Photos: Anti-Racism Protest Before Clippers Game Turns Into Celebration
On the 22nd anniversary of the L.A. Riots, demonstrators gathered outside the Staples Center for a rally against racism and L.A. Clippers owner Donald Sterling - but the protest was also something of a celebration.
The Los Angeles Is Better Than Donald Sterling Anti-Racism Protest and Rally, co-organized by Jasmyne Cannick, brought together representatives various civil rights groups to denounce racist comments made by Sterling on a leaked tape in which he tells ex-girlfriend V. Stiviano he doesn't want her to bring black people, including Lakers legend Magic Johnson, to his games. Among the groups represented was the NAACP, who, if we're keeping track, were going to give Sterling a lifetime achievement award at their 100th anniversary gala because he gave them a donation - despite his dubious past and prior accusations of racial discrimination - and then rescinded the award after the recording surfaced.
Between the protest's announcement on Sunday, however, and the protest's start time of 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday, much had changed for Sterling. NBA Commissioner Adam Silver announced at a press conference that same day that Sterling would be banned from the NBA for life, fined the maximum amount of $2.5 million (which will be donated to anti-discrimination groups), and ironically, is banned from all future Clippers games and practices as well as NBA Board of Governors events.
The 100 or so participants in the rally celebrated Sterling's ban, participated in chants, advocated for Sterling to sell the team (perhaps to one of the many rich people throwing their name in the ring to buy it) and reminded those gathered that there is still work to be done in the name of equality. The peaceful assembly continued as ticket holders arrived for the 7:30 p.m. Clippers game vs The Golden State Warriors, many wearing their Clippers shirts inside out or donning black in a show of support.
Clippers won last night's game, 113 to 103.