Why is Sterling’s ‘Racist’ Wife Getting a Pass?

by Greg Pollowitz

Donald Sterling’s wife, Shelly, has her own issues. Via Talking Points Memo:

On Sunday, two days after an audio recording of Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling making racist comments was released online, his wife, Rochelle Sterling, told ESPN she didn’t condone the statements.

“I’m not a racist,” she said. “Never have been, never will be.”

On Tuesday, The Los Angeles Times reported on court documents that undercut that assertion.

During a 2009 deposition, a tenant in one of the Sterling’s apartment buildings accused Rochelle Sterling of once calling him a “black m—f—” during a discussion.

“I asked her again, I asked her, ‘would you reduce the rent?’” Darrell Rhodes said in the deposition, according to the Times. “And she said, ‘who do you think you are, you black m—f—.’”

Rhodes sued the Sterlings in federal court in 2007, accusing the couple of discriminatory behavior. His case was ultimately part of a $2.765 million settlement reached in 2009 between the Sterlings, the Justice Department, and other Sterling tenants, according to the Times. As part of the deal, the Sterlings did not admit any wrongdoing.

If we apply the same standard to Shelly as Donald, shouldn’t she be banned from the games, too? 

But she’s not. She even has the support of Clippers’ coach Doc Rivers who reportedly told her to attend Game 5 against the Warriors as well as his public support of her after the game:

“It’s a tough one for Shelly [Sterling], really,” Clippers coach Doc Rivers said following a 113-103 Game 5 victory over the Golden State Warriorson Tuesday. “She didn’t do anything wrong either. You have compassion for her. I kept hearing about the girlfriend. I kept thinking, ‘Shelly is the wife.’ You know what I mean? I talked to her [Tuesday] and she has been through as much as anyone as well.”

We’ll see how long that lasts, however, as Doc was made aware of Shelly’s past by a reporter for the Los Angeles Daily News:

It’s more complicated than Shelly’s past issues, too. Shelly was seen in public with her husband after the story broke and after she publicly condemned his comments. A TMZ reporter who captured the couple leaving a restaurant asked her if she thought her husband was a racist. She “loudly” answered, “of course not.” 

So over to you, NBA. Time to ban Shelly for life, too. You know, to be fair.