When sports and social justice issues intersect, it takes a while to come to a consensus. Which is too bad, really.
An audio recording of L.A. Clippers owner Donald Sterling allegedly making racially charged comments about African-Americans to his then-girlfriend surfaced Saturday.
The players on the team--all but two of whom are African-American, are understandably upset. The Clippers wore their warmups inside out to hide the team logo before Sunday's game against Golden State, and they later threw them in a pile at center court in protest. They also wore black wristbands and black socks. These public acts of defiance are a start. However, more needs to be done.
The Clippers organization shouldn’t wait for the NBA to take action. Likewise, just as the NBA is quick to suspend players for offensive behavior, the same should go for Sterling if he indeed made those comments.
Sterling likely will continue to own the Clippers and the players have their contracts to consider. Yet showing solidarity can go a long way.
L.A. guard Chris Paul is not only the star player, he is the union president. Something impactful has to happen. The Clippers need to demand respect.
It's not an easy step to take, though athletes seem to have more leverage when speaking out than in the past.
A few current Bulls, such as Derrick Rose, Joakim Noah and Jimmy Butler, have spoken out on Chicago's violence. That's a start; it shows they are not ignoring the obvious.
Chicago's most popular former athlete and current Charlotte Bobcats owner, Michael Jordan, was known for dodging polarizing issues. He infamously told a politician in his home state of North Carolina that "Republicans wear sneakers too."
Yet even he's off the bench on this one. Jordan released a statement, which read in part: "As an owner, I'm obviously disgusted that a fellow team owner could hold such sickening and offensive views."
What people should take away from the revelation of Sterling's comments is they are not isolated. In every facet of life, there is probably someone who subscribes to his type of thinking.
The question remains: Will the Clippers and the NBA let it slide or put their foot down?
Evan F. Moore is a RedEye special contributor.
Want more? Discuss this article and others on RedEye Sports' Facebook page.