April 29, 2014 by gregrabidoux2013
By now we’ve all heard or at least read the words spewed forth from the racist mouth of NBA Los Angeles Clippers owner, Donald Sterling. In a private rant to his mistress that she secretly recorded (well, of course she did) Sterling takes exception at her posing with and posting pictures of herself with “Blacks” and tells her that it’s bad enough she associates with “them” but not to “bring any Blacks to any of my games.” She responds that he (Sterling) owns a team made up of black players, he counters that he “feeds and clothes them” and that’s enough.
Boy, these two are really something else.
One of the pics that his mistress, V. Stiviano (aka, Vanessa Perez, Vanessa Maria Perez, Monica Gallegos, Melena Gonzales-pick one) posted on Instagram (since taken down) was with Magic Johnson. The Laker Legend had considered Sterling to be a friend and was understandably deeply insulted and offended by Sterling’s racist and abhorrent comments directed at himself and other athletes like L.A. Dodger star Matt Kemp.
As we all should be.
Much has been made of the “fact” (not sure what is or is not fact when it comes to the “mistress”) that Stiviano is herself of mixed heritage, black and Hispanic and how could Sterling be so bigoted, given he is “dating” a minority.
Well, if there is anything truly certain in this ugly incident it is that Donald Sterling is not new to allegations of being a bigot and a racist. According to his former General Manager and African-American, Elgin Baylor (another Laker legend) Sterling thought of the franchise as a “Southern Plantation” himself as a “Slave Master” and wanted “a team comprised of poor blacks from the South” and a “White head coach.”
Geez, how do folks like this even function in modern society?
Sterling, who was himself born of poor Jewish parents, changed his own name from “Tokowitz” to “Sterling” to “inspire confidence and trust” was sued in 2003 by the US Department of Justice. The feds alleged discriminatory practices involving his ownership of federal housing rental properties in what he called “poor black areas of L.A. where he could get rich.”
Allegations included his stated goal of getting rid of all the “Blacks because they smell” and “Mexicans because they just drink and smoke all day” regardless of whether they paid rent on time or not. He had his wife pose as a Government Inspector so she could secretly inspect the homes and identify all the “Blacks and Mexicans” so they could “push them out.”
The lawsuit was settled out of court for $2.8 million, the highest ever payout over such housing allegations in this nation. Sterling later bragged that he “didn’t pay a dime” but it was his insurance company who got nervous and caved in to “them.”
The NBA, like it has done throughout Sterling’s 33 year ownership of the Clippers, looked the other way. David Stern the brilliant former NBA commissioner who grew a fledgling league into a world-wide mega-money making machine that is today’s superstar driven NBA, knew exactly the type of man who owned the Clippers. Stern, apparently, did not want to rock the Sterling boat.
So, now it us up to Stern’s protégé, Adam Silver, navigating his own maiden voyage as Commissioner this year to make things right in the NBA once again.
The calls for Sterling’s head on a (sterling) Silver platter (sorry, couldn’t resist) have been swift and forceful.
NBA legend and now Bobcat owner Michael Jordan was “repulsed” by Sterling’s comment. Magic Johnson vowed never to attend another Clipper game as long as Sterling is the owner. The Clippers tossed their jerseys on the floor before game 4 and wore the Clipper logo inside out during warm-ups to protest Sterling’s comments. And then proceeded to get clobbered by the Warriors setting up an even more dramatic than usual, pivotal game 5 tonight in, of course, L.A.
Everyone wants swift and strong action taken against Sterling. At the very least a suspension, at best booted out as owner.
This includes Charles Barkley who wonders though, if the NBA by-laws would allow Commissioner Silver to impose such a penalty. He is joined by Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban who goes even further, cautioning that trying to oust Sterling, regardless of how repugnant his statements are, would be a “slippery slope.”
In other words, can the NBA take away an individual’s ownership rights to a team that provides entertainment to the paying and viewing public for racist comments uttered in private?
Recently, the owner of the NFL Indianapolis Colts, Robert Irsay, was arrested on suspicion of driving while under the influence of narcotics, and was found to have prescription drugs (not his own) on his person along with several thousand dollars of cash. The very likely and regrettable conclusion is that Mr. Irsay is a drug abuser and addict who, if not stopped, may well have ended up injured or worse.
The NFL Commissioner stepped in quickly and forcefully.
Mr. Irsay was suspended indefinitely, forced to remove himself from football operations and decision-making and a family-member was tapped to replace him in the near and possibly long-term.
The NBA by-laws are not quite as technically generous in their grant of unilateral power to Commissioner Silver as they are to football’s Commissioner Roger Goodell.
This never seemed to impede David Stern though. He masterfully shaped such a multi-billion dollar NBA brand over the years that his “bosses,” the collective NBA team owners, pretty much just got out of his way as he made them wealthy (er).
Sterling’s own initial investment of $15 million when he purchased the Clipper franchise is now estimated to be worth well over $350 million.
As Charles Barkley notes, “that’s on the sweat and tears and backs of a lot of young African-Americans over the years.”
But for all the talk in the media of Sterling treating his team as a plantation and his players as “slaves,” the fact still remains that he is the legal owner of the franchise and his players are highly paid professional athletes under legally recognized contracts they entered into under their own free will.
Let’s be clear, the man’s heart may be racist-filled but the slave metaphor only holds up for so long. At its core, this is a dispute between millionaires and billionaires. If playing in the NBA is modern-day slavery as Al Sharpton seems to imply then um, sign me up.
For many reasons, moral, ethical and the pure capitalism of protecting the NBA “brand” now and to the future, something must be done about Mr. Sterling. Even his estranged wide, Rochelle, (who by the way is suing the mistress alleging she embezzled $1.8 million from the team) seems split over the best and most just action against her husband. One day she says he is not in his heart a racist and has done so much to advance minority rights (are you sure Rochelle?) the next day she declines comment and (smartly) makes clear she (Rochelle) at least, is no racist.
In other words, Donald, you are not “The” Donald, just a wealthy blub who blurted out far too much to his gold-digging, secretly recording mistress.
And now he will pay.
But the question remains how much?
Memo to Mr. Sterling:
Have someone else collect rent in-person in your apartments next month.
Hey, there’s a possible penalty. Force Sterling to actually have to live in his slumlord rental units for a year. Maybe that would teach him far more about respecting people of all colors and income levels than Mr. Silver and the NBA ever could.
The ball is now in your court, Commissioner Silver. Good luck. The world is watching. No pressure.