Silver Trumps Sterling: Some Different Takes

Updated: May 1, 2014

Sterling/Stiviano photo courtesy of

 Yes, we know this Donald Sterling affair makes us all feel dirty…both for the skeevy people involved and for all the ensuing moralizing. This story is sucking all the air out of the game room this week, the topic being milked from most angles. But here’s a few aspects that are not getting much play:

  • You see what I did there with the title?…all right, cheap wordplay. But what are the odds of the two main players having such similar names? Just sayin’.
  • As we’ve all been made aware by now, Donald Sterling’s racial bigotry goes back a long way and actually involves harm to people rather than just mere words. It was all in the public record and well-reported…see Bomani Jones in 2006…where were David Stern and the owners then? Sorry but I think Stern owes us some accountability.
  • From Wikipedia/Steve Lipofsky

    Kareem Abdul-Jabbar posted a very well-put commentary about our collective moral outrage, the “Finger-Wagging Olympics”…it’s worth a read. One of his points is that too often our moral indignation is only a function of having our own ox gored, instead of standing against any moral wrong. Speaking of which…

  • If Donald Sterling had been homophobic instead of a racial bigot, would the NBA players have been so morally outraged? Kobe (who BTW registered his disgust with Sterling) got punished but pretty much got a pass when he called a ref ‘that-gay-slur’ during a game. Interesting point to ponder.
  • Although this is beside the point, curiously it seems that Sterling knew he was being recorded which would make the notorious recordings fair game. Two things on this: TMZ has not gotten this far by publishing false or illegal content, their host is a lawyer and they have a clean legal record; Second, if Sterling is dumb or senile enough to knowingly be recorded like this, he’s not fit to be an NBA owner anyway. He’s a clear liability to his partners on many levels.
  • What’s laughable is all the handicapping about who will be the buyer for the Clippers. Names like Magic Johnson, Shawn Combs, Floyd Mayweather, Oprah, David Geffen, Larry Ellison…everybody’s in. The NBA constitution sounds very stacked against Sterling but he didn’t get this far by letting people tell him what to do…let’s hold the phone on the sale just yet, this is totally unprecedented.
  • Adam Silver from

    For this week Adam Silver is The Man in the sports world, a money player who came up large in the big moment. His decision, how he delivered it without equivocation, and its timeliness inspired confidence to the sports world and beyond. With apologies to Karl Malone, for this week Adam Silver is “The Mailman”…he delivered.

  • Another player in all this who’s been lionized is Doc Rivers. While (as expected) he’s been pretty much a rock in a @%&#-storm, it’s hard to hear him say he wasn’t aware of Sterling’s past. Doc is bright, responsible, and balanced (and he even played for Sterling’s Clips in ’91-’92). It’s understandable to have maybe glossed over Sterling while being attracted by the Clipper’s talent level and his contract, but it strains credibility for him to say he was unaware.
  • Sterling’s estranged wife Rochelle is no naif in all this. After initially defending him as not being a racist, she changed course to denounce him and reposition herself. Meanwhile she reportedly has been a party to his discriminatory business practices…she’s been referred to as “The Inspector”.

Yeccch…what a mess, I could use a shower now.

It’s important to deal with this and get it all right. And without trivializing, it’s a shame that it needs to overshadow what so far are some of the best NBA Playoffs in years. Bring on the games.

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