I followed the Donald Sterling story, but I haven't had much of an inclination to blog about it as deeply as I'd like to. As I've said before, there has to be something about the subject matter that really piques my interest before I invest the time and effort to make an in-depth post I feel is worthy of DDSS. Not exactly the most efficient way to run a one-man show, but there it is.
So the fact that a rich old man who has already established himself as quite the consummate scumbag was caught on tape in the full throes of grizzled, disgruntled bigotry wasn't of much interest to me. The fact that he did all of this in fear of his paramour embracing her roots and the men comprising much of those roots wasn't all that interesting, either. Nevertheless, it's amazing how jealousy, insecurity and paranoia has the potential to render the brain into a twisted, broken mess.
The reactions were mildly interesting. I never expected the Clippers to stage a walk-off or simply refuse to not play at all, but I did find the protest they came up with a bit weak. You can turn your warm-up jerseys inside out as much as you want, but you're still on the court playing for a team owned by a man who likely sees you the same way Simon Legree saw his own charges. I understand it's all about the paper at the end of the day, but still...
Seeing ESPN drop the ball by not picking it up in the first place was no surprise, either. The media gossip mavens at TMZ did a bang-up job getting the story out there and the bloggers (with yours truly as an exception) ran marathons with it. Meanwhile, ESPN appeared too scared to report anything about Sterling until they've received the proper clearance and narrative from whomever was higher up on the media food chain.
Seeing Sterling bounced out of the NBA and, as a result, forced to relinquish Clippers ownership was a surprise. I've come to expect misbehaving millionaires and billionaires to be given slaps on the wrist, golden parachutes and generous retirement packages, so Sterling's forced exit from the league was a bit out of the ordinary and a refreshing shock for a cynic like myself.
The best thing about all of this? The man's mouth and actions along with the subsequent exposure were what got him the boot from basketball.
When dealing with the likes of Sterling, Cliven Bundy and Rand Paul, it's best to let ignorance speak for itself. As our own president remarked during his trip to Kuala Lumpur at the height of the controversy, letting your adversary make a mockery of their own self through their own words and actions is a far more effective tool than anything else you could muster. Had Sterling possessed the forethought to hide his ignorance better, he'd still be in the good graces of the NBA.
In the end, the only interesting angle in this entire story is the one that nobody else is really talking about - the fact that a league where 76.3 percent of its players and 43.3 percent of its head coaches are black, over 98 percent of the majority team owners are white. It's a bit of a problem (and it gives us plenty of unpleasant imagery to work with), but it's one that'll have to slowly work itself out as more black American entrepreneurs realize their full economic clout and make the smart moves with their money. Is owning an NBA franchise a smart move? That depends on what you want out of it, but that's not a department that yours truly specializes in.
"But Mack, wouldn't it be a problem if 76.3 percent of those NBA players were white and 98 percent of the majority owners where black?"
Good question. Advocates of a colorblind and post-racial America will likely suggest that just as long as the ownership treats their players good, there wouldn't and shouldn't be any problems at all, thus making white majority ownership of a team full of black players a non-issue. With that logic, there shouldn't be problem the other way around, either.
On the other hand, there's that unpleasant imagery to deal with. It's imagery brought to us by generations of bad history, but that's something that anyone with the time and inclination can look up for themselves.