The chorus of celebrities denouncing Donald Sterling’s racist comments continues. Yesterday, basketball great and former Clippers coach Kareem Abdul-Jabbar penned a piece for Time, claiming Sterling suffered from Irritable Plantation Master Syndrome, and other celebs from Snoop Dogg and Magic Johnson, to Michael Jordan and President Obama have also disavowed Sterling’s words. Now, media giants Oprah Winfrey and Spike Lee have weighed in on the controversy.
On CBS The Morning, Oprah was asked if she’d been keeping up with Sterling-gate and the billionaire did not mince any words.
“Of course I’ve been following this story,” she told the show’s panel. “It feels like a plantation mentality in the 21st century, in 2014, it just doesn’t fit. And, I’m waiting to see what they’re going to do, because something has to be done.”
Oprah said the NBA and the other team owners must act “now” to resolve the situation and perhaps force Sterling to sell the team. Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz, who was also on the show, said, “If it were up to me, I’d ban him for life.”
Filmmaker and avid basketball fan Spike Lee had even tougher words, telling CNN’s Anderson Cooper Sterling has “tainted the league and he’s tainted America.” Lee took it a step further, likening the 80-year-old to a “slave master” who “sees his players as slaves.”
Lee Continued his criticism of the Clippers owner, refusing to remain politically correct like so many in the media—including the Los Angles branch of the NAACP who said they’d “forgive” Sterling if he proved he no longer held racist views.
“For people to say, ‘well, it’s alleged and this stuff,’ what, we gotta have a picture with him in a robe and a hood and holding a burning cross? Is that what it’s gonna take to make people understand who this vile individual is?”
Abdul-Jabbar echoed a similar point, but wondered why people are so outraged about Sterling’s latest incident given his history of racism, which includes settling the largest housing discrimination lawsuit in history.
“What bothers me about this whole Donald Sterling affair isn’t just his racism,” Jabbar writes. “I’m bothered that everyone acts as if it’s a huge surprise. Now there’s all this dramatic and very public rending of clothing about whether they should keep their expensive Clippers season tickets. Really? All this other stuff I listed above has been going on for years and this ridiculous conversation with his girlfriend is what puts you over the edge? That’sthe smoking gun?”
NBA commissioner Adam Silver is scheduled to address the Sterling controversy in a press conference Tuesday afternoon.