Before Donald Trump sat in the Oval Office and was accused of being a racist, there was another Donald that made headlines for the same thing: Former Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling, whom former NBA player Matt Barnes compared in a recent interview to current NBA and NFL team owners. Barnes, who played for the Clippers while Sterling was at the helm, spoke about the scandal that surrounded the ousted owner in 2014.
By Daryl Nelson
Photo: Matt Barnes said there are NBA and NFL owners who are just as racist as former Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling. ( Allen Berezovsky/Getty Images Entertainment via Getty Images)
In April 2014 TMZ released audio of Sterling making racist comments about Black people while speaking to his personal assistant and mistress V. Stiviano. He eventually received a lifetime ban from attending games from NBA commissioner Adam Silver and a $2.5 million fine.
Barnes was asked how many other current owners in the league are like Sterling.
“A lot,” he told Bleacher Report at the 27:58 mark of an interview published on YouTube on June 30. “And not only in the NBA, in the NFL I know for sure. … There’s that good old boy group of owners that were oil and real estate guys. These guys are in their 70s, late 60s, 70s and up, and that’s just how they were raised and how they were brought up.
“They look at players as — I didn’t want to use the word slave, that’s harsh — but kind of like a plantation view or mentality,” Barnes added. “Like, ‘These are my guys, I pay them.’ Like Donald Sterling said, ‘I get them cars, I get them food, I get them houses.’ He wasn’t the only one to think like that, he’s just the only one dumb enough to get caught.”
Barnes said that he knows for a fact there are racist owners in the NBA based on personal experiences, but he didn’t specify what happened. He said he’s also spoken to different players in the NBA and NFL about the racism that they faced at the hands of owners.
“It’s just kind of an unspoken thing,” Barnes explained.
Sterling’s racist comments came after Stiviano posted a photo of herself with Magic Johnson on Instagram.
“It bothers me a lot that you want to broadcast that you’re associating with Black people,” Sterling said. “Do you have to? … You can sleep with [Black people]. You can bring them in, you can do whatever you want. The little I ask you is not to promote it on that … and not to bring them to my games.”
“I’m just saying, in your lousy f—–g Instagrams, you don’t have to have yourself walking with Black people,” he continued. “Don’t put him on an Instagram for the world to have to see so they have to call me, and don’t bring him to my games.”
Many including Johnson, LeBron James, Chris Paul, and Al Sharpton slammed Sterling for his words.
In August 2014 former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer took over as Clippers owner after paying a reported $2 billion for the franchise.