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LA Clippers Owner Donald Sterling Scandal Shows Racism Alive and Well in 2014

If there’s anything we learned from the scandal surrounding Donald Sterling, owner of the Los Angeles Clippers it’s that racism is alive and well in our society and workplace even in the year 2014. While Mr. Sterling’s comments were racist and hurtful to many and certainly have no place in our society I believe that the outcry has the wrong and far too narrow of a focus.

Instead of punishing Mr. Sterling by forcing him to sell the Clippers and make hundreds of millions of dollars in profit, we as a society should be focused elsewhere. Remember, Mr. Sterling made his money as a slumlord who controls where many low income minorities in the Los Angeles area are able to live. These are people, who unlike millionaire NBA players, lack the economic means to fight back. Let’s face it if Chris Paul walks away from his $20,000,000.00 plus contract with the Clippers he’ll be walking right into another $20,000,000.00 plus contract with another team. I’m almost certain you can’t say the same thing about any of his tenants.

Instead, I am far more concerned that this reported habitual discriminator will remain in a position of power by retaining his vast real estate assets and therefore remaining the landlord to many lower income minorities that unlike NBA athletes have no voice. Food and shelter are necessities in this country and to have a guy like this in charge of the shelter of any Americans should concern all of us.

Rather than forcing Mr. Sterling to sell his NBA team I wish we were trying to force him to sell his real estate assets so he could no longer control and make decisions regarding where so many people and families can live. He can do far more damage as a landlord to thousands of people than he can as the owner of an NBA franchise.

Author: James D. Payer, Attorney

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