All-Star Panel: President Obama comments on Sterling scandal

Reaction from the 'Special Report' All-Star panel


This is a rush transcript from "Special Report," April 28, 2014. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.


DONALD STERLING, L.A. CLIPPERS OWNER: You're perceived as either a Latina or a white girl. Why should you be walking publicly with black people? Why? Is there a benefit to you...? Why publicize it on the Instagram and why bring it to my games?

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: When ignorant folks want to advertise their ignorance, you don't really have to do anything. You just let them talk. The United States continues to wrestle with the legacy of race, and slavery, and segregation. That's still there, the vestiges of discrimination.


BRET BAIER, ANCHOR: The president talking about the remarks caught on tape of Donald Sterling, the owner of the L.A. Clippers. There is an NBA press conference tomorrow. The NAACP has pulled back lifetime achievement award from 2009 and the other award they were going to give him this year. We are back with the panel. What about this, Steve?

STEVE HAYES, SENIOR WRITER, THE WEEKLY STANDARD: Well, obviously the comments were a complete disgrace. I think the NBA and its owners, pushed by its owners because the commissioner ultimately works for the owners, is going to have to do something and do something serious, not only because it's the right thing to do but also because of the potential ramifications for the league and for the game.

What I think makes this so shocking, at least to me, and I'm just speaking for myself, but you don't hear this kind of talk. I mean, you don't hear it privately. You don't – you certainly don't hear it publicly. And so when you have somebody who makes comments like this, it is so alarming.

The president is right. The United States continues to grapple with those legacies. But, you know, I don't think there many are people left who still talk like this, and I'm grateful for that, but it makes these comments all the more alarming.

BAIER: Juan, we will see what the NBA does tomorrow. Shaq weighed in, said "Should this guy continue to be an owner?" Charles Barkley, "You have got to suspend him and fine him immediately." A number of people weighing in all over the board.

JUAN WILLIAMS, SENIOR EDITOR, THE HILL: Well, the question is, what will the players do? If the players decide that LeBron James, people like that, people with some weight, decide they are not going to allow the league to go forward, boy, that would shock things, because, really, you are not talking about the commissioner. You are talking about the owners as a cabal here. And they don't want to establish a low level in which an owner can be deposed or thrown out.

So the question is, are they willing to understand that Car Max, that State Farm, the other major advertisers that support the National Basketball Association are thinking that this is bad business. And if it's not good business, then I think you are going to see a change.

BAIER: Bill Maher, of all people, said this on Twitter, "Sterling, definitely a racist, but take away his team, Clippers shouldn't have played yesterday? Calm down. Being an explicative is still legal in America."

CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST: It's legal. He's got a First Amendment. But he doesn't have to have a franchise in the NBA. He will be out. He will be suspended for sure, and within months he will not own this team and he shouldn't own this team.

And the president, I think he had it exactly right. The tone he set was right. We have made great progress. I think it's a generational thing. He is 80.  Bundy is 67. Paula Deen, slightly more benign, also 67. I think hopefully this attitude is going to die over time, not entirely, but largely, and that's a good thing.

BAIER: That is it for the panel. But stay tuned for some entertainment stories you may have missed.

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