I Solved the Donald Sterling Problem

Tuesday, April 29, 2014 | 0 Comment(s)

By now, unless you actively ignore any news that is sport and/or race related, you've probably heard of Donald Sterling.  For those of you who haven't, I will give you the five sentence run-down.

Donald Sterling and his estranged wife Rochelle own the L.A. Clippers basketball team, as well as a continent's worth of other holdings.  Donald also has a long track record of racism, including being sued for racially profiling potential tenants for his residential properties (oh, the wife may be estranged, but she's a horrible racist too fyi). Recently, Donald was chatting with his half-Black half-Mexican mistress about how he firmly disapproves of her posting pictures of herself talking, walking, or in any way associating herself with Black people.  And not just "run of the mill" Black people either. We're talking famous sportsmen such as Matt Kemp (LA Dodgers) and Magic friggin Johnson!!!

The catch here, as you might imagine, is that the mistress, V. Stiviano (yes, she changed her name to "V period") decided to record this 15-minute conversation chocked full of some of the most elaborately spun webs of old-timey racism with just that perfect soupçon of "I'm not a racist" modern racism.  If you still want more information into the background of this crumbling empire, read about it here.

But I'm a solutions guys.  I have no interest in looking backward at the offense, I want to move forward into rectifying this hullabaloo.  And I'm not the only one.

It's hard to tell who is the most offended by Donald Sterling.  The players on his team (almost all Black) certainly rank right up there.  His African-American coach is on the list as well.  The NBA.  The fans.  Pretty much everybody believes that the only way to seek justice in this case is to force Sterling to sell the team.  The problem with that solution, unfortunately, is that the NBA's executive structure, much the same as Wall St., insurance agencies, and the NCAA, is rigged to protect the richest investors from almost any and all sanctions.  Which leaves us at our current impasse.

Which I've solved.  Your welcome.

For you non-sport's fans I should quickly mention that the LA Clippers basketball team is currently in the NBA playoffs.  For now.  When they lose, and this whole shit-show of a distraction is not helping their chances, the current season will be over.

The new league commissioner, Adam Silver, seems focused on sanctioning Donald Sterling directly, probably with a huge fine (which I promise you won't affect what color Sterling paints his new boat) and an indefinite suspension from attending any of his team's future games.  Crazy stuff.  But also, I believe, misguided.

As I've seen it written elsewhere, I believe the NBA is the players' league.  Sure the team owners are mostly white and über-mega-rich. But the next echelon down the labor ladder, the work force if you will, are almost all still über-rich minorities.  Instead of attacking the man up on his lonely pedestal, I suggest the commissioner firmly asserts himself on the side of the players.  And here's how.

You start the news conference with what the public is expecting.  You fine him a million bucks.  Maybe 2 million.  Whatever.  You tell him there is no more going to his own games.  That one will actually sting the megalomaniac a bit.  And then, just as the mumbles and murmurs in the audience begin . . . right when the commissioner starts hearing whispers of 'that's it' and 'he got off easy', Adam Silver should drop this bomb:

"Also, considering the recent hostile comments made by the owner of the LA Clippers, it is impossible to ignore the fact that for some, if not all, of his players and staff, this behavior constitutes a hostile work environment.  Therefore, it is the decision of the league to allow all Clippers' players and staff who no longer wish to remain affiliated with this franchise a one-time opportunity to opt-out of their existing contracts with the team at the upcoming conclusion of the 2013-2014 season." 

Perhaps Sterling could change the team name to the L.A. Ghost Town for the 2014-2015 season, because I don't see him putting together a full roster, let alone a coaching staff.  And, in the slim chance that Donald can throw enough money at the problem to scrap together a team of players oblivious to race issues, who is gonna show up to watch them play?  The fans are already considering not attending the playoff game today . . . I don't think they'll have any problem passing on overpriced tickets to watch a glorified group of White D-leagers play an actual NBA franchise. In fact, the Ghost Town's new mascot could be an empty Staples Center costume.

The point here is that instead of trying to force an unrepentant racist to somehow birth a conscience, the commissioner needs to instead focus on empowering the groundswell of public support against this morally reprehensible behavior.  Let the players and fans throw their money around.  That way, when Donald Sterling is forced, out of financial necessity, to sell his dying franchise, the cause and effect of his actions will be impossible to ignore.  I'm not implying that this professional asshat will learn his lesson, but then again, I don't really give a shit about Donald Sterling. What this ruling would do is send an emphatic message on subject of race and what the American people will no longer tolerate in 2014.

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