tv CNN Newsroom CNN April 27, 2014 12:00pm-1:01pm PDT
i'm fredricka whitfield. controversy surrounds racist remarks allegedly made by a long-time nba team owner. now donald sterling is the focus of an nba investigation. so what punishment could he face? that and the latest reaction from the sports world coming up. and a serious storm is bearing down on the central part of the u.s. it has a strong potential for tornadoes and millions are living right in its path. more on that in just a few minutes. we begin this hour with stunning comments rattling the
nba. the long-time owner of the l.a. clippers donald sterling is under fire for making racist remarks. tmz released a tape between sterling and his girlfriend. he allegedly says he doesn't want her associating with african-americans at clippers' games and he takes issue with her taking a picture with magic johnson. listen to the conversation. >> i saw someone i admire. i admire magic johnson. >> okay. good. >> i'm sorry. he's made a lot of change for the community, for the world, for the people, for the minorities. he's helped a lot of people. >> i'm finished talking to you. i have nothing more to say. >> he's someone i admire. >> good. >> and he happens to be black and i'm sorry. >> i think it's nice that you admire him. i know him well and he should be
admired. and i'm just saying that it's too bad that you can't admire privately and during your entire [ bleep ] life, your whole life admired him, i don't care. but don't put it on instagram for the whole world to see it and then they have to call me and don't bring him to my games. okay? >> again, this is the photograph at issue with the girlfriend seen in this photograph with magic johnson on her instagram page and apparently this is, according to this voice that is believed to be that of donald sterling that is upsetting him, starting this argument between him. so today sports blog deadspin got access to an extended recording. listen to what was in that clip. >> well, if you don't feel it, don't come to my games. don't bring black people and
just don't come. >> do you know that you have a whole team that is black? >> i've given them cars and houses and who gives it to them? does someone else give it to them? do i know that i have -- who makes the game? do i make the game or do they make the game? is there 30 owners that? >> all right. we can't con fifirm the authenticity of the recording. and then there is a twist. sterling's wife filed a lawsuit against his girlfriend last month. this story has spread around the country. even president obama was asked about it while traveling in malaysia. >> when ignorant folks want to advertise their thoughts, you don't have to do anything. that's what happened here. >> calls to take action are pouring in from fans, players, and former players. i'm joined by cnn's rachel
nichols. magic johnson was referred to in that conversation. listen to what he thinks should happen. >> it's now adam silver and the owners of the league. i'm going to say what i've been saying all along. he's got to give up the team. >> rachel, that's being echoed by many. i just spoke with kareem abdul jabbar. he's speaking a very similar sentiment. >> yeah. look, it's not surprising to hear that kind of talk from donald sterling. for those of your viewers not familiar with him, before this incident, let me give you a little background. ste sterling made some of his money in real estate development and two times he was sued for discriminating about what kind of tenants he had in his
buildings. there was enough evidence that sterling settled for huge amounts. one time it was a record amount. an all-star worked for sterling and the management of the clippers. baylor filed a lawsuit against sterling and one of the quotes entered into the record in that suit is sterling allegedly saying that the reason he discriminated back in his apartment buildings was that, quote, black tenants smell and attract verment. and the nba has been criticized in the past for not doing anything about sterling. but now this recording, it really does seem to be the tipping point, fred, and a lot of people are demanding that they take action. >> so what kind of action is it that the nba would be able to take? >> adam silver is the new commissioner of the nba.
he took over a little less than three months ago. he has an enormous task. there are not a lot of clear guidelines in the bylaws. first of all, he has to investigate the authenticity. and then he has to marshal con s census among the other owners. it's going to be tough to force sterling out. it's not impossible but it would be extremely difficult and sterling is known to be a very lat teej jous guy. this could spend years in court. ultimately what he could do is suspend him from having any decision making with the team. possibly he could suspend him or fine him. if it's sterling's voice on that tape, a number of owners seem to support a strong action. we've seen michael jordan come forward, he came out against the recording and that all circles back to something that president
obama said this morning. obama made the point that we do still live in a time where these kinds of sentiments exist. however, there's been a cultural shift where americans are not as accepting of these sentiments in any kind of form and maybe that's what we're seeing with donald sterling. maybe it was accepted even ten years ago and all of the evidence in the public record finally this time thankfully it's not going to be acceptable now. we'll have to see. >> and maybe in large part, too, because people have cell phones, they have recording devices unlike we've ever seen before and so when people reveal themselves, it could end up on tape and that may be the difference, too. all right. rachel nichols, thank you so much. so reaction to the sterling controversy has been fast and furious from nba mayers, even from the president as you heard rachel underscore who weighed in from malaysia. first, let's turn to stephanie
elam in oakland, california. they are hoping to not be distracted by what is going on. it's going to be hard to say. they are playing against the golden state warriors in less than an hour. we understand that sterling is not expected to be at tonight's game but what are people saying there about this controversy? >> reporter: that's right, fred. we are here outside of the oracle coliseum. games start in less than half an hour, actually. a lot of people coming in. a few clippers are coming in with their colors on and people are befuddled by this whole controversy. we understand that his presence here would be more disstrabtrac and then you add on the fact that the clippers are trying to make their way into the playoffs. take a listen to what doc rivers
said. take a listen. >> this is a situation where we're trying to go after something very important for us, something that we've all dreamed about all of our childhoods and, you know, donald or anyone else had nothing to do with that dream and we're not going to let anything get in the way of those dreams. >> reporter: and on top of this, we heard that previously the naacp was going to honor donald sterling. we've heard that that is no longer going to happen. he's no longer going to be honored for a lifetime achievement award, which is confusing to people, fred. and people are really confused at how you can be an owner of a team that employs a whole bunch of black people, the head coach, many of the players and the girlfriend who is half black and half mexican, how she can have these relationships with these people, fred. >> and given the reported track record, underscored by rachel and other, the track record of
discrimination at his apartment complex, that, too, is hard to understand why he was going to be getting a lifetime achievement award from the naacp. again, you've said that they rescinded that and it's not going to happen. we'll try to keep track of all of it. stephanie elam, thank you. the firestorm swirling around nba owner donald sterling is igniting reaction from some of the game's biggest names. we'll hear more from magic johnson, coming up. next. are you ready grandma? just a second, sweetie. [ female announcer ] we eased your back pain, you turned up the fun. tylenol® provides strong pain relief while being gentle on your stomach. but for everything we do, we know you do so much more. tylenol®.
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a picture that sterling's girlfriend took with nba hall of famer magic johnson. today there's been more conversations about this involving magic johnson. yesterday he tweeted about it. today he was on espn and said this isn't sterling's first brush with the issue of race. >> plain and simple, when you heard those comments, magic, what was your reaction? >> well, i was really upset. you know, you can't understand how hurt i was and also i was hurt for all african-americans and all minorities because when a man who owns a team in the nba and donald sterling has had issued in the past so this is not the first time and i've known donald, one of the first men i met when i came to l.a.,
he took me to his malibu beach party, actually, my first week in l.a., i met with him a few times. so 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 or minorities, there's no place in our society for it. there's no place in our league. we all get along. we all play with different races of people. that's what makes sports so beautiful. and then he's put his own team in a tough situation. so i believe that once commissioner silver -- sorry. i said stern. silver does all of his due diligence, gets all of the information gathered, gather the information, we've got to -- he's got to come down hard.
he shouldn't own a team anymore and he should stand up and say, i don't want to own a team anymore, especially when you have african-americans renting his apartments, coming to the games, and playing for him. and coaching for him. this is bad for everybody. it's bad for america. and so i'm really upset about it. >> magic, from an ownership capacity to a hall of fame player, you mentioned not going to any clipper games again as long as he's affiliated with the team. that's a strong statement because if you're not welcome, obviously everybody below you, so to speak, isn't welcome. so can you talk about that statement, about not attending? >> well, he said don't bring me to the game. don't bring magic on the tape. no problem. i have no problem with that. so i won't be going and then he said other african-americans, they are not welcome either. and so this is -- this is not good. this is not good.
and it's not good for not just the league but for america. you know, this is not good. and then i think about the fact that we have made him money but we're not welcome at the game. and so that's -- you know, you can't get over that. and that's why everybody is upset. black, white, latino, everybody is upset at donald sterling right now. >> all right. so those alleged comments from the owner sterling certainly resonating everywhere, even overseas. president obama is actually still on his asia tour and this problem of race in the u.s. being highlighted by these reported comments, well, the president was asked about it and he responded. and he doesn't hold back. we'll talk about that with candy crowley in washington, next. ♪
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president obama heads to the philippines tonight before wrapping up his asia tour this week. while overseas, he's tackling russia's advances in ukraine and also addressing the long-standing problem of racism here in the u.s. the latest firestorm was ignited by racist remarks allegedly made by an nba team owner. let's talk about how the president is managing these crises while on the road.
candy crowley is joining us. good to see you. to ukraine first. the prime minister says that russia is trying to start world war iii. european leaders are meeting tomorrow to talk more about sanctions but what more can president obama and the u.s. government really do to stop russia? >> well, they have said all along there are more sanctions that we can put in place against the elite and the description of that is the rich folks in russia who are close to putin. we can make life really uncomfortable for them. the theory being, of course, if they are close to putin and can affect his behavior. i had one of the president's national security advisers on the show and i said, can you do something specifically to putin? does he have a bank account somewhere? does he have something that would affect him because while the u.s. says, well, gee, the russian economy, we've already made a dent in it with our
current sanctions, putin is still in the same place. so the question is, what can they do to move putin? i couldn't get any specifics from him but they do -- they have moved very close to putin and want to put more sanctions on it and claim that this week they will announce them and they will have the allies in step. >> president obama now also addressing while overseas, not just ukraine but other matters here at home, addressing the l.a. clippers' owner donald sterling's racist remarks. he took a graceful yet direct swipe while overseas. take a listen. >> when ignorant folks want to advertise their ignorance, you don't have to really do anything. you just let them talk. and that's what happened here. the united states continues to wrestle with the legacy of race. and slavery and segregation, that's still there. the vestiges of discrimination.
we've made enormous strides but you're going to see this percolate up every so often and i just think that we have to be clear and steady in denouncing it, teaching our children differently. >> candy, this was a powerful moment for the president to do this. it was candid, heartfelt, and helped to underscore america has a very deep problem. how are his comments helping to direct the issue or perhaps even discussions from this point on? >> i think it's a coolant at this point and it seems to me that he's not just talking about the clippers' owner. he was also talking about the rancher that has absorbed so much time on the airwaves. those remarks make me think back as the president as a candidate. for of the most part, he has always sought to cool the rhetoric when it comes to race issues.
there were times in his administration when he was saying too much about the trayvon martin case or the harvard professor versus the boston cop. but mostly this is a president who seeks to calm down the rhetoric and it just reminded me that people would say, do you think that people won't vote for you because you're black? and he would say, yeah. i also think there are people who are going to vote for me because i'm black. he sort of took that temperant way of moving on rather than adding kindling. >> candy crowley, good to see you. thank you. >> thanks, fred. the fallout surrounding the racial comments allegedly made by l.a. clippers' owner donald sterling. next, we'll go to the site of today's playoff game.
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all right. the continued fallout over the recorded alleged comments of the l.a. clippers' owner don sterling. so what does happen next? if indeed sterling said these offensive things, should he stay? should he apologize or leave the league al together and how is this controversy potentially affecting the team which is right now in the playoffs. let's talk more about this with mlb.com columnist and cnn.com sports contributor terrance moore. >> i've been a sports commentator for nearly 40 years. you hear these things behind the scenes. he's the only guy that's been caught doing this and now that he's been caught it's going to unravel a bunch of things. here's something that needs to be said.
elgin baylor, his former manager, sued him for aids discrimination. he got fired after something like 22 years. >> was it an allegation of discrimination as well? >> he called it harassment at the time. now that this has come out, watch for more of that story to come even further. perhaps he may get more specific about what that harassment involved and it may have involved race. >> because that's what you wonder. this doesn't just come out of the blue. or does it not? there have been people along the way that has -- >> there has been. >> yeah. they have heard things, seen things, but maybe this is the most profound example, something very insulting because they heard his voice. you have to wonder, even though it may not be admissible in court, we heard that from mark o'mara earlier, it may not be admissible in court if this recording is indeed his voice, if there's an established pattern, you wonder if other
discrimination complaints might get more fuel. >> no question about that. >> to go forward. >> people ask about what is going to happen next. there's a precedent for this and a very large one. mark shot, the legendary -- and i say that somewhat facetiously, owner of the cincinnati reds back in the late '90s, she had a rather loose tongue and among the things that she said that was inflammatory, her star players were her million dollar ns and she said that adolph hitler was good in the beginning but went too far. in 1993 she was suspended for the entire year, fined her $250,000, which is a large amount of money back then. a couple years ago she was at it again with her mouth. they suspended her again for another three years. she would have been suspended a third time but she left the
game, sold her team with a little push, of course. so they've got something right here, the nba, the precedent is something that they could use in regard to donald sterling. >> you said something a moment that this may be a microcosm. >> sure. >> this was possibly caught on tape. so if that is indeed the case, does this -- does this kind of reveal really kind of a slave mentality, a master slave mentality when you hear these recorded words saying something like, you know, i feed them, help them make money, i give them cars, i give them food, or the other comments that, you know, i don't mind you associated with them to a certain degree but not publicly, i don't want them coming to my games, you taking pictures, et cetera. how do you classify this? what do you -- i guess how do you digest this kind of reported behavior or sentiment?
>> to me, one of the worst kept secrets in the history of sports, not just in the nba or nfl, all sports. in college football, the s.e.c. was segregated for decades. then in the late 1960s, legendary coach blair bryant gets obliterated by sam cunningham, that's when he went to the powers at be at the state of alabama, not just the university, and said we've got to get players like that, meaning black players. right now the southeastern conference is perhaps like 90% black players out there. the best conference in college football, you go out into the stands, it's 95% white and the white players and white fans, you know, they support their players but when you look at the tailgate parties, i've covered a lot of parties here in atlanta, they are very much segregated. you have the separate but equal
attitude. as you say, it's very much of an entertainment-type thing. >> terence, let's go to oakland. one of our producers michael flash is in the arena for the game. i'm wondering, michael, what are you hearing, seeing, feeling inside that arena? we heard that some folks were planning on wearing all black. this was their way of making a statement. there were others who said i'm not going. are the stands full? what can you see? what are you seeing maybe as a response to what reportedly was on tape? >> well, the fans are here, obviously, because this is a golden state home game. nobody is going to boycott their own home team. the fans are dressed in the yellow t-shirts that they gave out pregame. i saw no visible signage or anything like that. but once the clippers came on the court to warm up, they were wearing their warmup jerseys
inside out. their shooting shirts. so there was no visible clipper signage on them when they were warming up. >> they came out and warmed up there was no visible response -- >> no logos. they wore their shooting shirts inside out so they were just red shirts instead of anything that said clippers or los angeles on it. >> what are fans saying, of those that you have spoken to there, what are people saying? well, most people here are here to watch their home team, the golden state team, so they don't really have an opinion. i can tell that you pregame the coach attended a press conference, doc rivers, the mundane press conference but today it was heavily attended and went on forever and the entire subject matter was the donald sterling issue. >> okay. all right. michael, thanks so much inside the arena.
terence, what do you suppose these players are feeling, like the clippers' players, the coach. they are in the middle of the playoff. they are doing so well after a dismal season consecutively and now here, this opportunity and this giant distraction. >> let me put it this way. this is going to be very, very tough. because what we have seen so far, these are headed towards being the most competitive nba playoffs off all time. a lot of overtime games and the dirty little secret is you have a lebron james and kevin durant but the majority of players are within 10 degrees of each other talentwise which means you have to be very focused and it's going to be difficult to be totally focused when they know that their owner would make archie bunker cringe. >> i can't imagine any player replaying in their mind the
interaction they may have had with sterling. >> i will say this, though. to put this in perspective, again, this happens more than people think. this is just something we see on the outside. >> so you think this permeates within the nba? >> not just the nba but professional sports. the washington redskins, preston -- or i guess his name was george preston marshal l, he was a confirmed racist. didn't have his first black player until 1962 which for seven or eight years under his reign, he had black players playing for him and he was a racist. in the mid-1980s, he said that i moved it to minnesota because of the good hardworking white
people in minnesota and blacks only enjoy going to wrestling matches. >> it's part of american history. >> it's a part of american history. and the fans don't care. they just want to see their team win. if you're a clipper fan, they don't care about -- >> except i think this really does hit at the heart of everyone, whether you're a fan, a player. >> if the -- i'm telling you something, if the clippers win the world championship, the l.a. clipper fans, this is going to be just a little small blip on the screen. >> you think so? >> in the grand scheme of things. >> live pictures right now of the oracle arena there where the clippers are playing. our producer michael flasch said the fans are there. the oakland team -- most of the fans have come out for but l.a. clippers, they are in their
warmup doing their thing. if there's any way of reading whether this is at all a distraction. however, the owner is not there in the stadium. >> it will be a distraction in oakland if the golden state warriors lose. if the game is getting out of hand, then perhaps they will direct comments directed towards donald sterling. >> and then it will go from bad to worse. >> fans are fans. they just want to see the bottom line. they want to see their team do well, period. >> terence, we have more to talk about. this is lighting a firestorm under a lot of people. everyone feels that even if they are not an nba fan, it has impacted them here in this report. >> and the president is talking about it. >> talking overseas. that tells you a lot. terence, thank you so much. see you a bit later. coming up, an interview with nba hall of famer magic johnson who found himself at the center of the firestorm and today took
what should happen next to the clippers' owner don sterling in a phone recording we allegedly hear sterling urging his girlfriend not to be seen in public with black people and criticizing her for a picture, this picture that she took with magic johnson. this picture being provided by tmz sports. so all of this could threaten sterling's future as an owner and in a conversation that magic johnson had on espn today during a preclippers' game show, johnson said sterling must go. >> now, what we have to understand is all these young men need their jobs, though. right? and they need to take care of themselves and their families. so we can't blame doc rivers or the players. they have to do their job to take care of their families and play the game that they love and then, bill, i'm really upset that we're sitting here talking about donald sterling and this
tape when the spotlight should be on the players. these playoffs have been tremendous. ever, ever, since i've been in basketball, the best first round i've ever seen in over 35 years being associated with this league. >> okay. magic, from that standpoint, the clippers have to play today. >> uh-huh. >> and you're friends with doc and chris paul. take me into the role of chris paul as the leader of that team and doc rivers, the coach. what is their role? >> i talked to doc rivers yesterday and i wanted him to understand this. this is not his fight or the clippers' players fight. this is our fight. we will fight the battle for them. their focus should be on the game. they've got a tough series with golden state. focus in on how do we win game four today and then what's really crazy, doug, i've been in a similar situation when i was a
rookie, we played the 76ers and i'm glad he was hurt because doug can shoot the lights out. our sixth man got suspended in game one. we kicked him off the team. >> yep. >> we had to deal with that and still find a way to beat your 6ers. and then kareem gets hurt and we have to find a way to win again. our sanctuary is that basketball court. the 6ers understand. chris, get your guys ready to play game four. look, when you hit that court, you don't worry about what is going on at home, what people have said about donald sterling. all you want to do is focus in on that game and as a matter of fact, it's going to be good for the clippers' players to hit the floor today. >> finally, magic, this is not going away. >> no. >> this is not going away any time soon and new recordings are coming out as we speak. therefore, since your name was brought in by the man believed
to be donald sterling on those recordings, what do you plan to do going forward? >> well, it's really not me. it's now adam silver and the owners of the league. i'm going to say what i've been saying all along. he's got to give up the team. if he doesn't like african-americans and you're in a league that's over 70% african-americans -- >> ding, ding, ding. >> magic, you know him. do you honestly believe he will give up the team, as you suggest? >> when you've got the president of the united states saying that this is bad, you've got all the fans around the country, different races of people saying it's bad, it's time for him to exit and so i don't know if he will because he's been -- bill, you know this, he's been used to fighting every battle. >> i was going to say -- >> and gotten away with it. >> i agree with you but this is probably the most stubborn owner in sport and somebody who loves going into courtrooms and fighting battles.
he paid mike dunleavy. he fought to not pay those guys even though he had a contract with them. don't you think that you will fight to the death to keep this team over giving it up? >> he probably will. that's who he has been. but the fans will have a say so in -- the clipper fan also have a say so if he does come back. >> more on this nba controversy coming up. also, should authorities expand their search for the malaysian airliner? so what is next? and does it involve more mo more advanced technology? we'll take a look coming up. what you wear to bed is your business.
authorities looking for missing malaysian airliner 307 may widen the search area. the underwater bluefin nearly completed its search of the area near where the pings were heard and it's found nothing. i'm joined now by cnn safety analyst david souci and ocean search specialist rob mccullum. rob, you first. it seems in previous weeks we've heard almost every step of what australian authorities and other nations were going to be doing about their air and underwater
search. we've heard nothing that we don't know what the next step is. >> who it doesn't worry me in the sense it's logical what will happen next. other opinions need to be explored so a more moderate term plan is to review the other locations and the longer term plan has to be to cover a much broader area, perhaps following the flight path of the area of the aircraft from the south back up to are the north. that's a long plan taking at least two or three months. >> david, in your view, are we at this juncture where authorities have to listen again to perhaps those recorded pingsz, try to discern more about the intensity or frequency of them and redirect their search based on that? >> i think so. they ruled the first one, highest in amplitudes, it
indicates it's the close e to the pinger, but obviously that wasn't the case. while i'm saddened that the families will have to wait longer i'm anxiously awaiting the results of the next area where they'll search to the north. that's why we had the two-hour length ping receptions so that to me in my mind would be a really good place to look and i think that's going to present some challenges as rob could probably tell us about, but it's a little bit deeper than before. >> what are some of the challenges in your view, rob? >> the challenges are depth, as david says. we're going to a deeper part of the pathymetry. the pingz we're hearing were not consistent with a ping broadcasting from a single location and we've all learned that acoustics, underwatt ear koousices can play a great deal of tricks to the human ear. it's anyone's guess as what-to-what bluefin will find
over the next few days. >> david, you think it's premature to abandon any further underwater searches? >> oh, yes. it's definitely too premature to do that. one of the things that mary schiavo had brought up early on within the last week or so, perhaps we should dprop another pinger and test that and see if it's reflective of what they determined before. even before they do that, going up to the northern area, even bringing in some other tools, some deeper tools perhaps the rema 6,000, a few other tools might be the logical step before expanding the search to the entire arc but i think those things are definitely in the year future. >> david souci, rob mccallum, thanks so much. >> thank you. coming up next, the erupting controversy surrounding the owner of the los angeles clippers and racest comments he allegedly made. we'll ch ek in live at the playoff game and hearing from
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[ male announcer ] troubleshoot, manage appointments, and bill pay from your phone. introducing the xfinity my account app. hello again, everyone. i'm fredricka whitfield. here's what's topping our news this hour. stunning recorded comments rattling the nba. the long time owner of the los angeles clippers, donald sterling, is under fire for allegedly making racist comments about african-americans. tmz released a recording that it claims is sterling arguing with his girlfriend seen here with him. in this photograph. she allegedly says he doesn't want her associating with african-americans at clippers games and takes iss