The Los Angeles Clippers were put in an uncomfortable position this weekend when, in the midst of the first round of the NBA Playoffs, TMZ published audio of Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling scolding his girlfriend for “associating with black people” in public and on social media. The queries (and outraged responses) rolled in. Would Sterling be forced out of the league? Would Chris Paul and his Clippers boycott Sunday’s playoff game against the Golden State Warriors? Or would it be another quickly forgotten blip in the institutionalized racism that subtly pervades American society? Well, the story is still writing itself, yet many were dissatisfied with the response of Blake Griffin’s bunch, who tossed their shooting shirts at center court in a silent pre-game protest and wore team shirts inside out to conceal the team name at yesterday’s contest (a Warriors blowout).
So the LA Clippers have chosen to protest Donald Sterling in the tradition of civil rights activists such as Kriss Kross?
— Wyatt Cenac (@wyattcenac) April 27, 2014
While many have felt that the Clippers could’ve made a greater statement and demanded action by refusing to play in the game, Stones Throw rapper Homeboy Sandman wrote an impassioned piece for Gawker calling out The Clippers and, more broadly, today’s generation of complacent people unwilling to take a stand for justice and equality. Like it’s title, it’s blunt (and a bit of a troll). A sample below: “What do you call people who walk quietly to slavery?” Sandman writes. “Who allow themselves to be insulted without standing up for themselves beyond wardrobe adjustments that in reality are nothing but a public show of shame? What do you call people that pretend that these ridiculous gestures actually hold some weight rather than face the fact that we are the laughing stock of the entire planet, and as long there’s the chance that someday maybe we’ll be rich there’s nothing that we’re going to do about it?” “I call us cowards.” “It’s almost as if people have forgotten that struggle includes struggling. You might have to lose your job. You might have to lose your life. That’s what it takes for change to happen. There’s no easy way to do this. If you’re scared to stand up for yourself, for whatever reason, all I ask is that you stop pretending. Stop with the Facebook posts. Stop with the meaningless conversations. Just stop. Be honest. About how you behave. About your part in all this madness. About what you are. A coward. Just a coward. No need to put on an act for the rest of us. We can all see right through each other.” Read the full piece here. Did the Clippers, or NBA players as a whole, miss an opportunity to affect justice in the sport and society by not sitting out of this weekend’s playoff games? Or is Homeboy Sandman’s diatribe misguided? —John Kennedy