President Obama responded to the racist comments allegedly made by LA Clippers owner Donald Sterling, calling the remarks “vestiges of discrimination” once widespread in America and expressing confidence that NBA Commissioner Adam Silver “will address this.”
Obama reacted to Sterling’s reported racist rant while at a press conference overseas with the Malaysian prime minister. Although the tape, which broke on Saturday, has not been authenticated, the president still felt comfortable weighing in. (RELATED: Race hate spewing Clippers owner is Democratic donor)
The owner is reported to have said some incredibly offensive, racist statements that were published,” Obama began haltingly. “I don’t think I have to interpret those statements for you. They kind of speak for themselves.”
“When people — when ignorant folks want to advertise their ignorance, you don’t really have to do anything,” he continued. “You just let them talk. That’s what happened here.”
President Obama also called on NBA leadership to “resolve” the situation.
“I have confidence that the NBA Commissioner Adam Silver, a good man, will address this,” he said. “Obviously, the NBA is a league that is beloved by fans all across the country. It’s got an awful lot of African-American players. It’s steeped in African-American culture. And I suspect the NBA will be deeply concerned in resolving this.”
The president also used the remarks to broach a broader point on race relations in America.
“The United States continues to wrestle with the legacy of race,” he noted. “And slavery and segregation, that’s still there. The vestiges of discrimination.”
“We’ve made enormous strides,” he claimed, “but you’re going to see this percolating up every so often. And I think that we just have to be clear and steady in denouncing it, teaching our children differently.”
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