'This Week': Basketball Backlash

Former NBA star Kareem Abdul-Jabbar on the league's actions against Donald Sterling's racist remarks.
6:47 | 05/04/14

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Transcript for 'This Week': Basketball Backlash
Starting right now on "ABC's this week" -- firing back. Is Donald sterling a racist? The mystery woman behind the NBA race scandal breaking her silence. Will Donald sterling be forced to sell? NBA hall of famer Kareem abdul-jabbar joins us live. Smoking gun. The white house releases a secret benghazi e-mail. Republicans call it proof of a coverup. Then, Al Franken in his first Sunday interview. And we're behind the scenes at the white house correspondents' dinner. The house republicans give John Boehner a harder time than they give me. Which means Orange really is the new black. Good morning, everyone. It's a happy one in Los Angeles. Where after a week of chaos and controversy, the clippers came from behind late last night to beat the golden state warriors, keep their playoff hopes alive. Big question now, who will run the team? Will Donald sterling be forced to sell? We're learning this morning that the NBA is poised to name a new clippers CEO. ABC's Ryan smith is tracking it all from L.A. Good morning, Ryan. Reporter: Good morning, George. Clippers fans out in force. Celebrating the team's big win. The team's fortunes are on the rise. The fate of the owner hangs in the balance. After a week of scandal, a moment of celebration for clippers nation. But now, V. Stiviano, the woman at the center of the controversy surrounding clippers owner Donald sterling is speaking out in an exclusive interview with Barbara Walters. Is Donald sterling a racist? No. I don't believe it in my heart. Will he apologize? Only god knows. Reporter: Sterling had been silent since he was banned from the NBA for life this week over his racist remarks caught on tape by stiviano. He broke his silence on Friday. Telling du jour magazine, quote, I wish I had just paid her off. While sterling's offensive remarks may now cost him his team, his history of alleged racial discrimination is in the spotlight. He was sued in 2006 by the justice department for discrimination in minorities in his rental properties. Settling in 2009. Darryl Williams was a former tenant who sued sterling. For forcing him out of his apartment. You will be tricked into being evicted. They all happened to be people of color. Reporter: While sterling's remarks have sparked outrage, recent surveys show discriminatory views are still widespread. Some 28% of white Americans say it's okay to discriminate when selling a home. 40% say whites are more hard-working than blacks. Some see hypocrisy in the backlash over sterling's comments now. His reprehensible comments documented in court about housing discrimination caused zero outrage. But let the man get caught in a private conversation, now we want to get outraged and run him out of basketball. It's a joke. Reporter: On Thursday, an advisory committee of NBA owners met to agree on the process for removing him from ownership. They agreed to move forward as expeditiously as possible. They'll convene again this week to try the move the process forward. George? Okay, Ryan, thanks. Let's bring in one of the greatest NBA players ever, Kareem abdul-jabbar, thank you for coming in. I was struck by this essay you wrote in "Time" magazine. Scathing essay. "Welcome to the finger-wagging olympics." You said everyone acted as if it was a surprise. It should not have been a surprise to anybody who was paying attention to Mr. Sterling over any period of time. You worked with him back in 2000. You coached the clippers. For a bit. Yes. What did you see then? Did you see a racist? No. For the most part, he was gracious. He invited me to his daughter's wedding. I didn't feel that there was any racial animus in the man. Just when I saw what was just portrayed there, how he discriminated against blacks and other minorities, it started to bother me. What do you think the league can do now? We saw Adam silver. You supported the ban. His lifetime ban. But you know sterling a little bit. It appears he's likely to fight this. If past performance is any indication, he'll fight it. And do what -- take whatever legal recourses he has to avoid the sanctions. And, do you think the league can force him out? 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 good chance of keeping him away from the game. What about the underlying issues that Ryan brought up in the piece, that you bring up in your piece? The idea that the -- we have for a long time turned a blind eye to his actions. And that the country has still, is still struggling with lingering racism? This is a problem. I did research. More whites believe in ghosts than believe in racism. That's why we have shows like "Ghostbusters" and not shows like "Racist busters." It's a -- it's something that is 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. Things have to change. I was struck by a piece in the New York times. By Tim Egan. He called sports the most Progressive force in America. If you want to find racial progress, look to the games we play. Sports has been a vanguard. Certainly in the past of promotes racial reconciliation. What more can the NBA do right now? I think all the NBA has to do right now is keep the issue in people's minds when it's appropriate. It's not something you can constantly be harping on. When it's appropriate, they see people doing things that don't line up with how we're supposed to be feeling about things, then people have to speak up. You have to keep your ear. It's like watching the temperature. Somebody gets a temperature, something might be wrong. You have to deal with it quickly. And you spoke up this week. Thank you very much. Pleasure to talk to you.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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