The NBA has expelled Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling, for life, for allegedly making racist comments, as announced by NBA Commissioner Adam Silver today. The audio recording was done by his girlfriend V. Stiviano. In the recording, Sterling’s racist tone is captured, mentioning to Stiviano, she should not be “walking with black people.” Sterling’s comments are not his first run-in with racism, but similar to past lawsuits and stories.
Back in 2003, Sterling settled out of court on a discrimination lawsuit. The U.S. Justice Department sued Sterling for housing discrimination, where the suit claimed he did not allow black families and Hispanic families with kids, to rent on his properties. The lawsuit states, Sterling was being sued by 19-tenants and the Housing Rights Center, for Koreatown properties in Los Angeles, where he mistreated and denied availability of units. Sterling was forced to pay almost $3 million to plaintiffs.
In 1983, Donald Sterling fired than Clippers Head Coach Paul Silas. This was when former Clipper GM Paul Phipps brought in potential candidate Rollie Massimino. Massimino was told to visit Sterling, where he is asked by Sterling, if he can coach “niggers.” Massimino after this, is accounted to start screaming at Sterling and said he would rather die than coach the Clippers.”
Within the organization there have been racist accusations, like when former Clippers Executive Elgin Baylor sued Sterling. Baylor filed a civil lawsuit against Sterling. In the lawsuit Baylor alleged Sterling to embrace, “a vision of a Southern plantation type structure.” This lawsuit was shot down in court by the jury in 2011.
Now being banned from the NBA, including racist run-ins, other allegations have been brought forth to the Clippers owner. In 1996, an employee named Christine Jaksy sued Sterling on sexual harassment charges. In court, under oath, the Jaksy testimony states, Sterling made Jaksy feel uncomfortable because of the manner in which he would touch her. Sterling according to court records ordered her to find a massage therapist that would be willing to perform oral sex or have sex with him. This case was settled out of court for an undisclosed amount.
In 2003, Sterling alleged he paid Alexandra Castro for sex various times. Sterling was the accuser in this one, suing Castro to take back a house he gave her. Court documents show Sterling accused Castro of being a prostitute, stating Castro was a freak and a piece of trash. Sterling continued with his deposition with comments like, “It was pure sex for money.” Later admitting he did something morally wrong.
The subject of racism and sexual harassment was tied to Sterling again in 2003, when his Equal Rights Opportunity filings showed he preferred certain backgrounds. When it came to hiring employees the 2003, filings showed zero blacks, four Latinos, 74 whites, and 30 Asians, and of the 30 Asians, 26 of them were women. This stems back to his housing properties in Koreatown where he preferred Korean tenants. In an effort to drive away other ethnicities he changed the name of one property, from Wilshire Towers to Korean World Towers. All this in the wake of Clippers owner Donald Sterling now being banned from the NBA for life, for his latest run-in with racism.
Commentary by Daniel Gudino