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Here's a fascinating and unique prospective well worth your time to read - Kareem Abdul-Jabbar: Welcome to the Finger-Wagging Olympics. Kareem is outraged by our outrage. Yes, he is disgusted and angered by Donald Sterling's vile remarks flooding the media this weekend, however, he is more troubled by two other aspects of this incident that he feels are more important but are receiving less attention.

First, Kareem is upset we are all acting as this is some big surprise because he says Donald Sterling's racist track record is long and well known. Second, while we are complaining about the NSA violating our personal privacy, why are we not outraged that his girlfriend has taped their private conversation in order to profit from it or seek revenge?  


What bothers me about this whole Donald Sterling affair isn’t just his racism. 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’s the smoking gun?

He was discriminating against black and Hispanic families for years, preventing them from getting housing. It was public record. We did nothing. Suddenly he says he doesn’t want his girlfriend posing with Magic Johnson on Instagram and we bring out the torches and rope. Shouldn’t we have all called for his resignation back then?

Kareem goes on to list Donald Sterling's well documented history of racial incidents including when the "U.S. Dept. of Justice sued Sterling for housing discrimination, in 2006. Allegedly, he said, 'Black tenants smell and attract vermin.'"

In 2009, he is reported to have paid $2.73 million in a Justice Department case "alleging he discriminated against blacks, Hispanics, and families with children in his rentals."

In the same year, a Clippers executive sued him for race and age based employment discrimination.

Others have raised these points. The most unique part of Kareem Abdul-Jabber essay comes in the second half of his  vibrant essay when he raises the issue of the violation of Donald Sterling's privacy rights by his girlfriend secretly taping his conversation for either revenge, personal gain, fame, or all three.  

Shouldn’t we be equally angered by the fact that his private, intimate conversation was taped and then leaked to the media? Didn’t we just call to task the NSA for intruding into American citizen’s privacy in such an un-American way? Although the impact is similar to Mitt Romney’s comments that were secretly taped, the difference is that Romney was giving a public speech. The making and release of this tape is so sleazy that just listening to it makes me feel like an accomplice to the crime. We didn’t steal the cake but we’re all gorging ourselves on it.

So, if we’re all going to be outraged, let’s be outraged that we weren’t more outraged when his racism was first evident. Let’s be outraged that private conversations between people in an intimate relationship are recorded and publicly played. Let’s be outraged that whoever did the betraying will probably get a book deal, a sitcom, trade recipes with Hoda and Kathie Lee, and soon appear on Celebrity Apprentice and Dancing with the Stars.

Kareem hopes Sterling loses his franchise and that the Clippers players realize that their identities as individuals and a team are not defined by the "ramblings of a jealous 80-year-old man." A man, we might add is a vile racist, and would seem to have many other "unresolved ussues" too many to even list here, but also surprising others have not mentioned.  

Quoting “(e)ternal vigilance is the price of freedom,” Kareem closes by encouraging us to aggressively root out racism as soon as it appears, and not wait for dramatic moments like we have with Donald Sterling. Please take the time to read this excellent quick essay.

Originally posted to And Now for Something Completely Different on Mon Apr 28, 2014 at 08:49 PM PDT.

Also republished by Black Kos community, White Privilege Working Group, and The Wide World of Sports.

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