I love sports. It keeps me busy as a young person, gives me an outlet and keeps me relaxed. From my personal experience, I love the camaraderie that comes along with playing sports. I’ve been lucky enough to have teammates that have been more like family than just teammates.
When I first heard about the racist comments billionaire Clippers owner Donald Sterling made, I was speechless. I felt that all the players had the right to be offended. There is absolutely no room for that kind of criticism, or racism, in the NBA. His comments just made me realize that even though there are so many African-American players in the NBA, some people still don’t see them as equals. It hurt me because I would never want to be criticized because of my race.
While the recording did cause uproar across communities and fans, leading to a lifetime ban and $2.5 million fine for Sterling, the conversation still remains—what is racism’s place in sports and what can we do about it?
VoiceWaves asked high school basketball players at Cabrillo High about their thoughts and reactions.
“I was very surprised because he’s been there for a while. There’s still racism going on even though there are many different ethnicities in the NBA. I think they should get him out of there and force him to sell it [the Clippers team].” -David McGill, junior
“I felt sympathy for the player because I’m a player myself, and for someone to say something like that, it would hurt me and affect my game. It hurts for someone to just degrade you like that.” -Ray Rodriguez, senior
“I either thought it was a hoax or a scam to get him out of what he was doing because I can’t imagine that type of racism being in that type of field (NBA). It makes me feel like I really can’t trust anybody.” -Antonio Singleton, senior
“Most basketball players are African American, so I don’t understand why [Sterling] would surround himself with basketball players, if he isn’t going to accept them for who they are. It really does give the NBA a bad image.” -Kendria Rendon, junior
“As a basketball player, it doesn’t sit well with me. I feel like athletes shouldn’t be judged based on race but based on how good they are and their skills. I think the NBA banning him was fair punishment because years later, you don’t know if the same situation is going to come up again.” -Stefanie Mataafa, junior