By now everyone has heard Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling’s remarks regarding African Americans and minorities in this country and at Clippers games. Sterling’s comments have drawn multiple comparisons to former Cincinnati Reds owner Marge Schott, and for good reason.
The sports world has not had to deal with an incident like this since Marge Schott in the 1990’s. That is the only other incident that comes to memory, that incident scarred the city, the players and ruined Schott’s reputation. Something similar is happening in Los Angeles.
Donald Sterling’s reputation isn’t a pretty one, an owner known for being racist both inside and outside the basketball arena. Sterling’s remarks this time were less about his players and more about those attending the games and those whom his girlfriend would associate with.
Schott went after not only African Americans but Jews and gays alike. She spread her hate around, however her popularity within Cincinnati seemed to repress much of the controversy. Schott was suspended in 1993 and 1996, she was suspended for the entire 1993 season for referring to Eric Davis and Dave Parker as her “million dollar n—–s.” In 1996 Schott was suspended through the 1998 season for her Hitler sympathizing remarks.
Major League Baseball had no problem putting Schott in line. Owners represent the league as a whole, baseball understood this and took swift action. Schott was a polarizing figures for all of the bad reasons at the end, drawing similar comparisons to Donald Sterling for understandable reasons.
Sterling’s remarks were racist towards African Americans, while the incident may have been set up these are still Sterling’s remarks:
“It bothers me a lot that you want to broadcast that you’re associating with black people. 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.”
Those were just a few, you can listen to the entire tape over at TMZ or on Deadspin. While Sterling doesn’t appear to use and racial slurs he does say some very racist things. This is especially shameful considering majority of the NBA is African American and a very popular sport within the African American community.
Sterling and Schott are the same person, with the exception of popularity. Sterling has never been popular, multiple former players have mentioned Sterling’s racism. First the Elgin Baylor incident then the Baron Davis incident. Sterling has never been popular amongst his players or the fans where Schott was.
Marge Schott was eventually forced to sell the franchise to Carl Linder thus ensuring her exit from public life, much to the relief of the MLB. Sterling almost seemingly faces the same fate with the Clippers and the NBA.