Tag Archive | "racism"

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In the Sterling-Silver Saga, NBA was wrong

Posted on 30 April 2014 by Tony Wisniewski

Donald Sterling is a racist–didn’t you know?

Apparently he’s been a racist, bigot, sexist, and virtual scumbag for decades.  Just ask Elgin Baylor and Danny Manning.

But if you think that NBA Commissioner Adam Silver made the right decision, I’m sorry, but you’re wrong.  You’re wrong because you’re letting emotion cloud your judgement and your ability to look at the ramifications.

Should Sterling have been booted from The League?  Sure, but as my good friend Brian put it, “it should have happened years ago, but not for this.”  Oh, and in case you’re wondering, yes, Brian is African American.

In fact, allow me to share his full thoughts on the matter.  Brian and I often banter back-and-forth that white people tend to use the “I have black friends” card when approaching a topic of race.  In some ways, sharing his thoughts is my way of playing that card–but only for the fact that he’s one of the smartest and level-headed dudes I’ve ever met.  In essence, I don’t respect his opinion and share it because of his skin color, rather it’s because of his societal acumen and natural intelligence.

Unfortunately race is a sensitive issue, still, even in 2014.  But that doesn’t mean we should shy away from it.  In fact, it’s incumbent upon anyone involved in sports to hit racial issues head on.  Here’s what Brian had to say via email:

“Ok now onto Sterling.. This is going to get long so you may want to use the restroom, take care of personal phone calls first, etc. Ok with Sterling I FEEL NO SYMPATHY AT ALL!!! and this is an example of “chickens coming home to roost” Sterling has a 30 year history of being a despicable vile racist. And not the oh my gosh he said something crazy on radio for ratings type racist (I’m looking at you Imus and Limbaugh) but a did real damage to real people with institutional racism. I remember reading about his antics and history back in ’06 when they covered his not one but two historical housing discrimination suits that he lost (he didn’t admit guilt just paid a California record in damages) But the sworn testimony is jaw dropping. And if you read the testimony from his other lawsuits you sit back and go man this guy is a scumbag. Now does this mean he should have his team stripped b/c he essentially told his jump off to stop embarrassing him in front of his country club friends by flaunting the fact that she is banging every young black athlete this side of Adam Jones? No he shouldn’t lose it for that (sidenote: I had no problem with the tape – I was actually a little disappointed b/c knowing Sterling’s history when I heard racist rant I thought he was going to go grand wizard on his and drop every slur know to man like Uncle Ruckus from the Boondocks- he didn’t even use a slur). So no in a vaccuum he should not lose the team for that. Now he should lose the team for the other stuff. This is Al Capone going to jail for tax evasion and not the hundreds of people he killed.”

So to sum up, it is kind of messed up that he is banned for life and losing his team for THIS!! But he has a trunk full of evil deeds that can be substituted. I wish I was mature enough to stand up for the rights of the most despicable out there but I’m not (at least not in a lot of cases). But sometimes I just give in to street justice. For example I could see 4 cops  batoning the hell out of a handcuffed Jerry Sandusky I would not only walk by and not say or report anything but I would probably testify in open court that he attacked them first. That is the wrong side to be on b/c rules should apply to everyone and the past crimes of a person doesn’t mean they waive away their present “rights” I just hope there are more mature people then me to weigh in on that and do the right thing. But for me and with Donald Sterling I say turn him over to the mob and let them do as they wish.

Like he said, Sterling deserves what he gets, but not for this incident. If the NBA needed to make this move to remove a classless bigot, it should have referred to the continued problems and issues, rather than giving into public pressure, player outcry, and the media.

 Adam Silver made the wrong decision simply because it wasn’t his decision.  It was a decision that was made under pressure and one that paved the way the “slippery slope” that Mavericks owner, Mark Cuban, alluded to, Drew Forrester opined about this morning  to and I wrote about yesterday.

Donald Sterling doesn’t deserve sympathy.  In fact, this isn’t even about Donald Sterling.  It’s about the preservation of the freedom to say and think the way you wish and desire–even if it’s something that most of us don’t support or condone.

If I don’t like people that wear blue shirts, it isn’t right to take my house away.  If I hate cat ladies and all they stand for, you can’t confiscate my dog.  And, if I don’t want to support gay marriage, or in contrast, I am married to a man, you can’t just up and take my business away and tell me I’m not allowed to be part of the rotary club.  It doesn’t work that way, not in 2014.  And, the decision to yank Sterling’s franchise from him is as irresponsible and antiquated-in-logic as saying that “minorities shouldn’t come to games.”

Should Donald Sterling have been punished?  I guess.  But more in the way of advertisers choosing not to affiliate with him, players refusing to sign in LA, and coaches–like Doc Rivers–refusing to work for him.  In fact, just last week, the NAACP planned on giving Sterling a Lifetime Achievement Award.  Interesting, considering that Sterling has been a racist and well-known bigot for a long, long time.

Organizations shunning a guy and pulling their ad dollars is more than appropriate.  Fining a guy over private comments and confiscating what purchased with his own money, that’s flat-out wrong because it opens the door to absolute power and dictation.

You might ask, does Sterling deserve to own a professional sports franchise? That’s really not up for debate, simply because if you have the money–as Snoop in The Wire would say–”deserve’s got nothin’ to do with it.”

Adam Silver was wrong.  The NBA just opened the door to dictating thought and opinion; and that’s a scary and dangerous path to go down.  Donald Sterling is a racist.  He doesn’t deserve sympathy.

He doesn’t deserve anything–and that includes having his franchise taken from him for this incident alone.

 

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Donald Sterling’s lifetime ban the right move by NBA Commissioner Adam Silver

Posted on 29 April 2014 by johngallo

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver got it right by banning Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling for life from the league after his remarks about blacks created widespread outrage.

Sterling’s banned from attending Clippers’ games and practices. He’s banned from the Clippers’ facility and from making any team or personnel decisions. He’s banned from attending the NBA Board of Governors’ meetings or any league activity. He was fined $2.5 million, the most allowed under the NBA’s Constitution. Silver also said he would urge NBA owners and the Board of Governors to force Sterling to sell the team, which he bought in 1981.

“The views expressed by Mr. Sterling are deeply offensive and harmful,” Silver said, adding the NBA’s investigation and Sterling confirmed it was the owner’s voice on the controversial phone call where the racist remarks were made. “That they came from an NBA owner only heightens the damage and my personal outrage. Sentiments of this kind are contrary to principle of inclusion and respect that form the foundation of our diverse multicultural and multiethnic league.”

Silver took everything he could from Sterling, who now owns the Clippers in name only.

But Sterling’s rant is part of a much bigger picture, as it shows racism remains prevalent in sports. No matter the stance sports takes, racism keeps rearing its ugly head.

What Sterling said may not be worse than any racial remarks that have been said through the years but that would be like arguing cancer is a worse disease than AIDS.

Racism should have no part in sports, except it does. It’s a part of society we wish would go away, but we know it never will. It’s like crime – something we never want to happen, but know it’s just a matter of time until a bloodied body is found on the street. We just hope we’re not the victim.

Sterling’s words are just the latest in a long string of racist comments that never seems to end.

How is Sterling any different from when the late Marge Schott, who called Eric Davis and Dave Parker her “million-dollar [n-word]” in February 1993 when she owned the Reds? She said she was joking. Racism isn’t funny.

Eagles receiver Riley Cooper said “I will fight every [n-word] here” at a security guard while attending a Kenny Chesney concert in June 2013. His punishment? He couldn’t participate in practice. He said he got fined “a good amount of money.” He attended counseling. But after apologizing publically, he was good on the field – so good he was rewarded with a five-year, $25 million deal. Apparently, it doesn’t really hurt to use the n-word, as long as you can go out and post 835 yards receiving and eight touchdowns.

And what about Don Imus calling the Rutgers women’s basketball team “some nappy-headed hoes” in April 2007? He lost his job, but he got it back.

It’s up to us – sports fans, society, human beings – to determine how long Sterling, a guy who was about to receive his second award from the NAACP before he blasted blacks, is punished.

But based on history, those punishments vary greatly, as the court of public opinion make some offenders pay dearly, while others get a slap on the wrist.

Shaquille O’Neal skewered Sterling like a shish kabob on TV. But let’s not get amnesia. Remember what O’Neal, who had recently received an NAACP Young Leaders Award, said about the Houston Rockets’ Chinese center Yao Ming in December 2002? “Tell Yao Ming, ‘Ching chong yang, wah, ah soh.’”

What’s worse? Saying something racist about an entire ethnic group or directing it toward one person? Racism is racism is racism.

But at least O’Neal apologized.

Fuzzy Zoeller apologized, too. But apologies aren’t panaceas; they don’t cure everything. They simply attempt to clean a stain, which is often permanent.

When I think of Zoeller, a two-time major champion, I think of what he said after Tiger Woods dominated The Masters in 1997.

“You pat him on the back and say congratulations and enjoy it and tell him not to serve fried chicken next year. Got it? Or collard greens or whatever the hell they serve.”

It still sounds just as bad as it did 17 years ago.

And 17 years from now, what Greek track star Voula Papachristou tweeted in July 2012 will be just bad.

“With so many Africans in Greece… the West Nile mosquitoes will at least eat homemade food!!!”

The Greek Olympic Committee prohibited her from competing in the London Games because her comments were against the Olympic spirit.

Not to mention the human spirit..

Olympic sprinter Michael Johnson credited slavery, in part, for helping him win four Olympic gold medals and eight World Championships.

“All my life I believed I became an athlete through my own determination, but it’s impossible to think that being descended from slaves hasn’t left an imprint through the generations,” he said in 2012. “Difficult as it was to hear, slavery has benefited descendants like me – I believe there is a superior athletic gene in us.”

Is that offensive? What if a Caucasian said slavery benefitted blacks? He would be…oh wait.

“The black is a better athlete to begin with because he’s been bred to be that way – because of his high thighs and big thighs that goes up into his back, and they can jump higher and run faster because of their bigger thighs. This goes back all the way to the Civil War when during the slave trading, the owner – the slave owner would breed his big black to his big woman so that he could have a big black kid.”

Who said that on NFL Today on Jan. 16, 1988?

Jimmy “the Greek” Snyder.

He was fired by CBS.

But John Rocker didn’t lose his job – just a 14-day suspension and a $500 fine for his derogatory comments about homosexuals, minorities and foreigners in Sports Illustrated in December 1999.

“I would retire first [before playing for a New York team]. It’s the most hectic, nerve-racking city. Imagine having to take the [Number] 7 train to the ballpark, looking like you’re [riding through] Beirut next to some kid with purple hair next to some queer with AIDS right next to some dude who just got out of jail for the fourth time right next to some 20-year-old mom with four kids. It’s depressing.”

“The biggest thing I don’t like about New York are the foreigners. I’m not a very big fan of foreigners. You can walk an entire block in Times Square and not hear anybody speaking English. Asians and Koreans and Vietnamese and Indians and Russians and Spanish people and everything up there. How the hell did they get in this country?”

The question I have is: How is Rocker still in this country?

It remains to be seen if Sterling will continue to own the Clippers, who have evolved into a cause just as much as a team. But if Sterling wants – or is forced out – of the NBA, I have someone he can call: Don “Moose” Lewis.

In January 2010, Lewis announced he wanted to start the All-American Basketball Alliance, a 12-team league consisting only of Caucasian players because Lewis claimed he didn’t “hate anyone of color. But people of white, American-born citizens are in the minority now. Here’s a league for white players to play fundamental basketball, which they like.”

Sterling would feel right at home.

Just as long as players don’t bring African Americans to games.

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The Donald Sterling Story isn’t a tragedy — Yet

Posted on 29 April 2014 by Tony Wisniewski

Forget what you’ve heard about the Donald Sterling story; the tragedy hasn’t happened yet.

Racism, bigotry and prejudice are merely a backdrop to what’s coming.

The remarks made by the embattled Clippers owner are disappointing, but hardly earth-shattering. At the end of the day, the world–friends of Sterling and everyone else–discovered that Sterling isn’t who they thought he was.

Much like the world didn’t think Tiger Woods was a sex addict, didn’t realize that Ben Roethlisberger was the type of guy who would assault a woman in a hotel room, and never would have imagined that Lance Armstrong was a stone-faced liar.

People, especially those we only think we know, often turn out differently than we expected. The Sterling-saga isn’t the first of its nature and it surely won’t be the last. Remember Don Imus and the “nappy-headed hos” comment? It was stupid. Just like what Sterling said–stupid.

And the only thing that can make this whole situation more stupid, and potentially tragic, would be to force the sale of the LA Clippers franchise.

Suggest the sale? Sure, that’s fine. Recommend the sale? Yea, that’s fair. Force the sale? Oh, wow, that’s a major, major problem.

By forcing the sale of a professional sports franchise, based on recordings recovered by gossip-based media outlets like TMZ would be irresponsible, stupid, and essentially tragic. Yes, tragic; it could be that bad.

If professional sports leagues–or any sort of organization–were to have the power to start dictating who must sell or forfeit their privately-owned businesses and teams, based on their words, thoughts, and beliefs, it would be a major infringement on our culture and a dangerous challenge to freedom.

Let’s backtrack for a minute. Did Donald Sterling threaten anyone? Did he specifically use words and slang terms that could incite retaliation and potential violence? Did he violate any labor laws?

The answer to all of these questions is “no, no, and no.”

Is Sterling–by most accounts–a racist? Yes. Is he half off-his-rocker? Sure seems like it. Did he offend the general public and essentially sever any and all relationships, both public and private? You betcha.

But he didn’t kill anyone. He didn’t put anyone in danger. He didn’t violate anyone’s personal rights. He made ignorant statements that exposed a narrow-minded view of the world. If ignorance is the new Litmus Test for whether or not an owner should have to forfeit his business or his team, than we’re in incredibly troubling times.

Racism exists in society and so does stupidity. Neither are tragic, they’re merely unfortunate and intolerable to the point of disassociation. But neither are grounds for forfeiture of rights or businesses.

If this is the new precedent, it paves the way for power to drastically fall into the wrong hands. It promotes a lack of diverse thinking and opinion among members of society–even though, in this case, we’re dealing with an opinion and view that the majority of us don’t appreciate and aren’t willing to tolerate. That’s the beauty of freedom, no one truly has to believe or support anything he or she doesn’t want to.

If Donald Sterling wants to be a racist, what’s the issue with that, other than the fact that you and I don’t choose to agree with him?

There’s an easy solution to all of this. Simply don’t tolerate it. Don’t go to Clippers’ games. Don’t buy jerseys. Write letters to advertisers and persuade them to take a stand against Donald Sterling and drop their marketing deals. That’s all part of free speech and the beauty of having your own opinion and the ability to exercise what you believe and think to be right.

There’s a major difference in putting pressure on someone to do something and forcing their hand legally.

The only thing that would trump Donald Sterling’s stupidity and ignorance would be the decision to force him to give up his franchise based solely on the things he said in a private conversation. That’s when this whole situation goes beyond being stupid.

That’s when it shifts toward tragedy.

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