LOS ANGELES: President Barack Obama on Sunday joined leading US sports figures in condemning racist remarks allegedly made by the owner of the Los Angeles Clippers, one of the NBA’s top basketball teams.
The gossip website TMZ on Saturday posted an audio recording it says shows billionaire Clippers owner Donald Sterling telling his girlfriend to refrain from bringing black guests to see his team play.
“The audio recording posted by TMZ is truly offensive and disturbing,” said National Basketball Association commissioner Adam Silver, who promised to move “extraordinary quickly in our investigation” of the controversy.
The outrage from NBA stars was clear, loud and emphatic.
“Magic” Johnson vowed on Twitter that he and his wife Cookie would never attend another Clippers’ game as long as Sterling owns the team.
“LA Clippers owner Donald Sterling’s comments about African Americans are a black eye for the NBA,” Johnson wrote.
“No room for Donald Sterling in our league,” Miami Heat superstar LeBron James said. “I can’t imagine what’s going on in his head.”
“It’s a damn shame but a sad reality that we have people like that in this world,” Los Angeles Lakers star guard Kobe Bryant said.
“It upsets all of us. There’s not one guy who is happy with this situation,” said Clippers coach Glenn “Doc” Rivers, who is black, after a team meeting on the matter before a practice session.
Sterling has expressed racist views before, according to former Clipper standout Baron Davis.
“That’s the way it is.. He is honest about what he believes in.. Been going on for a long time, Hats off 2 the Team.. 4 playin above it all,” Davis wrote on Twitter.
African American rights activist Jesse Jackson called for fans to boycott Clippers’ games.
“If we are just going from picking cotton balls to picking basketballs, then we are not making progress. It’s about dignity,” Jackson told ESPN.
Sterling was not available for comment.