Actor Laz Alonso shocked the Twitterverse when he tweeted in defense of Donald Sterling, the owner of the LA Clippers who was allegedly caught on tape telling his biracial girlfriend not to bring Black people to his games.
While dozens of celebrities have spoken out publicly against Sterling for the racist comments that were attributed to him over the weekend, Alonso took to Twitter to defend the Clippers owner before later retracting his statement.
He now admits that he didn’t hear the entire tape before he tweeted in Sterling’s defense.
His initial statement on Twitter on Saturday was: “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.”
Another tweet read, “In arguments of passion & despair people say horrible things they don’t truly feel @clippers @ESPNLosAngeles #DonaldSterling… Making racial comments when either #roadraging or #arguing with a lover does not count!!!!! #Relax #emotions #passion @NBA @ESPNLosAngeles.”
He went on to say that Sterling was feeling insecure about his girlfriend taking pictures with another man, and that’s all he was guilty of.
But after hearing the entire tape and being on the receiving end of some particularly vicious Twitter attacks, Alonso has had a serious change of heart.
In an interview with MadameNoire, Alonso explained why his tweets were misguided and ill informed.
“I made a mistake in speaking before I had all of the facts,” he said. “First of all, I didn’t know any of Donald Sterling’s history prior to me tweeting that, and that was my mistake…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.”
When asked how he thought Sterling should be disciplined, Alonso said that fining him would be nothing more than a slap on the wrist.
Instead, he shared the same sentiments as the Rev. Al Sharpton, Heat star LeBron James and many others: Sterling should no longer be a part of the NBA.
“What can you fine a billionaire that’s in the late years of life?” Alonso said. “He’s fine; he’ll keep it moving…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.”
As for the players on the team, Alonso said he understands that an all-out strike is not the most practical reaction.
“When people talk about players and actors and athletes, they have to also think about themselves,” he explained. “If you found out that your boss was racist, would you quit? People expect this dramatic action by the players and I get it…Most people know if their boss is racist or not, and they continue to deal with it.”
He also agreed with what basketball legend Magic Johnson had to say to the Clippers players.
Johnson’s message for the NBA ballers was: “You guys’ fight is on the basketball court. Let us handle this. We’re handling this fight.”
There is no word out just yet on Sterling’s future with the NBA, but commissioner Adam Silver is scheduled to hold a press conference on Tuesday in New York City to address the ongoing investigation of Sterling’s remarks.