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Obama: Reported comments by team owner 'racist'

Obama Confident NBA Will Address 'Ignorant Comments'

BY JULIE PACE
AP WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) -- President Barack Obama said Sunday that comments reportedly made by the owner of a U.S. pro basketball team are "incredibly offensive racist statements," before casting them as part of a continuing legacy of slavery and segregation that Americans must confront.

"When ignorant folks want to advertise their ignorance, you don't really have to do anything, you just let them talk," Obama said when asked to respond to the reported comments from Los Angeles Clippers' owner Donald Sterling.

Obama's description of the controversy as part of a larger historical context is the latest example of his continuing willingness to expound on matters of race in his second term.

After avoiding much mention of race relations during his campaign to become the first black president and in his first term, the president last summer offered a personal reflection in response to the shooting of black teenager Trayvon Martin. And now Obama has spoken out against an audio recording of a man identified as Sterling telling his girlfriend not to bring black people to games.

The firestorm over Sterling's comments has quickly engulfed the National Basketball Association.

Obama cast the comments through a broader prism of racism in America, adding that "we constantly have to be on guard on racial attitudes that divide us rather than embracing our diversity as a strength."

"The United States continues to wrestle with the legacy of race and slavery and segregation, that's still there, the vestiges of discrimination," Obama said during a news conference in Malaysia, where he was traveling.

"We've made enormous strides, but you're going to continue to see this percolate up every so often," he added. "And I think that we just have to be clear and steady in denouncing it, teaching our children differently, but also remaining hopeful that part of why statements like this stand out some much is because there has been this shift in how we view ourselves."

In the recording attributed to Sterling recording and posted on the website TMZ, a male voice questions his girlfriend's association with minorities. TMZ reported the woman, V. Stiviano, is of black and Mexican descent.

The man asks Stiviano not to broadcast her association with black people or bring black people to games. The man specifically mentions Lakers Hall of Famer Magic Johnson on the recording, saying, "Don't bring him to my games, OK?"

Obama said he's confident NBA Commissioner Adam Silver will address the matter. He said the NBA has "an awful lot of African American players, it's steeped in African American culture. And I suspect that the NBA is going to be deeply concerned in resolving this."

Silver had said the NBA needs to confirm authenticity of the audio tape and interview both Sterling and the woman in the recording. He called the tape "disturbing and offensive" and promised to investigate quickly.

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paulw3tzi April 27 2014 at 2:45 PM

All a bunch of bull. He has a mixed race arm candy bimbo for a girlfriend. An old guy and a young chic. Happens all the time. What is he trying to prove. He can't cut the mustatrd any more so he hangs out with a teenager to make himself feel good. He didn't want her hanging out with any nwords and bringing them to the games. How obvious is that? Would you do the same thing? Of course you would.

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1 reply
Janie paulw3tzi April 28 2014 at 12:20 PM

She sees $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$ and an old man who is slipping mentally. Easy to get the $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$.

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JohnnYuma April 27 2014 at 2:46 PM

ok Sterling, there goes your freedom of speech...

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rayandkrisneu April 27 2014 at 2:48 PM

Why is the President involved with this at all? I guess he doesn't have any other problems to concern himself with.

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1 reply
gramargo rayandkrisneu April 27 2014 at 4:20 PM

Possibly because racism is behind most of the problems of the world?

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nlr439 April 27 2014 at 2:48 PM

How about some affirmative action, Mr. Pres? The NBA is made of mostly blacks...that does not proportionally represent our population demographics. EQUALITY!

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1 reply
gramargo nlr439 April 27 2014 at 4:23 PM

Maybe it's because more blacks have certain abilities and work hard to use them, since a lot of other careers aren't welcoming them very widely. I notice quite a few white players are on many teams, though the majority of really good ones do seem to be blacks.

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1 reply
handiacefailure gramargo April 30 2014 at 1:25 PM

If a black is a better basketball player than a white he should be on the team. Just like if a white person has a better GPA and SAT score than a black person, the white should be admitted to college. If we are going to have affirmative action for black people, then we should have it in areas that blacks dominate such as basketball teams for whites.

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crankybytch April 27 2014 at 2:49 PM

Everyone is livid that an old racist white man doesn't like blacks and they are calling for a boycott but everyone will sit down and shut up while paying $4 for gas and $3 for a gallon of milk or loaf of bread. American people are F'ing idiot's and that is why we're being steamrolled by our own government. Geez.

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juliana April 27 2014 at 2:49 PM

what does he care about our history.? He comes from Kenya and Indonesia

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1 reply
gramargo juliana April 27 2014 at 4:26 PM

Sheesh, another one of those who apparently have little or not reading comprehension or ability to believe what they see in black and white, proof via long form birth certificate and newspaper notices of birth from Honolulu, Hawaii, which happens to be a state in the United States of America. I suppose you believe there was a conspiracy started before Mr. Obama's birth to have these things available because the conspirators knew way back then that he would become our president. Unbelievable!!

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spencecovey April 27 2014 at 2:49 PM

Divide and conquer. That's what this is all about.

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itchy1958 April 27 2014 at 2:49 PM

Wow! Sterling is one stupid jackwagon! What the hell kind of flag was that behind the president?

Whatever it is, it doesnt sit right with me.

The NBA? How many people are even stupid enough to spend money to waste time even watching that tripe these days?

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1 reply
gramargo itchy1958 April 27 2014 at 4:31 PM

The president was speaking from Malaysia, so I assume it's the flag of that country.

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rgkarasiewicz April 27 2014 at 2:50 PM

Racism can not be tolerated.

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1 reply
Stanley rgkarasiewicz April 27 2014 at 2:58 PM

Agreed but it's not the President's place to judge any citizen that's why we have the Judicial Branch of government!

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tnmac1980 April 27 2014 at 2:50 PM

I don't agree with the owner's comments, but I don't think Mr. Obama should be involved.

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3 replies
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