So aside from my annoyance on the amount of time spent on an old man reverting to form, I have a couple of thoughts on how to resolve the Donald Sterling situation.
For those of you who are not-Americans or are Americans who don’t have cable, internet, or electricity, America has spent the past five days talking about an 80 year old former personal injury lawyer who in private conversations with his 31 year old African-American/Hispanic mistress made racists comments about blacks.
The issues in the above paragraph are too many to mention. Sterling, for example is not divorced from his wife. No one seems fussed by that fact. How did the private conversation become public? Sterling has done this before. Oops.
My point is that while his behavior is clearly reprehensible, perhaps we should not be surprised considering the source.
I would like to focus on two elements of the proposed punishments sanctions. (Note: The NBA has just this minute banned Sterling from the NBA for life).
This ban is fine assuming that there was any element of due process. My guess is that if it is similar to bans in MLB (remember George Steinbrenner), Sterling will be able to retain ownership in the team but not be involved in operations.
I think it would have been much better to do two things:
Force Sterling to attend all remaining Clippers games both home and away. Have him sit at center court and announce him along with the players so everyone in the crowd gets a chance to express their view. Might be a bit uncomfortable.
Ultimately, suspending Sterling without forcing him to sell means little. I am pretty sure that the quick ban is due to the other owners reticence in having a real investigation that leads to a forced sale. Why? Once the precedence is set then this could be used against them. I wonder what Marc Cuban is thinking.
So how does this get forced. IMHO there is only one way. That is a Players Strike. Imagine if the players went on strike during the playoffs. Remember that they have been paid all of their salaries for this season, and that the playoffs are the payoff for the owners. Ticket and TV revenue all come NOW.
Imagine the pressure that a strike by the players, 78% of who are African-American would bring on the owners. It may be the only way to force the 3/4 of them required to vote to force Sterling to sell the Clippers.
There is no other way. A proposed fan strike would just cost fans their hard earned money. Advertisers will be back as soon as people stop talking about this which is about five days from now.
If the players go at playoff time then it all goes out the window. Maybe thats why the new NBA commissioner did what he did. Its a response but not the right one.