Donald Sterling has learned the hard way this week that it doesn’t just matter what you say on social media — it also matters what you say about it. The Los Angeles Clippers owner came under fire when a recorded conversation between him and his then-girlfriend, V. Stiviano, was released to TMZ.
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver has just released a statement saying that, “Effective immediately, I am banning Mr. Sterling for life from any association with the Clippers organization or the NBA.” Sterling is, additionally, being fined $2.5 million by the organization.
In the clip, Sterling is berating his girlfriend for posting pictures on her Instagram of herself with black friends. The unquestionably bigoted audio, referring to Stiviano’s picture of herself with Magic Johnson, said in part, “I’m just saying, in your lousy f—ing Instagrams, you don’t have to have yourself…walking with black people.” Sterling continues with: “…Don’t put him on an Instagram for the world to have to see so they have to call me.” He adds later that she should not bring black people to Clippers games, and that she should remove any photos of black people from her Instagram.
“This shows how social media has permeated every part of our lives, to the point where things that are said outside of the internet can quickly make their way to the social networks and be in front of the entire world,” explains Tim McDonald, Marketing Manager at RankXPress.
Fans who took to social media outlets, including Instagram, Facebook and Twitter, quickly made it clear that they found Sterling’s commentary utterly reprehensible. Other celebrities, rather than staying silent, took to their online handles as well. Star rapper Lil Wayne made his point clear in a Youtube video, saying in part, “If I was a Clipper fan, I wouldn’t be one anymore. It’s that simple. If I was a Clipper player — a current Clipper player — you wouldn’t see me on that court anymore, in that uniform.” During the most recent Clippers playoff game, the team wore their jerseys inside out during warm-up and left them on the floor in protest.
“Sentiments of this kind are contrary to principles of inclusion and respect that inform our diverse, multicultural and multi-ethnic league,” said Silver during his press conference, regarding the clip’s content.
Sterling’s fine will go toward anti-discrimination groups.