(CBS News) Below is a transcript from the May 4, 2014 edition of Face the Nation. Guests included Eric Garcetti, Richard Williams, Lindsay Graham, Clarissa Ward, James Brown, William Rhoden, Ruth Marcus, Michael Eric Dyson, Michele Norris, and Ta-Nehisi Coates.
BOB SCHIEFFER: And good morning, again. Well, there are new developments in the Donald Sterling controversy and they are positive ones for a team that's trying to put this scandal behind them. Last night, the NBA announced they were starting the search for a new CEO and Sterling's wife, Shellie, issued a statement expressing her support for the NBA's punishment and their takeover of the Clippers.
Miss Sterling is the co-owner of the team. There is no comment so far from Sterling who has remained out of sight except to tell the magazine, Du Jour, "I wish I had just paid her off." He is, of course, referring to his associate V. Stiviano who he made the racist remarks to. Miss Stiviano sat down with ABC News' Barbara Walters for an interview that aired Friday.
BOB SCHIEFFER: The Clippers, meantime, defeated the Golden State Warriors last night and advanced to the next round of the NBA playoffs. And we begin this morning with the mayor of Los Angeles-- Eric Garcetti. I guess I'd ask you first, Mr. Mayor, your reaction to Shellie Sterling's statement.
MAYOR ERIC GARCETTI: Well, we're proud of this league, prouder perhaps of the Clippers last night after a great victory. But I'm very proud of this country, and certainly support what that statement represents. I think all of us recognize that the kind of wildfire racism in America has been put out, but there's smothering embers. And this is an example of it. And to speak out with one voice forcefully and the move towards the transition and a takeover of this team is all about, you know, restoring Los Angeles to what this city represents, diversity, tolerance and the fight against racism.
BOB SCHIEFFER: Well, do you have any idea what Sterling himself is going to do? He's saying nothing. Do you think he's going to try to fight this?
MAYOR ERIC GARCETTI: My sense is that he will. I don't believe that he thinks they will impose the sort of penalties that they've said that they will. I spoke with him a few days ago, urged him to apologize to my city and our city which he says he loves and to move towards transitioning the team and restoring, you know, the luster of a team that has Los Angeles on its jersey.
BOB SCHIEFFER: Well, what if he does fight this thing? What will you, as the mayor, do?
MAYOR ERIC GARCETTI: I'll continue the pressure, to look at the fans, the sponsors, the players to try to help Don Sterling move forward. I think he needs to recognize what he said, what's in his heart. But Los Angeles is not represented by those statements. I mean, we're at a place that has Jackie Robinson, that had Magic Johnson, Jason Collins comes from Los Angeles. We've always pushed forward to the life of tolerance and Don Sterling certainly doesn't represent my city.
BOB SCHIEFFER: Well, when you talked to him, what did he tell you? Can you share that with us?
MAYOR ERIC GARCETTI: Well, I think that he thinks that he's going to be the owner for a long time, that he wants to stay the owner. And I said, "This will be a long, protracted fight and a painful thing for our city that is a great city, great American city." America stood up against the racist remarks that we heard, and I think it was a brave step forward for the country. He needs to be a part of that healing. To fight this for a long time only means the value of the team goes down. But more importantly, the debate rages on forever and I think we need to put an end to it.
BOB SCHIEFFER: Well, did you get any sense that he knows he fouled up here? Does he have any sense of remorse? Or what is his attitude?
MAYOR ERIC GARCETTI: I think he believes in his heart that he's a very good person. And as I said to him, "Nobody is so simple that we only do good things or only bad things." Clearly there's good organizations he's given to in the past. There's things that he's done of a civic nature.
But these statements are what they are. To say that you don't want somebody's black friends coming to a basketball game, a league with 70% African-American in the most diverse city on the face of the earth, the most welcoming place probably in human history, is just incongruous with who we are as Americans and certainly as Angelinos.
BOB SCHIEFFER: Well, do you think he understands how all this came off? I mean, is he living in some world that nobody else knows about?
MAYOR ERIC GARCETTI: I think it's a very good description. I think he is very proud of his journey. It's kind of part of the American dream to come from nothing into (UNINTEL) billionaire. But I don't believe he realizes what the sting of those remarks are (UNINTEL) folks who have overcome so much, to be African-American in this country and still face similar racism, to recognize in 2014 that somebody might try to keep somebody away from a basketball game based on the color of their skin, I don't think he gets that.
BOB SCHIEFFER: Let me just ask you this. Let's say that somehow, some way he manages to keep this team, what do you think the players will do? Do you think anybody will play for this team?
MAYOR ERIC GARCETTI: I think it's going to be very tough for them to stay there. I mean, they've been very good. Doc Rivers, who's become a good friend over this last week, and Kevin Johnson who, a fellow mayor and the two of us had a press conference in Los Angeles, I think the players really are the ones that have the burden on this. And they aren't going to want to play for somebody knowing that the money that they're generating for that individual goes into the certain attitude that (UNINTEL).
BOB SCHIEFFER: Would you tell people to boycott the games if in fact he winds up with this team?
MAYOR ERIC GARCETTI: I would certainly keep that arrow in my quiver. I want to feel Los Angeles, but we're a great sports town. I mean, we have two basketball teams, but we're certainly feeling like one team these days, all behind the Clippers. And we want to (UNINTEL) of our city in the best light, not one individual who would besmirch (UNINTEL).
BOB SCHIEFFER: Just a little while ago I spoke to CBS News special correspondent and host of the NFL Today, James Brown. Mr. Mayor, I want to thank you. I asked him if the NBA does have the power to take this team from Sterling.
JAMES BROWN: The big question is whether or not there's a legal leg to stand on. I would think, much like private clubs, there is a code of conduct and agreement amongst those private owners, if you will. They have, they being the subcommittee of ten, and Adam Silver the commissioner, they have the number of votes to try to make it happen. My question is, is there a legal leg to stand on?
BOB SCHIEFFER: Well let's just say, what if they can't force him out? What will the players do?
JAMES BROWN: I think the players made it perfectly clear, in as much as they were going to boycott, if in fact nothing had been done to this nature, to the degree that Adam Silver has done, the commissioner of the NBA that no free agent would go and sign to play with the Los Angeles Clippers. That's still very much on the table.
BOB SCHIEFFER: What do you think the impact will be on the city of Los Angeles?
JAMES BROWN: You know what; Los Angeles has dealt with an awful lot. I think it would be very hurtful to the city if in fact the right resolution isn't put in place, and that is an effective end to what the NBA is attempting to do. I'm more concerned from a big picture standpoint, Bob, hoping that this will force meaningful conversation, not in homogenous groups, but with inclusive and diverse groups to really get the core of this. This continues to be the third rail of American politics, from my humble perspective, and it's sickening that this has been going on this long and prudent folks, intelligent folks; mature folks can't have a meaningful dialogue objective.
BOB SCHIEFFER: How deep does racism run? You know for one thing, there are, well I guess 75 percent of the players or nearly that many, three quarters of them, in the NBA are African American, yet there's only one black majority owner. Do you see, we have now a lot of celebrities including Oprah, who says maybe she might try to buy this ball club, if it comes up for sale. How important would it be to basketball to have a minority ownership of this team?
JAMES BROWN: Oh it would be pretty significant and you'd like to see it across the major sports, period. Across the three major sports, for sure, where there's a large population. You know it's, many people, I think, and I use this word advisedly are colored by the fact that there are so many African American players who are making humongous salaries and people use income as maybe the most weighty factor to determine whether or not racism exists. That's not the case. It's in the heart. And it's also justified by the numbers that you just quoted. Till we see more representation, across the board, at the decision-making levels, ownership levels, we truly haven't made the kind of progress that we'd like to make because I firmly believe out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks. And what Mr. Sterling spoke really colored and influenced the decisions that he's made with his organization and certainly reflective across a number of sports organizations.
BOB SCHIEFFER: You mentioned this briefly talking about a serious dialogue, but what would you like to see happen now? Where does all this go?
JAMES BROWN: It would be nice if in the public square, you could have more discussions like you're having today and with the all guest panel you're putting together to discuss this, but not just discussions but to see something meaningful result from it, to the degree that you talked about the dearth of minority ownership at the professional sports league level. You'll know that there's been progress when those numbers have been improved substantially. Don't be fooled by the numbers, which reflect progress in terms of the number of African American players in the NBA, two thirds in the NFL, but the real progress is in the front office and at the ownership levels. And until you see that take place, we're going to continue to see these kinds of situations percolate, whether it's at one end of the spectrum with Mr. Cliven Bundy in Nevada, or whether it's a Donald Sterling at the NBA ownership level.
BOB SCHIEFFER: Alright JB. Well thank you so much.
JAMES BROWN: Thank you so much, Bob.
'll come back to the topic of race in America with our panel later in the broadcast. So, don't go away.
BOB SCHIEFFER: And we want to go now to Clemson, South Carolina where Republican Senator Lindsay Graham is standing by. And Senator, I want to talk to you about the story that just won't seem to go away, and that is this controversy over Benghazi. I want to talk to you about the email that came to light this week that touched off the new fury on the Republican side over Benghazi.
It was written by Ben Rhodes, a key national security advisor to the president, also in full disclosure mode, we have to say he is the brother of David Rhodes, who is the president of CBS News. But anyway, this email involves talking points that Mr. Rhodes put together for U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice who famously went on the Sunday shows, including this one, right after the Benghazi attack that killed four Americans.
And she said it was a result of a spontaneous demonstration and not a terrorist attack. But the quote from the talking points that Republicans have seized on is, those talking points advised Rice to quote, "underscore that these protests are rooted in an Internet video and not a broader failure of policy."
This email only came to light this week following a lawsuit. It was not sent to congress as part of the continuing investigations up there. And you've called it a smoking gun. Senator, a smoking gun of what?
SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM: Well, I think a couple things. Twenty months after the attack, the most important thing really is that it required an independent judiciary to present this email to the American people. If it were up to the White House, you would have never known about this email.
Congress subpoenaed all documents relating to Benghazi in August, and 20 months later they're hiding things. I mean, they say this email doesn't matter. These are the same people that tried to hide it. What does it matter? Well, this is the messaging email. They're trying to prepare Susan Rice for a Sunday TV appearance.
This email was on Friday, the 14th of September, three days after the attack. She was goin' on all five shows on Sunday. And what was the purpose of this email? To protect the White House politically from the damage that could've been done from the truth coming out about Benghazi, six, seven weeks before the election. To underscore it wasn't a foreign policy failure, that a protest caused by a video, and the consulate itself was strongly, substantially and significantly secured.
They were trying to create an impression to the American people that this wasn't a broader foreign policy failure and it was totally disconnected from reality on the ground. They were trying to protect the President's re-election. They saw Benghazi, I think, Bob, as a threat to his re-election. It wasn't a fog of war problem they had. They created a political smoke screen.
BOB SCHIEFFER: Well, you actually said at one point that they were lying to the American people. What specifically-- what was the lie?
SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM: Well, that the consulate was strongly, substantially and significantly secured. A couple things I would like somebody to explain to me. Who told Susan Rice that this consulate before the attack was strongly, significantly and substantially secured? It was a death trap. On 16 August there was a memo coming from Libya to Washington saying, "We can't withstand a coordinated terrorist attack at the Benghazi consulate because the Al Qaeda flag is flying." Additional numerous requests for security were denied in Washington to the point that the head of security in Libya said he believed the Taliban were working in Washington. Who told her the level of security?
BOB SCHIEFFER: Well--
SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM: That's a lie. It wasn't secure.
BOB SCHIEFFER: You're saying that's just a lie. That--
SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM: That was a lie.
BOB SCHIEFFER: That everybody knew that.
SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM: Right. And it's a lie that the video caused the protest. The CIA said they never associated the video with the demonstration. Who told the White House that the video was the causal event here? Who told Susan Rice that the video caused the protest when the CIA said they never said that?
BOB SCHIEFFER: Well--
SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM: Where did the White House get this from?
BOB SCHIEFFER: As you well know, critics on the other side are saying that Republicans are just using this for political politics, that this is just all politics. It's been investigated and investigated, and now Speaker Boehner is going to have yet another investigation. What do you say in response to that?
SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM: I would say that if it weren't for an independent judiciary we would never know about this email, that clearly demonstrates the White House tried to shift the story away from a coordinated terrorist attack of an unsecured facility to a video that caused a protest of a strongly secured facility that they really couldn't be held responsible to.
I would say to anybody who believes that this is just about politics, "Go tell that to the family members. Go explain to the family members how it's okay for the White House to withhold information from the congress and the American people." And thank God for an independent judiciary.
Go tell the family members that it's okay for Susan Rice to get on national TV five days after the attack and claim that the facility where their people died, where their loved ones died, were strongly secured when it was a death trap. And explain to the families this video Internet story that helped the President's re-election was so far from the truth it makes you mad.
So anybody plays politics with Benghazi is going to get burned. So if we're playing politics with Benghazi, then we'll get burned. If our Democratic friends are shielding the administration and trying to protect them and the administration tried to protect themselves, their re-election because they couldn't stand the truth about Benghazi, then they'll get burned.
BOB SCHIEFFER: Let me shift the subject just a little bit. I want to ask you about Ukraine. We'll be going there later in the broadcast to talk to Clarissa Ward for all the latest. But to say the least, things are very dicey there. It seems to be even more dangerous. Should we be doing something that we're not doing now? What's your advice to the administration right now?
SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM: Well, 1) the Ukraine has been dismembered. The election of May 25 cannot go forward. Putin has successfully dismembered the Ukraine and even special forces and intelligence agents could disrupt the Ukraine. I fear now that there will be a civil war.
What the administration should do is punish Putin for what he has done in an effective way. The last round of sanctions, the ruble went up in value. The Russian stock market surged. It should've been called the Russian economic recovery act.
What I would do if I was the administration, I would sanction the energy economy of Russia, the banking system of Russia and try to drive the Russian economy into the ground. And I would have armed the Ukrainian people, no American troops on the ground, so they could defend themselves. I would change the cost benefit analysis.
I would go after Putin's economy and if Russian people are happy with Putin, make them pay a price. President Obama is delusional about what's going on in Ukraine that affects our national security all over the world.
BOB SCHIEFFER: All right, well, Senator Graham, we thank you for getting your take this morning. And we'll be back in a minute. I'll have some thoughts on last night's White House Correspondents Dinner.
VIDEO CLIP NOT TRANSCRIBED
Bob Schieffer: We are going to turn now to the increasingly volatile situation in Ukraine. CBS News foreign correspondent joins us from Donetsk, Clarissa.
Clarissa Ward: Good morning, Bob. Well there has been sporadic fighting across parts of Eastern Ukraine as the military continues with its offensive to try to take back towns that have fallen under the control of pro-Russian rebels. So far it is not really clear how successful this offensive has been but certainly we are seeing the rhetoric growing stronger, both sides talking about war and we've seen the violence spill into new parts of the country, there were fierce clashes in the southern eastern port city of Odessa, those left more than 40 people dead and this was a city that up until recently really had largely been calm.
Bob Schieffer: Clarissa you had a very scary moment on Friday you were arrested by pro-Russian militants, you were blindfolded, one of your crew was beaten. Do you know who these people were who took you. Were they Russians?
Clarissa Ward: Well, Bob, the men who took us appeared to be predominantly young men from local villages but really it is so hard to tell and I think this is something that is sometimes lost on people just how fluid the lines are between Ukraine and Russia in this part of the country. Many Russians moved to Ukraine, many Ukrainians are born here and then go back to Russia. Russians and Ukrainians marry each other, they speak the same language. Many older Ukrainians have even served in the Soviet and Russian army so this really isn't a black or white situation on the ground, particularly in this part of the country.
SCHIEFFER: All right, Clarissa Ward. Well, thank you.
And we're going to turn back now to our discussion of the impact of the Sterling controversy in terms of race relations in America. Joining us now NPR's Michele Norris, Ta-Nehisi Coates who writes about race and culture for The Atlantic. And we welcome him to the broadcast. We're also joined by Georgetown university's Michael Eric Dyson, and Ruth Marcus, columnist for the Washington Post and Bill Rhoden who is the sports columnist of New York Times.
And, Bill, let me just start with you. Because I think as we were hearing from the mayor this morning, it looks like Sterling may try to just stick this thing out. His wife says that she's willing to go along with the NBA.
Is your sense he's going to fight this thing?
BILL RHODEN, NEW YORK TIMES: I knew that from day one. There is going to be a lot of blood on the street. If you don't think -- I mean, this guy didn't get to be a billionaire and owner by being a pushover. This is going to be a bloody fight, a bloodless bloody fight. If you think that he's going to give his franchise easily, and particularly right now the worst thing in the world for him, because the Clippers now have become -- you know they may well go to the NBA finals. That will kill him more than any punishment there could be -- so just lay back. And I think that a lot of the owners, if you know, there are a lot of the owners after saying hip-hip-hurray on Tuesday have started to rethink this. Wait a minute, what does this -- what implications does this have for me?
So, I think that we're going to have a long fight, which I think is good.
SCHIEFFER: Why do you think that's good?
RHODEN: Well, I think it's good, because we are having this conversation. You know, my fear is that as soon as the playoffs are over, a lot of people want it to be over. As soon as -- the minute the Clippers are eliminated, this conversation is going to be over.
And it's so funny that a sports team -- once again, because remember a few months ago we were taking about Incognito and bullying. So here we are right back some of some sports issue, and very interesting dynamic, where you have got a whole lot of young, African- American men controlled or paid by a lot of white rich billionaires which really hits a button in this country.
So I want to -- I wish they could play until next September.
SCHIEFFER: Why do you -- I'd be interested, why do you all think it took so long, apparently this guy has got quite a record. I mean...
MICHAEL ERIC DYSON, GEORGETOWN UNIVERSITY: Right -- well I think, look, it's difficult to prove implicit racism or comments made in private that don't necessarily bleed to the public, although we know that he settled a pretty large lawsuit.
But to really move the needle on race in that regard by holding somebody accountable means that usually has to flare up in the situation that has occurred now. Because people say well race is a card, you know, people play the race card. It's not a card, it's a condition, more likely a continuum. And I see a relationship between what Paul Ryan says when he talks about inner-city people who are urban with all the code words being articulated and the kind of Cliven Bundy expression to the Donald Sterling. Only when there is a kind of conflagration and there's a flash point do we then galvanize our energies either pro or con. And we begin to talk about what's happening here.
So I think Donald Sterling has never been held accountable in quite this public a fashion.
SCHIEFFER: You know, Michelle, what struck me about all this is that this is on the 50th anniversary of the signing of the 1964 civil rights bill. I don't think there's any question whatsoever that we've come a long way since that day. But is this some aberration or is this a symptom of something that runs deep in American society?
MICHELLE NORRIS, NPR: Oh, it's a symptom. And it's the anniversary of Brown V. Board decision. We're coming up on a lot of big anniversaries. I'm not surprised that it happened in the arena of sports, because in many ways sports often pushes this conversation because of the sort of ideas of fairness attached. You are supposed to win clean and play fair.
So I do think this is symptomatic and it's interesting because Mr. Silver took us to an interesting place. He did not punish Donald Silver (sic) for what he did or for what he said in public, he basically punished him for what he believes and then that makes us all think about things because I actually collect race cards from people.
I collect six-word thoughts on race. And I travel across the country. And in private spaces, if someone says, don't bring that person back home. OK, that's a little bit different than what Donald Sterling said, but they're talking about their private beliefs and their private spaces.
You know, please keep with your own kind, you know, those kinds of things. You -- people, if you are really honest those are the kinds of things that often sometimes we know it happens to some degree, that people sometimes say in their private spaces about people who don't look like them, people who don't share their religion, people who don't share their zip code.
SCHIEFFER: What is your thought on this?
TA-NEHISI COATES, THE ATANTIC: Well, I think that Michelle is exactly right. It has to be a symptom. I don't know how it can't be a symptom. We had 250 years of slavery in this country, after that we had hundred years of terrorism, Jim Crowe, denial of people, right to vote, the thieving of property and all other sorts of evils. And then over the past 50 or so years we've made some halting progress, real progress but halting progress along the way.
The expectation that all that have goes away is something I've never understood about the conversation we have. I don't know why anybody is necessarily surprised that an 80-year-old man thinks that it's shameful to have his girlfriend appear around black men. There's a long history of blackness as being a mark of shame you know among a group of people. The idea that that will immediately go away because we passed some very significant laws 50 years ago and have been fighting this ever since I think is a little naive.
SCHIEFFER: You know, Ruth Marcus, it's not just his feeling toward minorities, but kind of his treatment of women. IO mean this whole idea of this woman, V. whatever her name is...
RUTH MARCUS, THE WASHINGTON POST: V. Stiviano.
SCHIEFFER: V. Stiviano. I just play to play one little clip of what she told Barbara Walters the other day.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARBARA WALTERS, ABC NEWS ANCHOR: Can you tell me what you're relationship with Donald Sterling is? V. STIVIANO, DONALD STERLING'S GIRLFRIEND: I'm Mr. Sterling's right hand arm -- man. I'm Mr. Sterling's everything. I'm his confidante, his best friend, his silly rabbit.
WALTERS: His what?
STIVIANO: His silly rabbit.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHIEFFER: Your reaction.
This -- race is the main event here, but there is the most fascinating and kind of repelling sexual gender subplot going on. And this videotape is just evidence that piece of the story, as with the other, just gets creepier and creepier.
She's his silly rabbit. Come on.
SCHIEFFER: What is a silly rabbit?
MARCUS: I just -- you know, they have a weird symbiotic relationship that somehow has managed to outlast the incredible -- I mean, nobody deserves it more than Donald Sterling but what a betrayal to take these private audio tapes and somehow they get out in to public. She says she wasn't the agent of it, but she did do the tape.
DYSON: What's interesting is that that psycho sexual jealousy is there, I think has been alluded to, but you know, I don't want -- it's just like with rappers who are mad at video vixen girls who in there -- nobody made you do it.
Well, when we look at her, this -- these are the cards handed to her. So, you know, having been a pastor, sometimes people exercise power strategically, institutionally, and sometimes they do it through rumor. So powerless people use what's at stake and what she has are words collected, items of thought, belief, sentiment, and passion, that may have consequence in public. Because it's not simply his personal belief, it's the fact that his personal belief led him to deny Latino and African-American people housing, that's an empirical proof of a privately held existential belief.
SCHIEFFER: And I understand there are lots and lots and lots of these tapes?
MARCUS: He says there is hundred or so, because at some point we're all reduced to relying on TMZ as our source here, but that she has -- she was his archivist and that he -- she suggested at one point was...
SCHIEFFER: He wants all this kept?
MARCUS: He was beginning to forget -- beginning to forget that he... DYSON: Richard Nixon meets...
MARCUS: So it was her job to tape him.
NORRIS: Which is important, because that implies consent.
MARCUS: Right. How convenient is that?
Can I be the glass-half-full white girl at the table? And so that might put me in an odd position. What I was struck by in his conversation about race in the tapes -- I'd love to hear your thoughts on this -- is even Donald Sterling is embarrassed about being a racist. He sounds actually sincerely injured at various points on the tape when he says to her, "But you think I'm a racist?"
And she says, "Of course not, honey. Of course not, honey. Would you like some more juice?"
DYSON: Therefore more destructive -- therefore more destructive, because white innocence needs to protect itself against the acknowledgment that what it's doing is wrong. So now we coddle the racist as opposed to confront the racist."
MARCUS: I'm not arguing that he shouldn't be confronted. I thought it was striking. In 2014, everyone is embarrassed at the notion of being a racist...
NORRIS: The idea that he was struggling with it, though...
MARCUS: Except for Bundy.
NORRIS: ... is interesting because, you know, one of the long- term effects of this is that it may make people afraid to talk about race because, you know, if you are shown to be biased or bigoted in some way, oh, I don't want to walk through egg shells, or walk through a minefield. I don't want to talk about it. But he clearly was struggling with this, as he was talking...
SCHIEFFER: Well, I mean, really, I mean, a guy gets caught in a closet by somebody's husband, you know, and they open the door. I mean, he's going to say, oh, well, you know, I was in here just doing an audit...
... of the closet here. Everybody's going to say something when they get caught doing something like this.
COATES: ... point about the shame.
COATES: I'm going through Taylor Branch's third volume in his book. Richard Nixon is talking about Strom Thurmond in '68, and he says, "Strom is not a racist."
Living at the edge of what is shameful is nothing particularly new when it comes to being white in this country. Immediately after the Civil War, Jefferson Davis says, "No, no, no, it wasn't about slavery," despite everything before that it being about slavery.
The thing is racism is shameful right now. So wherever shame is, that's where, you know, folks want to be on the other side of. But that has nothing to do with whether they're actually practicing, whether, you know, they're actually doing it. People don't want to be shamed.
RHODEN: Here's the thing. I've spent the last 30-something -- I've been at the New York Times, like, 32 years. I've spent most of my time in press boxes and all. And I'm stunned. I mean, see, people say the same things as Sterling said by actions.
So I go to a lot of press boxes in 2014 where I'm the only black guy in the press box. You know, I walk through newsrooms, sports departments, where there are no black people at all. And I was telling a lot of these guys, the Clippers, NBA, NFL guys, take a stroll through your front office one day. Go up to the accounting; go up to the executive director's office. Go through there. You are going to be stunned by the lack of a black presence.
So a lot of people say the same thing about you through action, which is the definition of racism, where Sterling was just apologetic (ph) -- there are a lot of guys, owners, who are not saying anything but they're -- but they're doing it. They're doing it through the absence and cultivating that absence. So...
NORRIS: And sometimes they do say it but it doesn't hit our ear the same way.
So when someone says "He's just not the right fit," you know, it doesn't...
RHODEN: Yeah, code words.
NORRIS: You know, we're not -- it's language that carries the same weight behind it -- in fact, even more in some cases, because it blocks people out from...
RHODEN: They guy told me, from NBA -- I wrote a column -- and I quoted a former G.M. lamenting the decline of black general managers in the NBA. Now there's six.
And he said, "Well, you know, we've just appointed a deputy black commissioner."
I said, "Listen, man, the NBA has been integrated and predominantly black since 1988. You could argue that there should be probably, like, 20 black general managers. There should probably be about 20 black coaches. So there's something going -- there's an active glass ceiling going on that keeps these numbers ridiculously... SCHIEFFER: Let me -- let me -- let me just take a break here. We've got a lot more to talk about, but we've got to make a little money here (inaudible).
SCHIEFFER: Well, we're back with our panel. And I don't even have to ask questions.
Michael Eric Dyson?
DYSON: You know, what's interesting in all of this -- I was so proud of the players because they were willing to stand up because players are fine for speaking inappropriately and so on.
So there's the kind of implicit suppression of their free speech, but I was glad they were able to galvanize their resources to be able to protest and boycott. But I want to issue a challenge to the players as well. Not only Donald Sterling, not only the NBA -- how do you, when you choose who you bring into your circle, who are your agents? Who are your financial representatives?
If you are collecting around you a group of well-qualified white people, no disrespect to well-qualified white people, but why don't you diversify your own circle? And why don't you not believe the myth that you've got to get a white boy in order to get ahead in here? Why don't you do what LeBron James did?
He allowed his young man to be trained by the dominant society's, you know, system. He allowed his kid -- his young person to go to a major representative and then he hired that person two years later after he had been trained. That's the kind of record of "let me diversify in my own practice before I also talk about the necessity for the larger NBA" or...
SCHIEFFER: Ta-Nehisi, where do you -- where do you hope this goes?
COATES: I hope that we don't go from fire to fire to fire to fire again. I think Bill made the great point that, you know, just a few months ago we were talking about Incognito. Me and Bill were talking before we came out here, and just before that, it was Riley Cooper, you know.
(UNKNOWN): Using the N word.
COATES: Using the N word, right -- caught on tape, much like Donald Sterling.
And I think, you know, we go from fire, oh, that's horrible, you know, and you get this kind of apology tour, and then you get another incident and then we have conversations and then -- at some point, you know, we have to do something deeper, where, you know, stop thinking about this in terms of an emergency and realize that we're dealing with something deeper and it's going to keep cropping up.
I just think that...
RHODEN: While I'm thinking about it, let me just get to that point. I think that what this -- there really has to be -- you know, I've written it; you've written it. This helps a conversation on -- on race. But I think the deeper conversation has to be among us -- "us," this vast black Diaspora. You know, you, you, you, me. We -- we have to have a conversation about what it means to be African-American in 2014.
I've been in situations where some black writers have been killing other black writers and some scholars have been killing other black scholars and this -- and this nonsense has got to stop. We've almost got to have the equivalent of a black intellectual civil war where we, kind of, get down, roll up our sleeves and knock this thing out because it's just too vast.
And it's funny that this incident once again -- what these players have been able to do, they have the convenience of being in a locker room where all these guys with all these different backgrounds and economic things get together in one locker room; they leave their ego at the door and say our goal is winning; we're going to knock this out. They did it in this incident. They're like, you know what, we're going to boycott.
We used to be in that locker room as a black community. We used to be in that one locker room. But thanks to the invention of integration, we're so far from that it's been -- I don't know if we've ever had that conversation.
MARCUS: I think he does make a really important point about the power of the players here and the power of their collective action, which is why I'm so interested, not just in where the broader conversation takes us but what exactly is going to happen with Donald Sterling and his, kind of, attempt, which I think is just kind of a pathetic, sad attempt, to hold on to his team. Because it strikes me that not only the NBA owners but also the NBA players and also, honestly, the fans have a lot of control of what happens here. And it doesn't strike me that it's sustainable for him to hold on to the team for very long.
DYSON: But here's the point, too. I want to hold those players accountable, but let's be real. They are discouraged from speaking up. They're discouraged from being with "radical black" intellectuals or scholars or Civil Rights leaders because you want to protect your brand. Now, brand management has precluded the very kind of solidarity about which you speak. And look at Riley Cooper that Ta-Nehisi mentioned. Riley Cooper was rewarded with a four-year multi-million- dollar contract while DeSean Jackson, a much more talent receiver, was sent packing, thank you, to the Washington, D.C., team. Thank you for that. But the reality is because of alleged ties to gangs.
So the racialization of even the perception of reputation goes on a certain level. That's not just what I could control as a player. That's the institution.
MARCUS: That's why I loved their turning their shirts inside out because it was so eloquent.
DYSON: It was so eloquent and it was also a risk for them.
NORRIS: I mean, you made -- it was a beautiful metaphor you just used, about going in a locker room and having one goal, the game of winning -- the idea of winning. I mean, in the game of life, it might be a good idea if we, sort of, use that same metaphor because, you know, in a sense that...
RHODEN: What does winning mean to us?
NORRIS: But also -- but the larger society needs to be a part of this. Because, if you take it outside of basketball and you're talking about access to housing, access to education, access to meaningful employment, you cannot have an America where all of that only accrues to a certain population which very soon will be the minority.
RHODEN: You make a great -- you make two great points. Number one, we can't take the players off the hook because the reason why -- trust me, the reason why Adam Silver made that statement so quick -- because you had Jordan being angry; you had LeBron; you had the president of the United States. You had players saying that not only are we going to picket -- boycott this game...
NORRIS: You also had CarMax and Kia and Sprint pulling out...
RHODEN: So it was less a moral imperative than, you know what, this -- this house is burning down and I've got to call the fire department.
RHODEN: But now -- what happens now, the players have to -- and the consumers, by the way -- the consumers. They both have to say, "Wait a minute, if you are going to continue to hang on to this team, we're going to put so much pressure, not just on you but on the entire league."
And I think the problem is, right now, everybody wants to just watch the playoffs. The players want to play, "Leave us alone. We, kind of, turned the shirts inside out. Isn't that enough?" And what we're saying, "No, that's not enough."
DYSON: But you know what? There's a structure in place that allows that, that permits that, that encourages that. They don't want players to become radicalized. They don't want players to become politicized, because it won't stop there. It won't stop with turning the shirt inside out. Then you begin to ask the questions, who's getting the benefit here?
You see this sometimes in the union negotiations with the collective bargaining agreement. But more broadly, can we ask players to not simply be narcissistic? The real challenge is when it's about Trayvon, when it's about another issue. Can you do this same kind of response when it's not about athletics? Then we ask you to be Hank Aaron. Then we ask you to be Jim Brown. Then we ask you to be Muhammad Ali.
SCHIEFFER: But I think, Michael, also, what they don't want -- they don't want something that's bad for business.
DYSON: The bottom line -- there's no question.
SCHIEFFER: It's bad for the whole deal. And I think, in the end, things don't always happen for the right reasons, as we all know.
But they do happen.
DYSON: But there wouldn't be a bottom line...
MARCUS: You know, that market power is a powerful, important...
DYSON: But there wouldn't be a bottom line without the sacrifices of certain athletes who came before who made it possible for it to be lucrative. Ali gave up so much money so that now athletes could make the money. It would be a shame, now that you've made the money, you don't have the conscience that the man who inspired the lucrative accumulation to occur.
MARCUS: Michael, but you're talking in a way that actually seems to believe or argue -- and I'm probably misunderstanding it -- that players should be, kind of, monolithic in their approaches...
DYSON: Not at all.
MARCUS: ... and attitudes...
DYSON: They should be conscientious. They should -- no, I'm saying this. I'm saying they're made monolithic. When they talk about "the black player" -- when a dress code is imposed by the NBA, they're made monolithic.
I'm saying the society that shoots young people who are black who dress a certain way makes them monolithic.
I'm saying that what we're trying to do is to shatter the monolith of racial stereotype and suggest that these are conscientious, intelligent, highly articulate young people who come from a situation and a generation that sacrificed for them. I'm asking them to be responsible, not monolithic.
RHODEN: Most of the kids -- and the problem is -- that's why I wrote a book called "Forty-Million-Dollar Slaves."
RHODEN: And part of the reason I did that is that so many young people, athletes, are so unhistoric that they have no idea of everything you talked about. They say, "Jim Brown -- who?"
I mean, how...
And if you have no idea of the battle, of the wars that were fought...
DYSON: And they've been discouraged from knowing that.
RHODEN: I had an interesting...
SCHIEFFER: Let me end on -- it's a very good point, but I want to tell you something. Don't think this is just among black people. I had somebody ask me the other day who Walter Cronkite was.
Memories are short in the modern world.
(UNKNOWN): Memories are short and we're getting older.
SCHIEFFER: And we're all getting older.
NORRIS: You know, there is an opportunity here for the NBA to actually educate people on the NBA itself.
NORRIS: Because the NBA itself -- I mean, a lot of people -- we all know the name of the man who integrated baseball. I would bet that a lot of people listening to this program right now do not know the name of the man who integrated the NBA, the first...
NORRIS: The first -- and he wasn't the first to be drafted. He wasn't actually the first to sign. But because of the schedule, he was the first...
SCHIEFFER: We have to -- I'm sorry, but we absolutely -- the clock -- time has run out. The game is over.
SCHIEFFER: Thank you all.
(UNKNOWN): Can't we have overtime in here?
SCHIEFFER: No overtime.
We'll be back.
BOB SCHIEFFER: Well, that's it for today. Thanks for joining us. We hope you'll join us next week when we'll be talking to former Secretary of Defense, Robert Gates. Thanks for watching Face the Nation.
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Jackie Berkowitz, Berkowitzj@cbsnews.com
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