Los Angeles Clippers forward Blake Griffin referred to former team owner Donald Sterling as a “weird uncle” and new owner Steve Ballmer as a “cool dad” in a piece he authored for The Players’ Tribune.
Griffin wrote that he wasn’t stunned when he heard the recording of Sterling’s racist rant that led to a lifetime ban from the NBA and the eventual sale of the franchise to Ballmer.
“I was conflicted when the tapes came out last season, and suddenly everyone had an opinion on what we as players should be doing to handle it,” Griffin said. “When I woke up the morning after the tape leaked, I had 40 or 50 text messages. The first thing I did was listen to the tape in bed. It was shocking to actually hear what he said, but not really that surprising to me.”
Griffin said he did his homework after the Clippers drafted him No. 1 in 2009 and learned then about Sterling.
“It’s little bit ironic to me that the media has tried to turn Ballmer into a meme when they turned a blind eye to Sterling for years,” Griffin wrote. “Steve is a good dude. He’s like a cool dad who gives you candy. Donald was like a weird uncle.”
What Griffin found in his online research five years ago was the man he later came to know.
“When I knew the Clippers were drafting me, the first thing I did was type Donald Sterling’s name into Google,” Griffin wrote. “The first hit that came up was ‘Donald Sterling is a racist.’
“I read an article on how he didn’t want minorities to live in his apartment buildings. My first thought was, Wow this guy is really, really a racist … how is he an owner of an NBA team? My second thought was, Wow, these articles are from 2003 and 2008. I guess everybody already knows about this stuff and just doesn’t care.”