Right now the National Basketball Association playoffs are well underway, as are the Stanley Cup Playoffs in the National Hockey League. It’s a good time to be a sports fan, but all we’re going to hear about in the next week are the tape-recorded remarks of Donald Sterling, the 80 year-old owner of the Los Angeles Clippers. Sterling’s girlfriend, who looks young enough to be his granddaughter, tape recorded remarks that were released by TMZ. It appears that Sterling is upset about his girlfriend’s association with black people. Excerpts from Sterling’s remarks include:
“It bothers me a lot that you want to broadcast that you’re associating with black people. Do you have to?”
“You can sleep with [black people]. You can bring them in, you can do whatever you want. The little I ask you is not to promote it on that … and not to bring them to my games.”
“I’m just saying, in your lousy f******* Instagrams, you don’t have to have yourself with, walking with black people.”
“…Don’t put him [Magic Johnson] on an Instagram for the world to have to see so they have to call me. And don’t bring him to my games.”
In 2009 Sterling received the Los Angeles Chapter of the NAACP’s lifetime achievement award. Sterling was scheduled to receive another lifetime achievement award next month. Asked about the reason for Sterling’s awards, Leon Jenkins, NAACP chapter president said the NAACP “decided to honor Sterling because of “a body of work”. Mr. Sterling’s organization has on a consistent basis brought in the minority community. He has also over the years contributed to a number of minority charities. Compared to other L.A. franchises, his organization gave more money than the others.”
Of course, since this story broke investigators have unearthed all kinds of racist remarks attributable to Donald Sterling. You can’t turn on ESPN for 10 minutes without hearing about Sterling’s racism. Everyone, from Charles Barkley to Michael Jordan (and of course Obama) has weighed in. Sterling is branded a bigot and a racist. God only knows what they would have called him if he had used the “N” word! There is talk that Sterling may be forced by the Commissioner of the NBA to sell his team. Sterling has been likened by some to a plantation owner, who made his fortune off of the toil of his black athletes. It has been intimated that Sterling’s remarks are proof positive that racial relations in the United States are no better than they were 50 years ago. Yes, the worst scourge on the face of the earth now has a name; Donald Sterling. Hogwash!
It is my opinion that Sterling’s remarks have gotten too much press. The story is pretty simple; an 80-year old letch who happens to own a professional basketball team, apparently has a problem with black people. If his comments define him as a bigot or a racist, then I guess that’s what he is. I’m certainly not in agreement with Sterling’s sentiments toward black people, but does anybody think for a second that we have uncovered in Donald Sterling the last known bigot in the United States? Is bigotry illegal? Is the man entitled to his opinion, no matter how unsavory? Should his property rights of NBA franchise ownership be abridged based on his opinions? Is Donald Sterling so important on this planet that his bigotry deserves such worldwide recognition? I think not.
Consider this; the journalists, politicians, and celebrities that aren’t letting this story go (it sells papers and TV ratings) may be the quiet racists in the corner. They won’t let racism die and instead prefer to fan the flames of racism, at least until their ratings fade away. Let’s not give this old clown any more recognition. What we really have here is a silly old man who couldn’t keep his mouth shut. That’s it…there ain’t no more.