Laz Alonso Clarifies Comments On Donald Sterling: “I Made A Mistake In Speaking Before I Had All The Facts”
This morning we ran a story on what appeared to be Laz Alonso’s defense of LA Clippers’ owner Donald Sterling, noting that over the weekend the actor had sent out a few side-eye worthy tweets about the 81-year-old’s current racist PR crisis, which read:
“Why r they makin such a big deal about #DonaldSterling?. He was arguing with his girl who was clearly baiting him 2 say those things @clippers … In arguments of passion & despair people say horrible things they dont truly feel @clippers @ESPNLosAngeles #DonaldSterling … Making racial comments when either #roadraging or #arguing with a lover does not count!!! #Relax #emotions #passion @NBA @ESPNLosAngeles … Everybody acts holier than thou until u do the same. Dude was feeling insecure. End of story.”
We weren’t the only ones who had a “what you talkin’ ’bout Willis” sort of reaction to Laz’s comments, but today the star reached out to us to clarify his remarks and help us better understand the perspective he was coming from and where he currently stands on the Sterling debacle now that he has all the facts. Check out the convo below:
Can you clarify your initial tweet questioning why people were making a big deal about Sterling?
“I made a mistake in speaking before I had all of the facts. First of all, I didn’t know any of Donald Sterling’s history prior to me tweeting that and that was my mistake. Had I known all of the history that this guy has, as far as racial discrimination and real estate discrimination, then that would’ve totally changed the way that I heard the conversation.
“At the time, when I tweeted that only part of the phone call had come out. I listened to the entire tape last night and the things that were said were disgusting. The part that I was tweeting about was specifically related to the pictures that he wanted her to take down and what I heard was a man who is extremely powerful and extremely wealthy, and old, and no matter how much money he has on the planet, he cannot get [his young girlfriend] to stop doing something that he’s trying to control. He thinks she’s one of his possessions.”
“The point that I was trying to make was that it sounds like an insecure, over-controlling, wealthy dude who is heartbroken and is trying to control this young girl and he can’t. And another thing that I heard is a man who is tremendously intimidated by Black men because no matter how much money he has he knows that his old behind can’t do what the guys in the pictures that she’s taking them with, and is obviously attracted to, can do. He’s trying desperately to give her everything under the world to make her obey, but he can’t control her. I heard desperation, and within that desperation, I heard an insecurity to black men, and racism, but at the core of what we were listening to was a man who was insecure and powerless, regardless of how much money he has. That’s what I was attempting to get at, not defend a person that I don’t know and I have no invested interest in.
“I did not know this guy’s back story before I spoke and I should’ve. I can admit that there were some tweets that could’ve been better thought out before I started a debate.”
What disciplinary action would you like to see taken in response to Sterling’s comments?
“I’ve never seen an owner disciplined. Fining, I think, is a slap on the wrist because he has so much money. What can you fine a billionaire that’s in the late years of his life? He’s fine; he’ll keep it moving. I think if the NBA truly ran the business as what they call them, which is franchises — if any franchisee breaks their franchise agreement with a corporation, then they can get their licensee agreement taken from them. The only thing I think the NBA can truly do to make a statement is to take away the Clippers franchise from him. A fine is something he would gladly pay and continue to be racist.”
Do you think the Clippers players should be responding differently?
“When people talk about players and actor and athletes, they have to also think about themselves. If you found out that your boss was racist, would you quit? People expect this dramatic action by the players and I get it. That’s their Muhammad Ali moment, but take it back to yourself. Most people know if their boss is racist or not and they continue to deal with it. I can’t point the finger at the Clippers players and say they did enough or they didn’t do enough. I believe that, like Magic Johnson said, ‘you guys’ fight is on the basketball court. Let us handle this. We’re handling this fight.’ Whatever it is that Magic is doing behind the scenes is going to handle this.”