Michael Jordan on Sterling allegations: ‘I’m completely outraged’
The allegations surrounding Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling stemming from overt racist language being attributed to him on an audio tape released on Friday have drawn harsh, direct opinions from around the NBA and the sports world. But in the world of professional basketball, few voices carry as much weight as Michael Jordan’s.
The NBA Hall of Famer and current owner of the Charlotte Bobcats remains one of the preeminent figures in the NBA, and in a statement released on Sunday, he voiced his opinion on the Sterling controversy.
"I look at this from two different perspectives — as a current owner and a former player," Jordan said in the statement. "As an owner, I’m obviously disgusted that a fellow team owner could hold such sickening and offensive views. I’m confident that (NBA commissioner) Adam Silver will make a full investigation and take appropriate action quickly. As a former player, I’m completely outraged. There is no room in the NBA — or anywhere else — for the kind of racism and hatred that Mr. Sterling allegedly expressed. I am appalled that this type of ignorance still exists within our country and at the highest levels of our sport. In a league where the majority of players are African-American, we cannot and must not tolerate discrimination at any level."
Jordan is not the first to speak out on the subject, but that is a pointed opinion for him to make public — one that many others around the league are likely to hold as well. Jordan, who became the first former NBA player to become a majority owner of a franchise back in 2010, is not the only all-time great to have expressed his opinion on Sterling, either.
Hall of Fame guard and former Lakers great Magic Johnson, who was mentioned directly in the audio recording, also took a stand during Sunday’s airing of ABC’s playoff pregame show:
"There’s no place in our society for it," Johnson said of Sterling’s alleged comments. "There’s no place in our league … I believe that once Commissioner Silver does all his due diligence, get all the information gathered, he’s gotta come down hard. (Sterling) shouldn’t own a team anymore."
The audio, originally released by TMZ, is being investigated by the Clippers and the NBA. Deadspin has since released an extended version of the recording also involving racist language from a male voice alleged to be Sterling.