NBA and Race Relations
Be afraid, be very afraid. Creation Date Tuesday, 29 April 2014. Hits 3810
The verdict is in. Donald Sterling is banned from life from the NBA. He cannot run his team nor attend his (or any other NBA) games or any NBA meetings. Furthermore, new Commissioner Adam Silver has announced that the league owners will be meeting to vote on taking the Clippers away from Sterling. He also claims to have talked to a few of the owners and claims that he has the votes. Wait a second... I thought this guy was supposed to be a genius lawyer. Way to plead guilty to collusion before the deal is even done and open the door to the Sterling antitrust lawsuit that will allow him to keep his team. But I digress.
First off, let me be clear here. Donald Sterling is a racist and an idiot. I have no sympathy for him, and I couldn't care less about what happens to him. I do, on the other hand, care about this society that I have to live in. I do care about honesty and integrity, and I will not sit idly by as the NBA pats itself on the back for their swift and stern reaction to racism.
Where were you, Mr. Silver, and the rest of the league 15 years ago when Donald Sterling was refusing to rent his apartments to blacks and Hispanics? Where were you when his former general manager sued for racial discrimination? Where were you when Elgin Baylor testified in court that Sterling said he wanted a team of poor black boys from the South playing for a white coach like a Southern Plantation? Or when Sam Cassell, Elton Brand, and Corey Maggette complained that he brought women into the locker rooms while they showered so the could look at their "beautiful black bodies?"
Some poor black family out there was struggling to make it in the inner city of LA. Every day, their kids having to walk through drug and violence infested neighborhoods to get to a school that gives them an education that can't get them into a decent community college. Mom and Dad want a better life for their kids, so they try to move into a better neighborhood where their kids will be safe and can attend a school that will help them to a better future. They show up at Donald Silver's apartment complex, hoping for a way out, only to be turned away because he thinks that they smell bad and will attract rats. And if they did happen to get in, they had to worry about his wife showing up posing as a housing inspector so she could racially profile the tenants. Not a peep from the NBA. Not word one. No pro bono work from one of your team of lawyers to help this family get justice, but the minute some bimbo gets sued by her billionaire boyfriend and drops a tape all of a sudden that high priced NBA attorney is digging through the bylaws looking for a way to kick him out now. And I'm supposed to applaud you? This is your sense of racial outreach? Pardon me, but I'm not impressed. Frankly, I'm offended. And don't think I missed the irony that all of this happened while the Clippers are playing the Warriors, a team named after Native Americans, and last time I checked that was supposed to be insensitive too.
And what about Doc Rivers? He won't take a phone call because he's so hurt over this? He took a job as the highest paid coach in basketball working for the man, now he's too good to take his calls? Did he do any research before taking the job? This guy is also supposed to be a genius and a great coach. It's no secret that...
- In 2005 he settled a racial discrimination suit for an undisclosed amount that the judge said was "one of the largest ever in the State.
- In 2009 he settled a housing discrimination suit for $2.75 million.
- In 2010 he was sued by Elgin Baylor for wrongful termination that include racial and age discrimination.
All of this is public record that could have been easily obtained, and any of this... let me make this as clear as I can... any of this would be justification to make him sell his team. Any of it. But now? Doc Rivers, a black man, is the highest paid coach in the NBA at $7 million a year. The NAACP is handing him lifetime achievement awards like they were Snickers bars on Halloween night. I understand the man is like 175 years old, but do you understand that this blatant racist was one month away from having his second NAACP Lifetime Achievement Award? He was being praised as this very tape was being recorded for his donations to said NAACP and other minority charities. Hell, the girl he was dating who made the tape is half black and half Hispanic for crying out loud. Now you want to take his team from him because of things that he said in the privacy of his home!?!? You have positively got to be kidding me.
Don't wait for me to praise your race relations here, NBA and Daniel Silver. You are a joke and a fraud. You stood silently by while this mans actions led real people to actually suffer. Don't ask me to respect you (which I used to) Doc Rivers because you're too good to pick up the phone now. Why don't you answer the damn thing and ask him how much of that $7 million you took from his hand came from the rent he collected from the Koreans he preferred to rent to over blacks because they would tolerate whatever conditions he gave them. Why not ask him that? I wonder what the young black kid in the ghetto thinks as he watched you on tv coaching for the man that wouldn't rent his family a decent apartment. I wonder if he's impressed by this hard stance you've suddenly developed now that the whole world knows the character of the highest bidder you sold your soul too. And now you won't answer the phone. Gee, what a civil rights warrior you are, huh? Perhaps you can pick up that recently vacated NAACP Lifetime Achievement award for suffering through the ringtone without accepting the call. It seems to be far more than your boss ever did for his. And don't try to tell me that you didn't know about his past when you took the job. Am I supposed to believe that your agent landed you, a black man, a job working for a man with a 3 time track record of racial discrimination without your knowledge and he isn't hunting for a new client? I'm not buying it.
Families with cash in hand can't get an apartment and the NBA doesn't care. Players are paraded naked like zoo animals in front of women and not a peep from the NBA. But one tape tarnishes your (dare I say) Sterling reputation and now all of a sudden, something has to be done? I call bullshit. You created and enabled this monster, and I hope you have to live with him. You sat by while his indiscretions affected poor black families that didn't have the access to put their misfortunes into the living rooms of millions of Americans, you should have to deal with the squawking of his disgruntled bimbo.
And don't even get me started on Silver's response to the reporter who asked him about all of these things I discussed here. Silver wants to hide behind his legalese saying that those lawsuits were either settled or lost so they couldn't do anything about it. Oh, you want me to play dumb? You want me to act like it is a valid point? Sorry, not today. What successful lawsuit or court action do you have here and now? None. So why didn't you make this girl go to court like the families and employees he mistreated had to do? Then when he settled this case, you could still claim he hasn't lost yet and keep him around for another 30 years. What a joke.
This is on former commissioner David Stern and his former assistant and current successor Adam Silver. Your actions today don't absolve you of your share of the blame for his actions yesterday. This woman you rescued today has a $4 million house that Sterling bought her while the rest of the folks with her racial background couldn't even rent an apartment. I think she will be okay without your help. How many families aren't doing quite as well because you were so late in bringing it?
But what in the world does all of this have to do with you, and why should you be afraid? Mr. Sterling will either have a long court battle ahead of him for his racist comments that he made in the privacy of his own home. Think about that for a second. You're likely to say "Why should I worry, Steve? I'm not a racist." Are you sure of that? Did you happen to catch what Hank Aaron said a couple of weeks ago?
"We can talk about baseball. Talk about politics. Sure, this country has a black president, but when you look at a black president, President Obama is left with his foot stuck in the mud from all of the Republicans with the way he's treated. We have moved in the right direction, and there have been improvements, but we still have a long ways to go in the country. The bigger difference is that back then they had hoods. Now they have neckties and starched shirts."
Seriously? That's the "bigger difference?" Let's skip the part where he seems to think that having a different political point of view than a black man is racism, and get to that part. The part where the biggest difference he sees is the Republicans have starched shirts and ties instead of the hoods of the KKK. The Republicans are hanging up votes and nominations. The KKK hung people! But that, apparently, is a minor and insignificant difference to Mr. Aaron. And before you think his views on the link between political affiliation and racism are isolated, consider what Bomani Jones said on the Dan Patrick show. He stated that Silver isn't the only racist in the league, but the other ones were smart enough not to make these statements. Well, if they are smart enough not to say it, than how do we know who they are? (See video below at 5:05)
Now what you'll find with these guys that's different with Sterling is who they give their money to. The political donations that they make and everything else. Sterling's mistake was just putting this in plain words as opposed to everybody else who does it through who they donate their money to.
Sure, you may not tell your girlfriend not to socialize with blacks. But have you ever voted in an election that featured a black candidate and you voted for the "other than black" option? You're a racist. But hey, the voting booth is private. You can go in there, pull that curtain, and lie through your teeth when you come out. But think about this, NBA owners. Think long and hard before you go cast your vote on the fate of Silver's ownership of the Clippers. You might have no fear of your personal conversations being made public. You might never have said a single solitary thing that could be used against you in a court of public opinion. Did you donate to Mitt Romney in 2012? Whatcha gonna do when they come for you? Be aware of what you are doing here... and be afraid. Be very afraid.
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