Kareem Abdul-Jabbar was pulled into the Donald Sterling fiasco after he wrote an op-ed piece in TIME magazine questioning all the fuss around the Los Angeles Clippers owner’s racist comments. As one of the NBA‘s living legends, Abdul-Jabbar once more addressed the matter by saying racism of Sterling’s sort is alive and well in white America.
Abdul-Jabbar was a guest on ABC’s This Week program with house George Stephanopoulos where the panel discussion was centered on whether or not NBA commissioner Adam Silver’s punishment was heavy enough. What turned heads in the discussion is Abdul-Jabbar saying that until segments of the national population get real about race, issues like Sterling’s bigoted comments and other forms of institutional racism will continue.
From This Week’s transcript:
STEPHANOPOULOS: And do you think the league can force him out?
ABDUL-JABBAR: I think they have the legal leverage to do that. Have to see, you don’t know for sure, but the way things are going now I think that they have a very good chance of keeping him away from the game.
STEPHANOPOULOS: What about the underlying issues that Ryan brought up in his piece, did you bring up in your piece, the kind of idea that the league for a long time turned a blind eye to his actions and that the country is still struggling with lingering racism.
ABDUL-JABBAR: Well, this is a problem. I did a little bit of research, more whites believe in ghosts than believe in racism. That’s why we don’t have — that why we have shows like Ghostbusters and don’t have shows like Racistbuster. You know, it’s something that’s still part of our culture and people hold on to some of these ideas and practices just out of habit and saying that well that’s the way it always was. But things have to change.
Abdul-Jabbar went on to add while he doesn’t agree with “harping” on the issue, he did say the NBA needs to be present in making sure incidents like this are dealt with swiftly.
Watch Kareem Abdul-Jabbar on ABC’s This Week below: