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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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