The basketballer-in-chief weighed in on the controversy over Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling.
“When ignorant folks want to advertise their ignorance, you don’t really have to do anything,” President Obama said at a press conference in Malaysia. “You just let them talk. That’s what happened here.”
The Clippers owner allegedly told his biracial girlfriend in a recorded telephone conversation not to bring African Americans to his team’s games or post pictures or her appearing with them online.
“I have confidence that the NBA commissioner, Adam Silver, a good man, will address this,” the president said. “Obviously, the NBA is a league that is beloved by fans all across the country. It’s got an awful lot of African American players. It’s steeped in African American culture. I suspect that the NBA is going to be deeply concerned in resolving this.”
The president, a basketball player and fan, employed several NBA greats–past and present–to promote health insurance through the federal government’s exchanges. LeBron James and Magic Johnson, two players pushing the president’s program, also sharply criticized Sterling’s comments.
“The United States continues to wrestle with the legacy of race and slavery and segregation,” Obama continued. “That’s still there, the vestiges of discrimination. We’ve made enormous strides, but you’re going to continue to see this percolate up every so often.”