A former NBA star and civil rights leader in Jacksonville is weighing in on the controversy surrounding Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling.
The NBA is expected to announce the findings of its investigation into Sterling’s alleged racial comments he made during a recorded conversation.
The coach of the Clippers and Sterling’s estranged wife said they believe it is Sterling who is speaking.
Local NBA veteran and Hall of Famer Artis Gilmore said he would be disappointed if the allegations against Sterling are true.
“The Clippers are being noted as one of the best teams in the playoffs, and there’s no question that an event like this affects their mental focus (and) certainly their mindset,” said Gilmore.
Sterling is fast losing support from African-American leaders. The NAACP decided not to honor him with a lifetime achievement award.
Several national advertisers have withdrawn from supporting the team. The Jacksonville president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, Opio Sokoni, said blatant racist remarks happen too often behind closed doors where there is no accountability.
“It happens under the radar because we don’t have a fiancé, or a wife, or children that we tape private conversations in the home and put them out in the public,” said Sokoni.
“I think this could be a black eye for the Clippers,” said Gilmore.
The NBA is expected to announce its findings Tuesday.