Donald Sterling: Grand Marshall to a Parade of Stupidity
Donald Sterling has been among the worst owners in the entirety of American professional sports and he has also been an ignorant bigot slumlord. His Clippers were the biggest laughing stock in all of sports for the better part of 30 years all the while Sterling continued to pad his bank account as a property lord throughout Southern California.
What gripped the national media this week was nothing new to those of us who have known about Sterling for years. I hosted morning radio in Southern California and, more than once during the late 1990’s, was clutching an article from the LA Times and commenting on what idiotic statements Sterling had made. He would insult people of color, attempt to ban them from his properties and was sued multiple times for alleged discrimination.
The NBA knew who he was. The NBA did nothing. The NBA has some small complicity in this.
They have now suspended and fined him. One question is: what price should the NBA itself pay?
What’s more troubling is the parade of knee-jerk stupidity that has followed this news.
From grand over-the-top overstatements, such as:
Spike Lee: “he's (Sterling) tainting the league and he's tainting America,” Lee told CNN Monday. “And when you hear something like that that is a mentality of a slave master. He sees his players as slaves.”
Two truly head shaking comments that border on being worse than what Sterling himself said.
Larry Johnson (current NY Knicks executive and former NBA star player) tweeting out “Black people your Focusing on the wrong thing. We should be focusing on having our own, Own team own League! To For Self!!”
Suggesting an all-black NBA, which is close to the worst idea of all modern time, borders on racist.
If I were Phil Jackson, the new President of the Knicks, I would fire Johnson for this. But, of course, ‘Grandmama’ (yes that was his nickname as a player) won’t be, since he has (per the media in our country) the latitude to spew a form of ignorance. The media won’t call him on it, because in its view, his anger (bigotry) is justified as a response to an indignity. Please let’s hope that a white hockey player doesn’t call for an all-white NHL.
Then there is Golden State Head Coach Mark Jackson. He has called for this: "If it was me, I wouldn't come to the game," Jackson said Monday. "I believe as fans, the loudest statement they could make as far as fans is to not show up to the game."
Now while that might be laudable, the fact is Jackson has an entirely different motive. You see his team is playing the Clippers at the Clippers home stadium (The Staples Center) in that game. Of course he doesn't want the other team’s fans to show up. It should be noted that ticket prices for that game in Los Angeles have actually gone up at ticket brokers since the controversy broke. Who doesn't want to witness a train wreck live and in person.
Same too with this note: Former Seattle Supersonics owner, Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz says Sterling should be banned. Of course Shultz wants Sterling banned, he wants the NBA to buy the team and sell it to him.
The smell of blood is drifting over the court.
Setting aside the comical aspect of Al Sharpton calling for any sort of public backlash at anyone who makes inflammatory statements this incident has not only shed light on a bigot who was forced out of his hole it has also given breath to those who wish to spew a different form of hate.
While it angers some that Sterling isn't getting labeled as often as the democrat he is, be thankful he is on the political left. If Sterling was an owner who leaned republican the venom being spewed would be far worse and our society would be the worse for it.
But know that those sharks have just begun to bite.