I doubt they respect him either. And he surrounds himself with hookers because all his money doesn't make him any nicer, thinner or better looking. Well, at least he has principles. His principles are to take care of number one and to BS everyone else - until the truth finally spills out.

Apr. 28 2014 10:02 AM

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