Gene Simmons: ‘I’m on the Side of Don Sterling’
If there’s one thing we can say about KISS‘ Gene Simmons is that he’s never afraid to speak his mind, regardless of potential outrage. In a new display of free speech, Simmons defended disgraced former Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling, who was recently banned from the NBA for life due to racist remarks.
Back in April, Sterling received the lifetime ban and a fine of $2.5 million. The decision came after private recordings between himself and a young female talking on the phone were released to the public. In response, the L.A. Clippers players staged an on-court protest while warming up for a game. Outrage was expressed by some of the NBA’s most legendary figures such as Magic Johnson, LeBron James, Shaquille O’Neal and many others. The NBA has since forced the sale of the Clippers to a new owner.
Donald Sterling has found few supporters since his racially charged remarks were made public, but Gene Simmons stands as one of those few. Although he doesn’t support Sterling’s actual words, he does defend his right to express them in the privacy of his own home. “I’m on the side of Don Sterling,” Simmons tells the Wall Street Journal. “I’m on Mel Gibson’s side, Don Sterling’s side and anybody who has a racist or an expletive rant privately. The difference between this guy, who’s heinous, of course, or anybody else is that they were caught.”
Simmons continues, “Everybody [says] jokes that are off-color, or when they’re drunk. The difference between Sterling and everyone else is that he was caught … without his approval. He was ambushed. I think he should have done penance and paid a fine.”
Simmons also commented on the NFL Washington Redskins name controversy. “There’s sports, there’s business and then there are people,” Simmons begins. “As a Jew, I wouldn’t be thrilled [with] “The Kikes.” And if you’re black, you wouldn’t be thrilled with a football team called “The Blacks.” I could use a worse word. Because “Redskins” was what the white man called them. So I understand if you’re a sports fan and if you’re white, you go “Hey, what’s the problem? We have a long history.” But if you’re an Indian, think about it. White dudes don’t have to worry about that stuff because [they] were always the majority in imperialist countries of the world. “Cracker” means nothing to white people. They had all the money and the power.”
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