A Jewish basketball team owner found himself at the centre of a race row this week after being recorded telling his mixed-race girlfriend not to associate with black people or bring them to games, likening it to the reality of Israel.
President Obama joined players and Jewish groups rounded on LA Clippers owner Donald Sterling, who is heard berating his glamourous partner V. Stiviano on audio posted to news website Deadspin.
In the exchange, Sterling lambasts Stiviano for posting photos of herself with black athletes, saying: “It bothers me that you want to … broadcast that you’re associating with black people.”
However, Stiviano is heard countering, saying that – as a Jew – Sterling should know better than to advocate discrimination.
With the incident now being investigated by the National Basketball Association (NBA), Jewish groups were left to digest the damage done by Sterling’s rant, in which he is heard saying: “Go to Israel, blacks are treated just like dogs.”
Stiviano asks her multi-millionaire partner whether this means he has to treat them like that too, but she is told: “There’s white Jews and black Jews, you understand? ”
She then asks whether the black Jews are less than white Jews, to which he replies: “A hundred percent, a hundred percent.”
Later, Stiviano accuses Sterling of racism, to which he asks: “Is it racism if you don’t want to be… walking… into a basketball game with a certain… person?”
Speaking in Malaysia, Obama said the reported comments were “incredibly offensive racist statements”. He added: “We constantly have to be on guard on racial attitudes that divide us rather than embracing our diversity as a strength.”