Obama: Reported comments by team owner 'racist'

Published on NewsOK Modified: April 27, 2014 at 9:23 am •  Published: April 27, 2014
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KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) — President Barack Obama said Sunday that comments reportedly made by the owner a U.S. pro basketball team are "incredibly offensive racist statements," before casting them as part of a continuing legacy of slavery and segregation that Americans must confront.

"When ignorant folks want to advertise their ignorance, you don't really have to do anything, you just let them talk," Obama said when asked to respond to the reported comments from Los Angeles Clippers' owner Donald Sterling.

Obama's description of the controversy as part of a larger historical context is the latest example of his continuing willingness to expound on matters of race in his second term.

After avoiding much mention of race relations during his campaign to become the first black president and in his first term, the president last summer offered a personal reflection in response to the shooting of black teenager Trayvon Martin. And now Obama has spoken out against an audio recording of a man identified as Sterling telling his girlfriend not to bring black people to games.

The firestorm over Sterling's comments has quickly engulfed the National Basketball Association.

Obama cast the comments through a broader prism of racism in America, adding that "we constantly have to be on guard on racial attitudes that divide us rather than embracing our diversity as a strength."

"The United States continues to wrestle with the legacy of race and slavery and segregation, that's still there, the vestiges of discrimination," Obama said during a news conference in Malaysia, where he was traveling.

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