Bryant Gumbel: I'm Surprised Anyone Is Surprised by Clippers Owner's Remarks

Image: Bryant Gumbel: I'm Surprised Anyone Is Surprised by Clippers Owner's Remarks

Sunday, 27 Apr 2014 10:12 AM

By Greg Richter

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HBO "Real Sports" host Bryant Gumbel says that in the light of recent racist comments attributed to LA Clippers owner Donald Sterling, fans and players should investigate the beliefs of the owners of teams the play and root for.

"I'm surprised that anyone is surprised," Gumbel said Sunday on "Meet the Press." "Donald Sterling's reputation is such that one could say that if you keep a vicious dog for a while and you know he's vicious, you can't be surprised one day when it bites someone."

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Sterling in 2009 agreed to pay $2.73 million over allegations he refused to rent apartments to blacks, Latinos and families with children. In 2005 he was ordered to pay $5 million to people he discriminated against in an apartment complex he owned.

Players and executives for the Clippers have described a "plantation mentality" at the team, the Daily News reports.

In the latest alleged incident, a voice said to be the 80-year-old Sterling's is heard on a 10-minute tape telling a younger, black female friend to stop bringing black people to games and posing with them in photos online.

The NBA has long known of Sterling's reputation and has done nothing, Gumbel said. But he said the league should not be singled out, pointing to Major League Baseball, where Houston Astros owner Jim Crane has faced problems of his own.

"We historically, whether it's Donald Sterling or Cliven Bundy or Trayvon Martin, we look at a tip of the iceberg and we ignore the mass underneath it. And really, that's where the problem lies," Gumbel said.

The Clippers have obligation to play regardless of who their owner is, Gumbel said. They currently are in the middle of the NBA playoffs.

But, in light of a recent Supreme Court ruling taking away some limits on political donations, athletes and fans should look at where owners are putting their money, Gumbel said.

"I think African-American fans and players then have a right to say, what you're embracing is not consistent with what I believe in and so I would rather play elsewhere – or I'd rather spend my money elsewhere," he told "Meet the Press."

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