By John Dodge
CHICAGO (CBS) — An NBA owner is caught on audio tape spewing racist commentary, including, among other things, telling his mistress that she shouldn’t associate with black men in public.
The outrage was justifiably swift, and the punishment by the NBA against the L.A. Clippers Donald Sterling–a lifetime ban from the league, a $2.5 million fine and a move to force the sale of the team–were widely praised.
However, for ESPN commentator Bomani Jones, the real outrage lies in Sterling’s past practices of housing discrimination and the fact that it was largely ignored by the league. Indeed, Jones wrote a piece about that issue way back in 2006.
It’s the exact type of racism, he said on ESPN’s Dan Le Batard show, that has led to the decades-long cycle of violence in Chicago.
For example, in Chicago, he said, city planners even went so far as to build an expressway (he’s likely referring to the Dan Ryan, but doesn’t say it specifically) to divide the black projects from the white Bridgeport neighborhood to the west and get suburbanites safely to the city.
“We hear all this stuff that goes on in Chicago and all these people who die, who lose their lives,” he said. “All that stuff that’s happening in Chicago is a byproduct of housing discrimination.
“Housing discrimination is the biggest reason that we can point to historically for why we’ve got all these dead kids in Chicago fighting for turf, fighting for real estate with poor accommodations and facilities and everything that you’re supposed to have within a city, poor education, all of this because the tax dollars and everything else decided to move away.”
“These neighborhoods are created by apartheid and they are desolate and they are dangerous, and they are frightening. We have whole generations of people that we have given up on.”
In 2006, Sterling was taken to court by the feds, accused of refusing to rent to minorities and families with children. In a separate case in 2003, he was ordered to pay $5 million in attorney’s fees as part of a settlement in a lawsuit that accused him discriminating against blacks and Hispanics. The case included an undisclosed financial settlement for the plaintiffs.
“The biggest reason this sort of thing has happened is because of jack-wagons like Donald Sterling make this decision that they to don’t want black people or Mexicans or anybody else living near these pristine white people.”
“That’s the stuff that Donald Sterling has been doing forever.”
Chicago’s gang violence, of course, is more complex. Currently, Chicago is basically experiencing gang anarchy after the feds destroyed the gang structure years ago and sent the leaders to prison. That created an unintended consequence in which smaller gangs began to form and are fighting small-scale turf wars with no regard to human life. The school system was corrupt in the 1980s and 1990s (at one point considered the worst in the country). Illegal guns and drugs flow freely.
Jones also brought up the death of 32-year-old Leonore Draper, an anti-violence activist who was fatally shot outside her Chicago home on Friday, the same night she attended an anti-violence event.
Jones said he was a friend of Draper’s and will be attending the funeral.
“You are going to come to me and talk about what is going on with Donald Sterling and his mistress? Are you kidding me? That stuff [discrimination] is real, that stuff matters, that stuff kills people,” Jones said.
“Everybody and their mom is so charged up about Donald Sterling. I am going to go to a funeral next week for somebody who took somebody else’s bullet because that city [Chicago] has become a war zone.”
“But I am supposed to get charged up because Donald Sterling said his rich friends don’t want his black mistress to be around black people.”
“This here is fun to talk about, but this is nothing.”
“When Donald Sterling was out here toying with people’s lives on things that really matter, matters of life and death, the media, the NBA, and all these sponsors … didn’t say a mumbling word.”
“They can kiss my behind.”