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Why isn't Donald Sterling's history of sexism getting more attention?

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Danny Moloshok/AP

In this Dec. 19, 2010, file photo, Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling, right, and V. Stiviano, left, watch the Clippers play the Los Angeles Lakers during an NBA preseason basketball game in Los Angeles. NBA Commissioner Adam Silver is intent on moving quickly in dealing with the racially charged scandal surrounding Clippers owner Sterling. The NBA league will discuss its investigation Tuesday, April 29, 2014, before the Clippers play Golden State in Game 5 of their playoff series.

Donald Sterling's history of racism has been thrust into the spotlight since a taped conversation attributed to him were obtained by TMZ and Deadspin. But there are many allegations that show he also has a long history of sexism, too. 

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A 2012 report by ESPN’s Peter Keating, Amanda Younger, and Alyssa Roenick, detailed just how little Sterling thinks of women. A 1996 lawsuit against Sterling by a female former employee alleges that he “touched her in ways that made her uncomfortable and asked her to visit friends of his for sex.”

In a 2003 lawsuit against a woman named Alexandra Castro, Sterling testified that he regularly paid Castro for sex and that, “When you pay a woman for sex, you are not together with her…You're paying her for a few moments to use her body for sex." There are also allegations that he's asked female employees to find him masseuses that are willing to give him sexual favors. 

Though much of the most current controversy — for very good reason — is focused on the racism behind his comments to ex-girlfriend V. Stiviano, there is also a healthy dose of sexism there, too. Should we have a similar level of outrage at his treatment of women?

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"I don't think any of us should be surprised that racism will trump sexism in almost any conversation in the media," said USA Today sports writer Christine Brennan on Take Two. "As a sports nation, we do not care as much about what happens to women as we do about what happens to men…and the reprehensible statements of an owner of one of the NBA teams."

Brennan cites Don Imus's calling the Rutgers women's basketball team "nappy headed hos" as the test case for where our outrage for sexism stands when racism is also a factor. 

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"What became the focus? The racial aspect and not the latter part of that statement and even worse the denigrating comments for women," said Brennan. "That Don Imus situation was both things, racism and sexism…we focus almost exclusively as a nation on the racial part of that statement and that says it all..Women are second-class citizens in sports in a way that is still alarming in 2014."


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