Sterling “has to go” — but what about NBA players arrested thus far in 2014?

May 21, 2014 | Drew Forrester

Sterling “has to go” — but what about NBA players arrested thus far in 2014?

Some things, you just can’t figure out.

Granted, a lot of what we’re exposed to these days is carefully crafted by the media presenting the story, but if you’re smart enough to weave through the agenda and the lies, you can figure it out for yourself.

The biggest national story of the last month has been Donald Sterling, who is evidently six days away from officially being expelled from the NBA once the vote from league owners comes down on May 27.

The biggest local story over the last couple of months has been the arrest and subsequent lawyering of Ravens running back Ray Rice.

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said yesterday “we’re doing the right thing” (by chasing Sterling out of the league).  Really?  You’re sure about that?  You’re doing the right thing by caving in to the pressures of your work-force, who, as you’ll read below, shouldn’t be throwing a lot of rocks at Donald Sterling’s glass house?

Rice you probably know by now, was spared possible jail time yesterday by being accepted into a pre-trial intervention program in New Jersey as a result of his February 15 arrest on a domestic violence charge.

There’s still the issue of a potential NFL suspension for Rice, but the more important issue — for him, anyway — is staying out of prison, which his plea agreement will do providing he successfully completes the pre-trial intervention program.

I completely understand the notion that Donald Sterling is a train wreck.  All you have to do is watch the CNN interview with Anderson Cooper to have that idea confirmed.  If you knew nothing at all about Sterling’s history — both in the NBA and as a Southern California slum-lord — you’d watch that CNN piece and still say to yourself, “This guy’s a whack-job”.

That said, if you listened to the leaked audio piece obtained by TMZ and knew nothing at all about Sterling’s history, you might listen and say, “OK, the guy sounds a little desperate for female attention, but he didn’t use the n-word or any other racial epithet.  He’s just trying to get some girl in the sack.”

Ray Rice, meanwhile, struck a female and was arrested for a crime.

I’m not at all saying Rice deserves to go to prison.  Honestly, that’s not for me to decide.  I’d also say I can’t make any real judgment, personally, on the gravity of the Rice-Palmer “incident” unless I saw the actual video tape that shows the altercation.  Without seeing that incident for myself, I can’t say much more other than Rice deserves to be afforded the same legal options/benefits than the next guy or girl who steps in the courtroom.

That said, Ray Rice committed a crime.

Donald Sterling didn’t.

Interestingly enough, though, a handful of folks in the first five months of 2014 DID commit a crime in the NBA.  Raymond Felton (gun), Michael Beasley (vehicular), Dante Cunningham (vehicular, marijuana, domestic violence) and Kendrick Perkins (Assault) were all arrested during the current NBA season.  In case you don’t know, they’re basketball players.

I don’t follow the NBA enough to know how Adam Silver is going to handle those mistakes, but in the case of those four, actual crimes were evidently committed.  Now, let’s remember, they haven’t been found guilty of anything yet, so they’re all in the process of lawyering-up in an effort to avoid the strong arm of the law, but the fact is, they were each arrested for a crime.

Donald Sterling wasn’t arrested for anything.

He was taped, without his knowledge, and that tape was then sold without his approval.  In that tape, he acted like a buffoon and sounded like a guy on Viagra at a cheerleading convention, but in no way, shape or form did he commit a crime.

An 80-year old half-a-loon who is losing his faculties?

Sure.

Criminal?

Not in this case.

Of course, Sterling does have a laundry list of lawsuits and other court-related activities over the years, but none of them involved a gun, drug possession, domestic assault, terroristic threats or anything else various NBA players have been arrested for in 2014.

Ray Rice, meanwhile, slugged his girl, was arrested, and will more than likely play either all or a substantial portion of the upcoming season.

The pressure to “do something” with Sterling is immense, I understand.  The league is made up largely of African American players and even the whisper that a playoff boycott was being discussed forced Silver’s hand.

That doesn’t mean, though, we can’t look at the whole thing and wonder why there’s such outrage over Sterling and hardly a whisper about these miscreants in the league getting arrested.

Here in Baltimore, our star football player has evidently avoided the strong arm of the law and we’re rejoicing.

In Los Angeles, the basketball owner said some stupid stuff in the privacy of his own home and he’s the latest coming of Sirhan Sirhan.

Twelve different NBA players have been arrested in the last 10 months.  No one is chasing them out of the league.

You figure it out.

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8 Comments For This Post

  1. BmoreB Says:

    This is easy to figure out. It’s about, what else ? Money. The NBA was set to lose a ton of advertising dollars and Silver nipped it in the bud so to speak.

    As far as the players go, it’s just so common place that it’s expected that they (some) will break the law at some point. Sad, but true.

  2. unitastoberry Says:

    You got that right about the media. They do craft things these days good or bad.

  3. eddie Says:

    As I’m confident that he will , Don , ( Sterling ) sue the bastards . If Magic Johnson wants a team that bad , let Oprah buy him one . As for Rice , have you seen the JZ elevator tape , sometimes the female starts the fisticuffs . I guess someone has a tape of Rice commiting a crime but I’ve yet to see it . Sterling , be more careful when hiring hookers. (DF: You don’t need to see a tape of Ray Rice committing a crime. You’re not the police investigating it. I’m certain he committed a crime. My point on the severity of it and the punishment “fitting the crime” would be the only reason I would need to see the actual incident itself on video tape. For the most part, though, I’m fine with whatever the law enforcement folks decide is fair with Rice in this situation.)

  4. Robert Says:

    In situations like these, my head spins trying to make sense of what it is that society really wants. I wonder what the other owners will be thinking when they vote him out? I suspect that more than one may have a lingering thought that if Sterling is voted out for a private conversation, might they be next and for what infraction? Cheers. (DF: Agreed. I assume lots of the owners voting “Yes” next week have a skeleton in their closet that would warrant the same kind of faux outrage if, in fact, it became public a la Sterling’s transgression.)

  5. BK Says:

    Let me ask you a question Drew and/or pose a scenario to you. Suppose Nestor got caught on tape saying racial slurs or anything else derogatory for that matter, and the your whole listening community was offended by it, stopped listening to the station, ratings dropped significantly, and almost all of your sponsors pulled out. It then threatened everyone who works there’s jobs and everyone started losing money as a result. If WNST had an agreement in place that allowed the rest of the employees to then vote out Nestor and take control of the company, wouldn’t you consider that option? Also, that option would bring back all of the listeners and sponsors if you did it and things would completely go back to normal, just without Nestor. Would you rather have Nestor run the company into the ground and everyone lose their jobs or income to support their families or pay him a fair market buyout and move forward?

    Nestor did not commit a crime did he, but what is the result of his actions?

    Suppose you got caught and convicted of drinking and driving after leaving Mtn Branch and drinking some wine. You weren’t really drunk, but above the legal limit. Should you have gotten fired for that and should that be the same things as the Nestor scenario with the same repercussions? Should that prevent you from being involved with the Nestor situation? You committed an actual crime but he didn’t. The two things don’t even come close to comparing in this context.

    This is why your reasoning is so far off base with this blog.

  6. Jason Manelli Says:

    First off, Rice was never going to jail. Given the circumstances, and a clean prior record, he or anyone would have gotten the same deal. For Sterling, since day 1 of this scandal something has seemed contrived about it. A surreptitious recording that immediately, within 24 hours of the story breaking nationally, evokes a condemnation from Obama, Michael Jordan and Oprah. I smell a setup. Someone or a group of someones wanted this owner out.

  7. OVER40DON Says:

    Jus t collected $1000 from Vegas on a $10 bet that BK would be offended by this article. He should run for political office in MD and 2 counties and Balt. City would usher him right into office.

  8. The armchair qb Says:

    We can all agree that Sterling is a “whack job” as you note. However, it’s very disconcerting that any citizen in this country can be penalized for a phone conversation in the privacy of his home that is ILLEGALLY taped and disseminated to the media! That should be of concern to EVERY American citizen! In fact, it won’t be surprising if Sterling prevails in his law suits….

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