I don't drift from Bulls news too frequently on this blog, but the Donald Sterling scenario is one I needed to comment on. It's an odd story that might be heading towards a good ending, after all, a racist is exposed and headed out of the NBA, if not as an owner, at least as a participant in anything related to what he owns.
However, it's a winding trail with how we got there, now full of finger pointing all over the place. Who should we really point the finger at? Ourselves. As a society, we're a bunch of idiots on this one, and no one looks good coming out of it.
Adam Silver's coming out looking pretty good initially, but should he? How hard was this decision? He probably went to the NBA's team of lawyers and said "what's the worst we can do to this guy" and then did it. I doubt it took more than five minutes to figure out he wanted to go that route. The rest was just some research into what the worst was.
The NBA may have wanted to do this earlier, Sterling has likely always been the embarrassing uncle of the owners. The one they wanted to pretend wasn't in the family but couldn't get rid of. However, they didn't push to do so when they thought it might cause negative publicity and have little chance for success. In other words, their decision on Sterling was business oriented not morally oriented.
It took the public mandate to get this done. That shows how powerful a real public mandate it is. That's why it's our fault, the public's fault, this wasn't done earlier. People will argue they didn't know, fair enough, I can understand why you wouldn't unless you lived in an area where Sterling was a common story.
However, the players certainly knew. That's why they don't look any better than the NBA.
Doc Rivers, who's outraged and could never coach again for this man, absolutely knew prior to signing his contract there. Chris Paul definitely knew what he was getting into prior to deciding to stay with the Clippers.
I don't blame them for taking the money, it was probably just a little voice that they wanted to deny and didn't want to think about. They likely barely ever interacted with him, and I'm sure he managed not to be a racist asshole to their faces. Even racists realize that it isn't acceptable in society right now and will cover it up.
That said, they still knew. Elgin Baylor sued the guy for racial discrimination. This wasn't a secret held by the NBA, the players were all in on it as well and are just as culpable for supporting him.
What sucks is society has taken this view:
The fact that he doesn't mind if his mixed girlfriend [he's married by the way] sleeps with Magic Johnson as long as she doesn't take pictures with him at a game to post on instagram is a fricken outrage to these guys.
Not the fact that he's cheating on his wife [hey NBA players can get in on that too], nor the fact that his housing discrimination has actually very negative impact on actual black families.
Nope, we're upset about some meaningless words in a crazy rant, which was clearly set up by this woman in an attempt to extort him.
Sorry Adam, sorry Doc, sorry Chris, sorry John Q public, we don't have any moral high ground, we're all piling on when it's easy. Chris Paul, you're the head of the players association and knew damn well what this guy was about and took his money rather than rallying players to toss him out.
It's good that Sterling will be ostracized and hopefully lose his team. However, Adam Silver shouldn't get a whole lot of extra credit for doing what he did. He did the maximum, but he also did the minimum. He did it while there was no risk.
The players will hopefully be rid of a racist owner, but they shouldn't engage in so much hand shaking and good cheer about it. You're the ones who had the best chance to make this happen earlier and didn't.
Justice was served, but it was a backwards, half-assed, accidental kind of justice.
The public did what the public does. Out of all the things Sterling's said or done in his life, it kind of sucks that this crazy rant [that makes me wonder if he's even mentally stable] is the thing that does him in.
The fact that he could get away with meaningful racism his whole life without suffering any real punishment but gets knocked off over someone publicly extorting him and setting him up exposes both how powerful and insane the public mandate is.
It's a facebook/twitter information age society, and so once this story went viral it was over for Sterling. I don't know any way to fix it the public's reaction to a real issue.
Nor am I better than anyone else. In fact, I'm probably worse. I bury my head to almost all news that isn't sports related. I haven't been lobbying for the Clippers to get rid of Sterling either.
I'm piling on like everyone else.
I'm glad he's going to be gone. I'm embarrassed about how we got here. I'm embarrassed for the NBA, the players, and the public. However, I'm probably most embarrassed for myself, because like everyone else, this story will open my eyes for awhile, but they'll slowly shut again. The outrage won't stick, I'll go on to writing about whether the Bulls should amnesty Boozer or trade Jimmy Butler.
I'll quietly stick my head back in the sand with the rest of society until the next topic worthy of outrage creeps up. That's really what's wrong. We aren't fighting this [or any other important public battle on a long standing issue]. Just when a smoking gun is waved in our faces long enough that we'd feel stupid not to say something about it.
[p.s. I've had three hours of sleep in the last forty hours, so I apologize in advance if I read this later and it comes out like incoherent rambling, there is a point I was trying to get across, but I wouldn't be surprised if in my present not so thinking clearly state I didn't do so correctly. I had already waited a day longer than I wanted to write this piece and didn't want to put it off another day]
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