The NBA Should Have Banned Donald Sterling a Long Time Ago
Uncle Luke, the man whose booty-shaking madness made the U.S. Supreme Court stand up for free speech, gets as nasty as he wants to be for Miami New Times.
Karma finally caught up to Donald Sterling, the slumlord owner of the Los Angeles Clippers. Just when his team is finally thriving and competing for an NBA championship, the man upstairs gave The Donald a good ole kick in the balls.
Yesterday, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver banned Sterling for life after the world got to listen to secretly recorded tapes of the billionaire making racist comments to his ex-girlfriend, V. Stiviano, a woman who is of Mexican and African-American descent.
For many black people, banishing Sterling from being associated with the NBA is akin to union soldiers liberating slaves on a plantation during the Civil War.
But it's sad the NBA didn't boot Sterling a long time ago. It's even sadder that the NAACP and some of the former and current players, coaches, and team owners had embraced this nasty bigot for such a long time.
My friend and ESPN columnist Jemele Hill, who is African American, tipped me off to a 2009 investigative piece she helped research about Sterling that appeared in ESPN, The Magazine. In the story, many of the characters currently condeming Sterling didn't have a problem with the man, who at the time had been exposed as a vile racist. He was so vicious to his minority tenants he paid a record $2.7 million to the Department of Justice to settle a disrcimination lawsuit.
The article recounted, among other atrocities, how one of Sterling's tenants, an elderly black woman named Kandynce Jones, was living in a flooded apartment caused by a serious leak in building, owned by the Clippers' don. When Sterling was told Jones wanted to be reimbursed for the water damage and her ruined property, he replied, "I am not going to do that. Just evict the bitch."
This man has committed just about every wicked act there is. He degraded women and offered to pay them for sexual favors. He committed sexual harassment and adultery. He cheated people out of money.
Those allegations didn't stop NBA celebs from praising Sterling. Mark Cuban, owner of the Dallas Mavericks, told the magazine: "I like Donald. He plays by his own rules." Yet, minutes after Silver banned Sterling, Cuban tweeted: "I agree 100% with Commissioner Silvers findings and the actions taken against Donald Sterling."
Cuban is not the only hypocrite. Current Golden State Warriors Head Coach Mark Jackson told ESPN, The Magazine he "never had a problem" with Sterling when he played for the Clippers from 1992 to 1994 or at any other time during his playing career. He added, "I heard about the housing case -- what can I do about that?" Three days ago, Jackson was telling Clippers fans to protest by staying home for game five at the Staples Center in Los Angeles.
The NBA head honchos are also bear responsibility for allowing Sterling to go unchecked. At his press conference yesterday, Silver said Sterling's comments "are deeply offensive and harmful" and "are contrary to the principles of inclusion and respect that form the foundation of our diverse, multi-cultural and multi-ethnic league."
However, Silver's predecessor David Stern did nothing to sanction Sterling when his despicable acts against his minority tenants were exposed. Instead, Stern rewarded him by letting him snatch Chris Paul after vetoing a trade that would have sent the all-star point guard to the L.A. Lakers.
Everyone who enabled Sterling is now trying to save face.
The irony is that Silver says he is going to get the owners to force Sterling to sell the Clippers, allowing him to make billions of dollars. That's not right.
My wife owns a Wing Stop franchise. If she pulled some similar shit, Wing Stop would revoke the franchise outright. She would not be allowed to sell the name and make money off the deal. Wing Stop would take the name and all she would be left with is the equipment and the leases.
The same rule should apply to Sterling. It's time to stop him from making a profit off the people he hates.
Tune into Luke on the Andy Slater Show every Tuesday from 2 to 5 p.m. on Miami's Sports Animal, 940 AM.
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter