Magic Johnson called upon the NBA to “come down hard” on Donald Sterling, even saying that the longtime owner of the Los Angeles Clippers should essentially be ousted from the league.
“He shouldn’t own a team anymore,” Johnson said Sunday.
Johnson’s comments were among the strongest condemnations yet of Sterling, who allegedly made racially charged comments in an audio recording obtained and released by TMZ. Included in the recording: A male, purported to be Sterling, urging a woman to not bring Black people to his team’s games and upset that she posted photos of herself posing with Black friends on her Instagram account.
One of those now-deleted photos is believed to have been of the woman posing with Johnson. On Sunday, Johnson said Sterling was one of the first people he met after moving to Los Angeles, where he was a Lakers star for many years.
“I had a friendship with him. So for him to then make these comments, or alleged comments, about myself as well as other African-Americans and minorities, there’s no place in our society for it,” Johnson said. “There’s no place in our league, because we all get along. We all play with different races of people when you’re in sports. That’s what makes sports so beautiful.”
Johnson spoke on ABC’s playoff pregame show Sunday.
Both the Clippers and the NBA are investigating the audio tape and the comments on it, and Commissioner Adam Silver said Saturday night that he’s hoping for a swift resolution.
“He’s got to come down hard,” said Johnson, adding that Sterling should also come forward and say he no longer wants to own a team. “This is bad for everybody. This is bad for America.”
Johnson said he would not attend Clippers games as long as Sterling owns the team. He also said the Clippers should be focused on their playoff series with Golden State and not the latest scandal involving their long-controversial owner.