Washington Redskins

Donald Sterling Didn’t Corner The Market On Racism In Sports

NBA: Minnesota Timberwolves at Los Angeles Clippers

The sporting world is enraged by the recent overtly racist comments by Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling, who during a recorded conversation stated he was against blacks coming to games at the Staples Center.

Sadly, the Sterling incident isn’t exactly foreign in the world of professional sports.

The Washington Redskins, who already have a cloud hovering over the franchise due to its controversial nickname, aren’t strangers to the concept of racism.

Former Redskins owner George Preston Marshall didn’t want African-Americans on his team. In fact, after NFL teams began signing African-American players in 1946, it took Marshall another 16 years to follow suit.

The controversial owner, who once said, “we’ll start signing Negroes when the Harlem Globetrotters start signing whites,” needed to be threatened by the United States government in regards to the team’s stadium lease before finally placing an African-American player on the Redskins.

Marshall’s feelings about African-Americans impacted his team. When Washington selected Ernie Davis with the first overall pick in the 1962 NFL Draft, the Syracuse running back forced a trade with the team because he didn’t want play on a team led by a devout racist.

In the coming days and weeks, it’ll be quite interesting to see if the Los Angeles Clippers take a legitimate stance against Sterling, who has a history of criticizing ethnic groups in strong fashion.

Granted, Clipper players are receiving a paycheck but for many of them this is an issue of principle. It’s time to either take a stand against a guy who is clearly living incorrectly off ideals from another era; or fall in line as if the incident never happened.

Ignoring this will not teach Sterling or anyone else who shares his beliefs a reasonable lesson.

How should the Clippers respond?

Either some sort of sit in or protest of the next home playoff game. What better way to get to Sterling than embarrassing him in his own building?

Surely, NBA commissioner Adam Silver will take some sort of action but it could have a far more lasting impact if the players who Sterling builds his fortune off of actually step up and make a stand against racism.

Draw the line in the sand, fellas.

It worked for Ernie Davis…and it can work for you.

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