This week, the world of sports erupted in nationwide disgust after audio containing racist comments made by the former LA Clippers owner, Donald Sterling, were leaked to the public. Yesterday, on TSL Sports Talk, host Mark Gray dedicated the show to discussing racism in sports with our featured guests.
Marc Morial, President of The National Urban League, joined us to give us his thoughts on the Donald Sterling controversy and racism in professional sports franchises.
TSL Sports Talk host, Mark Gray:
“As we look at the next generation of pro sports ownership, do you think this Donald Sterling [controversy] has now created sort of a different moral compass for consideration, for the type of people that you want owning pro sports franchises, which say so much about the character of these cities?”
Marc Morial's response:
“I think what it definitely says is that the attitude – the racial attitudes – of the conduct, the professionalism and behavior of owners is important to the reputation of the team and the league because professional sports has become omnipresent in the nation. Significant numbers of Americans are football, basketball, baseball, hockey, soccer fans, both professional and collegiate. And to some extent, what [the Donald Sterling controversy] I think is going to do is, it will create a very important evaluation factor when new owners are selected. While the public may not be aware over the years, because I’ve been involved in significant franchise relocation efforts when I was mayor of New Orleans, we relocated the Hornets in Charlotte to New Orleans. We had actually pursued other teams and in one instance, one franchise was being bought by a group of owners and the NBA at the time, made it plain and simple to us that they would not approve these owners because of their professional reputations and business practices. So its not beyond the consideration – whether the NBA or NFL – they’re going to have to look at particularly the owner’s track record when it comes to race relations.”
You’re not going to want to miss the full interview below.
With the NFL Draft 2014 a week away, we had NFL advisor, Rob London, join us on TSL Sports Talk to talk more about the Sterling controversy and how it has affected players and franchises in the NFL.
“With the NFL players you’ve talked to, what was it like to hear from them that an owner of a franchinse just pretty much disrespect them if they are not White?"
It seems that this year, we’ve had a lot of things that haven’t happened in a long time in sports and this is one of the situations. In my conversations with players, they have been very good at communicating exactly how they feel with regards to certain statements that have been made and they’ve made it abundantly clear that they don’t like it and if they don’t have to, they won’t tolerate it. They lose respect for people of power within those organizations and its certainly owners that have that [racist] mentality. It’s disheartening that we’ve had to go through this, but to hear certain players feel that they’ve been disrespected and feel like they've been denigrated by owners, and looked at as if they can just be replaced at any given time, to me, it doesn’t do the athlete any good in terms of their confidence towards management and towards even coaching staffs. If management and ownership feels a certain way about you, you can ask yourself the question– I wonder if my position coach feels the same way about me or I wonder if even my head coach feels the same way about me. So its just unfortunate across the board in terms of what these players are thinking.”
Listen to the full discussion below to find out if players in the NBA knew what kind of person Donald sterling was, whether or not players feel uncomfortable playing for certain franchises, and more.