Tabloid Internet site TMZ seems to have their tentacles into everybody’s business and I salute them for making a huge deal out of Donald Sterling’s recent abhorrent racist behavior.
Since Sterling owns the National Basketball Association’s Los Angeles Clippers, it’s sort of about basketball, but only to the degree that most of the great NBA players are black and how Sterling feels about blacks, basketball notwithstanding. You’re about to hear the conversation (argument) between Sterling and his bangin’ young girlfriend, V. Stiviano. Here’s the tape.
The Forbes Internet site places his wealth just short of two billion big ones. Sterling has a law degree and he started his working life as an ambulance-chasing divorce attorney and later branched out into real estate development. Nobody denies his business acumen. The old boy has long exhibited sleazy social behaviors that included the Feds leaning on him for refusing to rent to blacks and Latinos.
Here are some lines from a Los Angeles Times article at the time, calling Sterling a ‘slumlord’, and referencing a Justice Department lawsuit: The suit alleged Sterling once said he did not like to rent to Hispanics because they “smoke, drink and just hang around the building,” and that “Black tenants smell and attract vermin.” His racial acrimony apparently extends to his own Jewish heritage as he anglicized his given name by re-positioning his birth name of Tokowitz to the middle and popularly became the white bread WASP known as Donald Sterling.
I guess the name, Tokowitz, passed to him from his late mother and father, was not really a good name that people would have confidence in and wasn’t the best.
None of it seemed to bother Forbe’s reporter Mike Ozanian. While granting that Sterling should be ‘called’ for his unconscionable behavior, the reporter airily dismissed the blatantly racist Sterling as an “old white guy with a long history of saying stupid things,” Ozanian does use this latest race-baiting occasion to launch an attack on Jesse Jackson for not ripping black NBA players for offenses ranging from a gay slur, to abusing girlfriends (including a punch to the mouth), gun possession and the greatest capitalist mortal sin of all, homelessness.
Considering the punch to the mouth offense, real to be sure, was taken to court, where the offender was fined and sentenced to anger management training, not to mention a subsequent trade and the refusal by the owner of the team, where the player had his most productive years, to retire his jersey. And whose to say Jackson didn’t react since the offense was some 13 years ago. Kobe Bryant was fined $100,000 for his homophobia. Gun possession? If I’m not mistaken the gun possession charges were lodged against New York Knick’s guard Raymond Felton after his wife indicated she did not want him storing the weapon in her home. He was arrested and has been arraigned on gun possession charges only though his now-estranged wife said he pointed the gun at her. And Jackson is supposed to do what?
And if I’m not mistaken, white folks, at least those from the right, are always complaining that Jesse sticks his nose into too much of America’s business. Many complained about Jackson’s early efforts to get hostages released from the grip of overseas bad guys. His efforts date back over 30 years with the 1983 negotiated freeing of an American pilot in Syria. The next year, Jackson was responsible for the release of 22 Americans from a Cuban prison and, as recently as 2012, two more U.S. citizens were freed from a Gambian lockup after a visit from Jackson.
For a time, it seems getting Americans out of jams worldwide was Jackson’s avocation. So what is it, my righty friends? Jackson getting involved? Or Jackson staying home? Answer; if it’s slamming the black brothers, by all means, let her rip. If it’s heroically freeing mostly white folks, stay away. Wouldn’t do for a black man to get positive press.
Which brings us back to Sterling. His people are now floating the trial balloon that the tape you’ve heard might not be Sterling at all. Why there’s that awful ‘V’ who’s the object of Sterling’s wife’s lawsuit alleging that she embezzled the grand sum of $1.8 million from their overflowing coffers. It has been darkly hinted that she once snarled to Sterling that she was going to “get even.”
Lemme get this straight. If you believe even the tiniest thread of this hilarious conspiracy yarn, you’ve got to accept that this ticked-off girlfriend is going to doctor a 9:26 tape by either hiring an actor and actress with the extraordinary gifts of mimicking both voices with such unerring exactitude that audio experts, using the latest technology, could never tell the difference. Excuse me, I think I see an American Yorkshire fluttering over my maple tree.
What are the black players on the Clippers to do? There are some damn good ones. Here are some profiles from the Clippers’ website. Probably the best player is actually a likeable white guy. An Okie no less. White? Oklahoma? Could a player be more Sterlingesque? He’s Blake Griffin, a scoring and rebounding machine. He’s followed closely by a much shorter black guard with different skill sets. While Chris Paul can score with the best of them, as a guard his rebounds are a fraction of Griffin’s total and that’s generally expected of his position. His assist total puts him among the leagues elite in that category, over 9 per game at last report. Phenomenal! The other guard is possessed of credentials the top one-percenters adore; pale of skin, Tennessee born and possessed of a degree from Deep South Duke University. He’s J.J. Redick, the third scoring option for the Clippers. He’s a good pro who will collect about 15 important points per night and little else.
The next six on the depth chart, Johnson, Crawford, Collison, Granger, Barnes and Davis are all African-Americans. So seven of the top nine are black. The argument could be made that someone with an animus toward black players couldn’t possibly populate his lineup with so many of them. Well, someone who needed bodies for the cotton fields to enrich themselves had no problems “employing” a certain race.
No, this ancient dude is racists’ exhibit one. But back to the original question. How can black Clipper players react to Sterling’s obvious racism? Basketball pays well. Millions of dollars well. So, my guess is, the guys will keep shinnying up to the pay window and take the hater’s money. Probably the best revenge. I would follow my continued paydays with word to my agent that, following my contract expiration, get me to a more, dare I say, progressive hardwood environment.
For now, basketball junkies will appreciate the opening round of the playoffs where the Clippers, even with a hamstring injury slowing Paul, have jumped out to a 2-1 lead over the Golden State Warriors. All that with the swirl of negative publicity 24/7. Way to go guys.
In the future, however, continuing to play for someone like Sterling would be offensive to anyone who cares about anyone else, no matter their race, creed or color. This is a teachable moment!