Sterling is not alone out there

Please, let's not all of a sudden act like: (1) What Donald Sterling allegedly said on the recording is a surprise, and (2) that Donald Sterling is an anomaly.

That he's alone in this.

Truth is Sterling (and this situation) is just the latest in a line of evidently racist people and incidents that rear their racist head, mind, body and soul into sports when we are conditioned to believe that sports itself provides the ultimate non-racist playing field and is sold to be the antithesis of racism.

This is beyond Kobe Bryant tweeting that he "wouldn't play for him." Beyond LeBron James saying "there's no room in the NBA for" Sterlings. Way beyond commissioner Adam Silver saying that Sterling should be "afforded due process" just like any player in the league.

Once we get past the "feeble old man" mentality that comes across on the tape and the use of the words "friends" -- Who are the friends he is purportedly talking about who would have problems with his girlfriend associating herself with someone black? Are they other billionaires of like minds who "employ" minorities? Are they other owners of professional sports teams? -- we have to look into who actually told him that his girlfriend posted a picture on Instagram that might upset/bother/embarrass him. Once we get past his track record of racism, including at least three separate lawsuits alleging discrimination, and then past the overall content of the recording itself, only then we can step back and realize this is more than just Sterling's Phil Robertson/"Duck Dynasty" moment.

Where else can we find -- blatant or covert, up front or hidden -- racism in sports? That is easy.

It can be seen in reality. In a league that is 80 percent black, there is only one majority black owner of an NBA franchise. In MLB, you see it in the reasons given for why the percentage of black players has fallen below 10 percent. Or it can be found in the fact that the NFL needs the Rooney Rule to even exist.

There's proof when you consider that less than 13 percent of the athletic directors in the NCAA are of color (and the majority of them are at historically black colleges and universities). Further proof when you realize that Ben Watson's score of 48 on the Wonderlic never had the same stereotypical impact -- or media attention -- as Vince Young's 6.

That in soccer, players such as Kevin-Prince Boateng have to walk off the pitch in protest of racial abuse from fans. In the NHL, Wayne Simmonds has bananas thrown at him on the ice, and Joel Ward can't score a winning playoff goal without being called a "spear chucking monkey" on Twitter.

Or that in a sport as popular as NASCAR, Bubba Wallace and Tia Norfleet are anomalies.

No one says anything about or associates racism with speedskater Shani Davis and four female bobsledders being the only African-Americans representing the United States at the Sochi Olympics, or why there was only one black person in the top 40 of SI's "Top 50 Most Powerful People in Sports" list. Or Tony Dungy and Mike Tomlin being the only head coaches of color to have Super Bowl rings, or how Russell Wilson -- with the NFL being 96 years old -- became only the second black quarterback to win a Super Bowl title.

And it's not changing. You would think that after all of the flak Fuzzy Zoeller got with fried-chicken comments directed at Tiger Woods, that 16 years later, Sergio Garcia wouldn't make a similar remark. But he did. For every Riley Cooper who is disciplined, there's a Jeremy Clements. For every Richie Incognito who is outed, there's a Paolo Berlusconi.

And it doesn't help that the most powerful people in sports are still not people of color. There is no black equivalent for power agent Drew Rosenhaus, businessman Mark Parker, owners Jerry Jones and Mark Cuban, league chief Richard Scudamore or coach Nick Saban.

Look, it is understood that many of these incidents don't have to do with team ownership and the power that is itself another form of segregation in sports (and including Marge Schott and Al Campanis is too easy). It's important to go deeper and below the surface to expose a reality.

Donald Sterling has company. Always has, always will. That is a truth we must accept. The question we need to all really be addressing and asking ourselves in this moment is, why did it have to come to this in order for us to be appalled?

Jalen Rose perfectly said, "This is a league issue, not a Clipper issue." He's on point, but the problem extends beyond even the NBA. The "issue" of race and racism in sports is ever-present. And as much as this particular situation is about Donald Sterling, this really, comprehensively, is about all of us and what we continue to accept and allow.