NBA Playoffs Marred by Racial Controversy

Alleged racial remarks by the owner of the Los Angeles Clippers is overshadowing the National Basketball Association playoffs, and is sparking outrage across the United States.

The NBA is investigating whether Donald Sterling is the voice heard on a recording that was obtained by the website TMZ. The male voice is heard asking Sterling's then-girlfriend not to publicize her associations with black people.

More of the recording was then released on deadspin.com. The male voice asks the woman to not post photos of black people on her Instagram page and to not bring black people to his basketball games. Sterling has not denied the voice is his.

The NBA has scheduled a news conference for Tuesday afternoon to address the issue, while critics around the country are calling for severe sanctions, including forcing Sterling to sell the team.

Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling (right) and V. Stiviano watch the Clippers play the Sacramento Kings during the first half of an NBA basketball game in Los Angeles (file photo). /AP Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling (right) and V. Stiviano watch the Clippers play the Sacramento Kings during the first half of an NBA basketball game in Los Angeles (file photo). /AP

Sterling has a history of racism. In 2009, the real estate mogul paid a record $2.725 million to a settle a federal housing discrimination case claiming he sought to exclude black and Hispanic tenants from his rental properties in Los Angeles.

In a silent protest at their playoff game Sunday, Clippers' players turned their warm-up suits inside out so no team logos were showing.

President Barack Obama is among those who have weighed in on the issue. He called them "incredibly offensive racist statements."

A number of Los Angeles Clippers advertisers have begun canceling or suspending their sponsorships of the team.

VOA News / Apr. 29, 2014 08:03 KST