More than Black & White: Donald Sterling

Posted by C.L. Anthony on Saturday, April 26, 2014 with No comments
A man's most intimate thoughts are usually shared in private where there's no consequences, no backlash, no accountability.  In those private moments, the man himself is his own judge, jury, and executioner and what do you think his own verdict will be?  Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling shared his most intimate thoughts with a lady friend recently but those thoughts have gone public, gone viral and threaten to tear apart any public unity that there may have been between Sterling and the players of his franchise, most of which that are labeled as African American or just simply black.

Donald Sterling's antics have been well chronicled over the course of his career as owner of the Clippers which began in 1981 when he purchased the franchise for $12.5 million.  The franchise is now valued at $575 million and is currently a contender for the NBA Championship, something that the franchise has never experienced before in it's history.   During the NBA lockout of 2011 I briefly touched on how Donald Sterling was and still is notorious for being a terrible owner in the NBA but yet due to his team being profitable, the league and most notoriously then NBA Commissioner David Stern would turn a blind eye to Sterling's antics.

Excerpt from Perception or Reality:  The NBA Lockout of 2011

"Frank McCourt loses his team to the MLB for his poor decision making but Donald Sterling continues to own an NBA franchise because he usually turns a profit at the expense of his own team.  By failing to open his checkbook to draw top talent, Sterling has seemingly sacrificed wins just to turn a profit which makes him a "good" owner in the eyes of Stern.  If I'm not mistaken, doesn't Stern want all 30 of his NBA franchises to turn a profit?  Would he allow them all to turn profits at the expense of winning?  It does seems as if that's the perception that Stern is pushing and selling the idea of profitability has been one of his strong points as of yet but now he's paying the ultimate price for his fatal flaw.  The NBA's owners have become their own worst enemy in the lawless land of Stern, the same Stern who acts as judge, jury, and executioner when it comes to terrible displays of personal responsibility on the part of the players.  Sterling for the most part has been out of control as an NBA owner based on being accused of sexual harassment multiple times, discriminating against African Americans and Latinos, and also being caught heckling current and former players of the Clippers Chris Kaman and Baron Davis.  Perhaps Sterling's most despicable act came in 2004 when then assistant coach Kim Hughes was diagnosed with prostate cancer, Sterling refused to cover the cost of the surgery which was at least $70, 000 which prompted Clippers players at the time Cory Maggette, Chris Kaman, Marko Jaric, and Elton Brand to help their ailing coach cover the medical costs.  Ladies and gentlemen I bring you today Donald Sterling, the prototype of what a great NBA owner should be based on the lawless views of David Stern.  The reality of the matter is that owners like Donald Sterling are responsible for the league being what is today, a league that's been dominated by only 9 franchises in the last 30 years while others remain irrelevant by not maximizing the values of their franchises by simply putting a winning product on the court night after night."

The youth of today's NBA fans may have been shocked when they heard the secretly recorded telephone call where the 81 year old Sterling was spouting his "truths" about how he felt about blacks to his 23 year old lady friend V. Stiviano but to myself and others who've been in this game for a very long time, nothing that comes out of Sterling's mouth is a shock, as a matter of fact it's expected at this point and I say that due to the following.  In 2005 due to being sued for discriminatory rental practices against Blacks, Hispanics, and families with children, Sterling paid the largest federal housing discrimination settlement of $2.73 million and the NBA did nothing, remained silent and it was business as usual.  In 2009 Sterling was sued by longtime NBA fixture and legend Elgin Baylor for employment discrimination on the basis of race and age.  In the suit Baylor, who was a Clippers executive after his playing career, stated that Sterling had told him that he wanted the team filled with "poor black boys from the South and a white head coach".......Again, the NBA remained silent.  

Donald Sterling is to the NBA as Marge Schott was to Major League Baseball (MLB).  Schott was well past of prime years and out of touch with the current state of the world, set in her own ways as owner of the Cincinnati Reds between 1984 and 1999.  Schott was also known as a notorious bigot having used racial slurs towards African Americans, Asians, and those of Jewish ancestry.  The MLB finally took action in 1996 when she was banned from managing the team for two years due to her statements that supported the domestic policies of Adolf Hitler.  The NBA can no longer remain silent.

New NBA commissioner Adam Silver can now make his mark in a way that David Stern never did when it came to Sterling and ban him from the league as the MLB did with Schott.  In today's world there is no longer a place for old world views, the days where ignorance reigned supreme and the "have nots" were frowned upon.  Think of all of the fans of the Los Angeles Clippers and the NBA as a whole.  Should they have to live through this, knowing that this man who has been in power for far too long looks down on him?  The players of the Clippers, who knows how they will react to their owners latest misstep?  Reports have shown that the players were angered by the comments of their "leader" and even held a meeting late last night.  If you can't have faith in your leader, then who can you have faith in?  As a unit the players must speak out, release a statement denouncing the views of their "leader".  One statement, one time and then focus on the goal of winning an NBA Championship.  

This isn't a matter of Black & White because during his tenure Donald Sterling has managed to offended everyone of every racial background.  This is a matter of what's right versus what's wrong and for far too long Sterling has been on the side of what's wrong because he was never punished by the league that gave him a platform.  Commissioner Adam Silver, you are now on notice and it's known that you will be in attendance Sunday as the Golden State Warriors hosts the Clippers for game 4 of their playoff match-up.  The owners of the NBA were a unified terror when they decided to lockout the players in 2011 to squeeze out more profits than the previous Collective Bargaining Agreement had allowed.  Now it's time for you as the face of the owners to unify them once more, and cleanse the league of it's most domineering figure.  Let there be light in a mind full of darkness.........