The media screams "Racist!" for remarks allegedly made by LA Clipper's owner Donald Sterling. That may be true. But no one seems to be asking why Sterling's (ex?) girlfriend, V. (nee Vivian) Stiviano had her cell phone out and ready to capture Sterling's remarks.
Two quick caveats:
ONE: According to CNN, Stiviano's attorney says she didn't release the tape that had racist comments.
TWO: As this is cobbled together, Stirling has not admitted it is his voice on the recording.
Here is a guy - 80 years old in April 2014 - who was about to receive a second award from the local NAACP, the owner of a basketball team of predominately black players (employees) who allegedly resents his multi-racial (by now) ex-girlfriend being in a photo with icon basketball star Earvin "Magic" Johnson.
Does that compute?
People from current and former basketball players to the present occupant of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington DC 20500 have rushed to condemn Sterling and to insist he sell the Clippers.
It's possible Sterling had a "senior moment" and said what he truly believes.
Likewise, it's possible V Stivano set him up and goaded him into saying what he allegedly said.
It also is possible that V Stivano, facing legal action from Sterling's wife and perhaps feeling she would soon be a Sterling cast off completely fabricated the voice capture.
It's all conjecture on the morning of April 29, 2014.
One thing that is sadly for certain, America's vaunted "innocent until proven guilty" mantra has been proven to be no more than idle words. We - Americans - don't practice what we preach.
As a reporter, I covered a number of court cases in several states and a courts martial at Fort Dix (NJ).
I covered murders, rapes, desertions, and lesser crimes such as robbery and burglary.
I learned early on that it is foolish to make a decision on a person's innocence or guilt until all the facts were uncovered.
Sterling had an image problem before the comments were made (by someone).
A Washington Post article heded Alleged Donald Sterling recording is the latest in series of incidents involving Clippers owner. the WashPost journalist Kent Babb writes that
In 2009, Sterling spent $2.73 million to settle another suit, this time brought by the Justice Department, which alleged Sterling refused to rent his apartments to non-Korean tenants, preferring that black and Hispanic prospective tenants look elsewhere. The lawsuit quoted Sterling as saying in sworn testimony that “Hispanics smoke, drink and just hang around the building,” adding that “black tenants smell and attract vermin.”
Sterling also feuded with Elgin Baylor, a Washington native, NBA legend and the Clippers’ general manager for 22 years. Baylor, who has declined commenting publicly this weekend, sued Sterling in 2009 for discrimination and wrongful termination. In the lawsuit, Baylor, who is African American, alleged Sterling built his franchise with the “vision of a Southern plantation-type structure” and accused the team owner of a “pervasive and ongoing racist attitude.”
A jury ruled in Sterling’s favor in 2011.
A TMZ blurb under a hed that screams My Husband's Despicable And Prejudiced quotes Sterling's estranged wife, Shelly, as stating ""Our family is devastated by the racist comments made by my estranged husband. My children and I do not share these despicable views or prejudices."
- While I hate to nit-pick TMZ, the hed fails to agree with the woman's statement. While she probably knows her husband better than most, she never said (a) she knows her (likely soon to be ex) husband to be a racist or (b) that she knows he said what is alleged.
TMZ notes she "has been estranged from Donald for years.."
On the other had, the WashPost article notes that Clippers President Andy Roeser issued a statement Saturday, as "questioning the legitimacy of the recording and suggesting the audio was leaked for the purposes of revenge. He said the woman in the recording is the subject of an embezzlement lawsuit filed by the Sterling family.
“Mr. Sterling is emphatic that what is reflected on that recording is not consistent with, nor does it reflect his views, beliefs or feelings,” the statement read in part. “It is the antithesis of who he is, what he believes and how he has lived his life."
Whether Sterling did make the racist statements is not the issue for this blog entry. What IS the issue is the rush to condemn a person sans any real, proven, evidence. When the U.S. president, in reference to Sterling tells am international audience that: “When ignorant folks want to advertise their ignorance, you don’t really have to do anything. You just let them talk. That’s what happened here,” he shows total disregard for the U.S. legal system.
That's not supposed to be the "American way."