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Arne Duncan Weighs In on Donald Sterling, Washington Redskins' Name

During an event this morning to discuss high school graduation rates, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan couldn't help but weigh in on one of the biggest controversies to come across the sports world in years.

On Friday evening, TMZ published audiotapes allegedly featuring Donald Sterling, the owner of the Los Angeles Clippers, making racist remarks to his girlfriend, V. Stiviano. On Sunday, Deadspin released an extended version of said tapes, featuring more despicable remarks about his distaste for minorities.

When asked about Sterling's remarks on Monday morning, Duncan didn't mince words. If the voice on the tape is proven to be Sterling's, the secretary told reporters "I don't think he has a place in the NBA and the owners are going to have to step up," according to The Washington Post. "The more you read about this gentleman, it seems like this is who he is. Sometimes people with money think they can make their own rules and he was about to do that for a while."

Sterling's alleged worldviews have long been an open secret among NBA owners, writers, and die-hard fans. In an ESPN The Magazine story from 2009, Peter Keating highlighted some of the sordid details, including depositions from a discrimination lawsuit brought against Sterling in 2003. After buying an apartment complex, the Clippers owner blamed the odor on "all the blacks in this building," saying, "they smell, they're not clean," according to testimony from Sumner Davenport, one of his four top property supervisors. "And it's because of all of the Mexicans that just sit around and smoke and drink all day," Sterling allegedly said.

Duncan called the outrage about Sterling's recent remarks "a teachable moment," according to POLITICO. "How do you combat racism?" he asked. "Exposure. Honest conversation."

The secretary then segued—unprompted, per the Post—into a discussion about the controversy surrounding the name of the local professional football franchise.

"Here in Washington we have the Washington Redskins—is that name appropriate for a professional football team?" Duncan asked. "I don't think it is. We should challenge the status quo right here in Washington."

The NBA is holding a press conference tomorrow to make an announcement about its investigation into Sterling's remarks.

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