UCLA: Keep Donald Sterling’s money

There is a lot of controversy over Donald Sterling’s comments in a taped conversation with his girlfriend regarding African-Americans. What Sterling said was disgusting and offensive. But the decision of UCLA regarding his donation of $3 Million for kidney research much more hurtful to us all then what Sterling said.

After the press conference with Adam Silver, the NBA’s commissioner, when Silver banned Sterling for life from the NBA and fined him $2.5 million, UCLA released this statement regarding Sterling’s donation of $3 million toward kidney research:

  • “Mr. Sterling’s divisive and hurtful comments demonstrate that he does not share UCLA’s core values as a public university that fosters diversity, inclusion and respect. For those reasons, UCLA has decided to return Mr. Sterling’s initial payment of $425,000 and reject the remainder of a $3 million pledge he recently made to support basic kidney research by the UCLA Division of Nephrology.”
V. Stiviano and Donald Sterling Sterling told Dujoure Magazine, "I wish I had just paid her off." (Photo is screen shot from YouTube video showing the couple at a Clippers games)
Sterling told Dujoure Magazine, “I wish I had just paid her off.” (YouTube video)

UCLA’s misguided attempts to further punish Sterling for his racist comments (although I don’t know how giving him back $3 million can be thought of as punishment) is directly harming African-Americans. One third of the people with kidney failure and waiting for a kidney transplant are African-American. The largest group of minorities in need of an organ transplant.

Sterling is an offensive person but it’s more offensive to deny people with kidney issues  the benefits of what a $3 million donation can provide. What they feel is a stand against racism is only hurting African-Americans and everyone with current and future kidney issues.

In theory, UCLA felt they were doing the right thing. But using money from an alleged racist to fund research to save lives does not mean that they support racism.

If they believe giving the money back is the right thing to do, does that imply that future charitable donations should only be accepted from people who have the same belief system as the charity given the money?

Do they think everyone on the kidney transplant list is fine with research that could save their lives being delayed because the funds to pay for that research would have come from an alleged racist? Of course not. Who better for it to come from than people who have offended us all? Would we rather they have more money for their luxurious lifestyles, or would we rather see their income help people who need it most?

No one is going to believe that using his money to help people means they condone his behavior. I hope all the people who came together in a public out cry wanting him banned also come together about UCLA’s decision and convince them it is wrong to give back the money that would greatly help research.

Before the controversy, the NAACP was going to honor Sterling with a life time achievement award for his charitable donations to their organization; which they recently rescinded. It would be highly beneficial if they were to contact UCLA, tell them they appreciate their attempt at a good decent gesture, but that they would like the university to keep Sterling’s money to help save people’s lives.

Christine Smith (Photo provided by Christine Smith)
Christine Smith
(Photo provided by Christine Smith)

If we only accept charitable donations from non-racists where do we draw the line? Should there be a box to check on the organ donor form asking if you are a racist? That makes about as much sense as refunding his donation.

I’m listed as an organ donor. Would a Bible-beater refuse my organs because they were inside a person who posed nude in a magazine? I’m sure they’d just be grateful being given a second chance at life. If I was dying I’d gladly take a serial killer’s organs and I’d be happy that the new knowledge advancements in my kidney transplant was from a racist’s pocket. I’d rather know the money was used to save my life than spent buying a married man’s girlfriend more homes and cars.

All charities should gladly accept money from people like him. Isn’t it better to use the success of people we feel don’t deserve it to help people who need it most than to leave it in their hands to better their own lives? I hope the strong public stance against UCLA’s decision continues and they realize that by giving the money back their intent to take a stand against injustice is only harming the people they are trying to stand up for.

One thought on “UCLA: Keep Donald Sterling’s money

  • August 5, 2014 at 8:37 PM

    Who cares what the author of this article looks like. It is truly STUPID for UCLA and other California charities to reject donations from Donald Sterling, especially when most of the money will benefit the African-American community.

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