For the last 24 hours, owner of the Los Angeles Clippers, Donald Sterling has owned the news cycle.

Audio from a phone call he had with a girlfriend at the time was released by TMZ. On the recording, you can hear Sterling telling his girlfriend that he doesn’t want her taking pictures with “minorities,” and don’t bring any to his games. He referenced several times his “culture” and how it prevents him from being able to socialize with people of color in public and he wanted her to abide by the same rules. That also meant her denying his background, Mexican and Black.

Since the world got the chance to hear how Sterling really feels, many have spoken out about Stern. From Lebron James and Kobe Bryant, to Los Angeles legend Magic Johnson, who was mentioned on the recording several times.

There has been any opinions written and said about what Sterling’s punishment should be. While NBA commissioner Adam Silver takes his time to decide how the league will deal with Sterling, we at would like to take a lot at some other athletes who sounded off rather than be silent when a political or social issue hit close to home


The Miami Heat’s tribute to Trayvon Martin 

Florida teen  Trayvon Martin became the face for racial injustice when he was killed by alleged neighborhood vigilante George Zimmerman. Zimmerman claimed that he shot Martin dead in self-defense.

Before the lengthy trial where Zimmerman would be found not guilty, many celebrities leant their face to bring to light to racial injustice and the legal system in Florida. To surprise of many, the Miami Heat team got together and donned hoodies in honor of Trayvon.


The act was met with praise for the most part. Many saw that it took courage for the multi-millionaires to wear a cause on their sleeve like that. Especially when most athletes would worried about how making such a statement would affect potential endorsements.

Not everybody was in agreement that what the Heat did was honorable. Kobe Bryant made a comment in an interview the New Yorker that he didn’t see why it was needed.

Phoenix Suns become “Los Suns”

In 2010, the state of Arizona passed a new immigration law that was to stop rampant illegal immigration across their state.  The law was passed with strong bipartisan support and was modeled on existing federal immigration statutes.

Not everybody in the state was a fan.

Phoenix Suns ower, Robert Sarver thought the law to be racially insensitive.  In response he used his team to make a political statement.


The Suns occasionally wore jerseys which said, Los Suns on them.

On May 5th, 2010 in a playoff game against the San Antonio Spurs, Sarver had the team wear the jerseys in protest of the new immigration law.

The team took a stand during a time when millions of eyes would’ve been on the game.


Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf’ and the National Anthem 


When Mahmoud Abdul Rauf decided not to salute the American flag while the national anthem played was a huge topic of discussion back 1996. Rauf, who had converted to Islam while in the NBA, angered many who called what he did disrespectful.

He would later explain that he had not placed his hand on his heart and while the National Anthem played many times before the game where he was caught doing it. His reason for not saluting the flag had to do with the U.S. and their treatment of Muslims across the world.

Then NBA commissioner Daniel Stern didn’t agree. He suspended Rauf for a game.

The two would come to an agreement and Rauf would be allowed to not salute the flag if he agreed to standing while the anthem played. He would say a prayer silently while it played.

The stand, was a personal win for Rauf, but a professional nightmare. He would play just 3 more seasons in the NBA.

Derrick Rose and his tears for Chicago 

When Derrick Rose teared up during a press conference in 2012, many people wondered what he was so hurt about? At the time, Chicago was turning into the violent war-zone that it is now. Murders were on the rise and gangs were beginning to have more impact on the community than any other entity. To add insult to injury, the one place that should be a safe place for children, school, was in the midst of drama.

Rose, growing up in Chicago knows the situation far too well. So when he was asked about his new shoe contract with adidas and what the $250 million dollars meant to him, all he could do was cry. He spoke about the teacher’s strike in Chicago, the gang violence and how he could be one of the many lives lost in Chicago if it wasn’t for the teachers in his life.

Bill Russell and his life after basketball

Bill Russell is known to hard-core basketball fans as the games best winner of all-time. Russell won 11 rings as a player and coach. He’s also won back to back NCAA championships and an olympic gold medal. Than man at every possible level.

Getty Images

Getty Images

He also won at being the bigger person. While not as vocal as others, Russell stood strong in the face of fans and players who would berate him as he played. He’s often spoke about the abuse he’s felt at the hands of Boston fans for years as a player and coach.

Russell took that anger he would feel while on the court and use it to help others.

He’s been noted as one the first high-profile figures to refer to himself as “black.” His interest in black culture led him to invest in a rubber plantation in the former freed-slave colony of Liberia.

It’s good to see that the spirit of protest and standing up for your beliefs hasn’t fallen all the way to the wayside when it comes to athletes. They did have some great examples to study.

Sources: ESPN, News One, Bleacher Report