HBO sportscaster Bryant Gumbel claimed the NBA is largely being “let off the hook” over Clippers owner Donald Stering’s alleged racist rant published this weekend, noting that Sterling has a past of history of racism and wondering why the league would ever “allow this man to own a team.”
Gumbel spoke on NBC’s “Meet the Press” along with MSNBC’s Rev. Al Sharpton and NAACP interim president Lorraine Miller about Sterling’s remarks, in which he expressed disgust that his girlfriend was “promoting” her association with black people online.
Sharpton exhorted the NBA to act quickly. “You cannot have someone own an NBA team in this country and have these kinds of attitudes . . . Let’s not play games, they say they’re going to investigate. He needs to say unequivocally, ‘That’s not me on the tape.’ If it is him on the tape, they need to move today.”
Miller spoke in broader terms, evoking the Emancipation Proclamation and “equality of opportunity” and “equality in the law” — though she failed to explain how these issues were associated one racist NBA owner.
Gumbel noted he was “surprised that anyone is surprised. I mean, Donald Sterling’s reputation is such that if you keep a vicious dog for a while, and you know he’s vicious, you can’t be surprised when it bites someone.”
“Donald Sterling’s racial history is on the record,” he explained. “It has cost him money. It cost him his reputation long before this. And so I’m kind of amazed that anyone is surprised at this, and, frankly, I’m kind of surprised that the NBA is being let off the hook on this. You know, David Stern and the NBA owners knew what kind of man Donald Sterling was long before this.”
“And in the same way as — although I’m not equating the crimes — in the same way as after [former NFL player] Aaron Hernandez was charged with these felonies people wondered why the New England Patriots had him on their roster to begin with,” Gumbel continued, “one can sit here and look and say, ‘Why did the NBA allow this man to own a team when they knew what kind of a person he was?'”
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