Spike Lee thinks Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling “has to go” after getting caught making racist remarks, which the director thinks are just more evidence of Sterling’s “mentality of a slave master.”
The filmmaker appeared on CNN’s “Anderson Cooper 360” (above) on Monday night to discuss the NBA scandal, and said he’s eagerly awaiting for the league’s commissioner, Adam Silver, to have a press conference on the matter on Tuesday, because this isn’t the first time Sterling has expressed his disturbing view of black people.
“I don’t know the bi-laws of the league, but he’s got to go,” Lee told Cooper. “He’s tainted all of the other 29 partners, he’s tainted the league, and he’s tainted America. And when you hear something like that, that is the mentality of a slave master. He sees his players as slaves. “
The “Do the Right Thing” director and avid Knicks fan, who has a reputation for voicing his opinions on racial issues, gave Cooper another example of Sterling’s “slave master” mentality and described an encounter while in L.A. for the NBA All-Star game in 2011.
“We were at a restaurant and Donald Sterling called us over to his restaurant. He started to say, ‘Why are they going to go on strike? We should pay all of the players 500,000. If they didn’t play basketball, they wouldn’t have a job,'” Lee recounted. “I swear to God he said this. And Baron Davis, who played for the Clippers, is my second cousin, so he’s told me a whole lot of stuff about Sterling.”
Sterling is no stranger to race-related controversy. The former lawyer, who began making his fortune with apartment complexes in the L.A. area, previously settled the largest fine in the history of housing discrimination after U.S. Department of Justice sued Sterling in 2006 for refusing to rent his units to people of certain ethnicities. Sterling was also sued by former longtime Clippers executive Elgin Baylor for employment discrimination on the basis of age and race in 2009.
A number of basketball players — including Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson and LeBron James — have spoken out against Sterling, but Lee urged white players to join the conversation.
“I never really heard from the white players,” Lee said. “If you are someone who believes in humanity, justice for all, whether based on race or sex, whatever, this is a front to everybody. We all should be outraged by Americans.”