His rant sounds rather like an old guy mortified and humiliated at seeing his girlfriend, half his age, on TV and the Internet, making a fool of him, with black men -- in public.
As for the girlfriend, or ex-girlfriend now, she allegedly taped the conversation without his knowledge, a violation of state law.
But there is apparently much more to this story than the rant, as the Times' Billy Witz relates:
"In 2009, Sterling paid a $2.725 million settlement in a lawsuit brought by the Justice Department accusing him of systematically driving African-Americans, Latinos and families with children out of apartment buildings he owned."
Why did the league not deal with Sterling then for an offense far more grievous than a phone call to his girlfriend to stop making a fool of him with Magic Johnson.
Former NBA great Elgin Baylor, his former general manager, charged Sterling in a lawsuit with running a "Southern plantation-type structure" as boss of the Clippers.
And Sally Jenkins of the Washington Post reports on far nastier remarks, as she writes that Sterling said of blacks in 2002 that they "smell and aren't clean."
"That quote," says Jenkins, "comes from sworn testimony in a 2002 slumlording case against Sterling for discriminating against tenants, not just blacks but also Hispanics, whom he called lazy drunks, and Koreans, whom he deemed too powerless to complain, according to statements compiled by Deadspin.com."
"Sterling's wormy mind," writes Jenkins, has been "common knowledge among NBA owners and executives for years, as far back as 1983 when he allegedly called his own players the N-word during a job interview with Rollie Massimino conducted while drinking champagne."
"There is no room for Donald Sterling in our league," says LeBron James. But that was this weekend.
Which brings us to the unanswered questions.
How did Donald Sterling get away with behavior, in a professional sports league dominated by black players, which would get a college kid kicked out of school and scarred for life? Have they no morals clause in the NBA? How was Donald Sterling voted that lifetime achievement award by the NAACP?
The answer to all likely lies in the adage: Follow the money.
Nevertheless, when nonsense like stupid racial remarks by Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy and Clippers boss Donald Sterling can consume the nation's conversation for a full week, it does raise a far more disturbing question:
Is America still a serious country?
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