Assuming one can still call an owner of a professional basketball team an “owner,” this piece is about two of them. Both owners are white and bigoted, but only one was white, bigoted and incredibly stupid.
The first was named Ted Stepien.
In 1980, this advertising magnate purchased the abysmal NBA Cleveland Cavaliers. Stepien thought he had a formula for success. White fans, he insisted, preferred to watch white players.
The Cavaliers’ stadium, at the time, was located between Cleveland and Akron, Ohio, in a predominantly white demographical area. Stepien felt fans would come if the players looked like them.
In 1981, he told Sport Magazine: “I feel that whites should have a position in the athletic world. Sometimes they’ve given it up. … Professional sports in general would gain greater respect if whites competed more with blacks in athletics, as much as blacks want to compete more in the business world.”
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