Chris Rock, who is one of my favorite comedians, made a simple yet poignant observation the tiger that performed in Siegfried and Roy’s illusion Las Vegas show that attacked Roy Horn during a sold-out performance in October 2003. Rock said “everybody’s mad at the tiger, talking about the tiger went crazy, that tiger didn’t go crazy, that tiger went tiger”. Now what does a tiger attacking someone has to do with Trinidad James, dental plan? I’m glad you asked.
Unless you’ve completely tuned out anything sports related this weekend I am sure that bye now you have heard about Donald Sterling’s the (for now) owner of the Los Angeles Clippers, infamous racist remarks. That was presumably leaked by his half Black and half Mexican jump off. For those that may not be familiar with Donald Sterling and this is your first time even hearing his name, this is nothing new, as a matter of fact it’s pretty much par for the course.
Sterling who is really notoriously cheap is nothing more than a slum lord whose nickname is Slumlord Billionaire. He’s a made his fortune by building low-income housing, and then, according to a Justice Department lawsuit, developing his own racial quota system to decide who gets the privilege of renting his properties. In November of 2009, Sterling settled the suit with the US Department of Justice for $2.73 million; the largest ever obtained by the government in discrimination case involving apartment rentals. Sterling who has preferred not to rent to non-Koreans in Korea town as well as saying hell-no to African-Americans looking for property in Beverly Hills. And he once famously said says he did not like to rent to “Hispanics” because “Hispanics smoke, drink and just hang around the building.” He also stated that “black tenants smell and attract vermin.”
That’s not to mention the various examples of his bigotry. One such example, NBA legend Elgin Baylor who who spent 22 years as Clippers general manager, sued Sterling and others in February 2009 in L.A. Superior Court for wrongful termination and discrimination on the basis of age and race. Baylor also Baylor alleged Sterling said he wanted the Clippers to be “composed of ‘poor black boys from the South’ and a white head coach.” Getting back to the Chris Rock, tiger reference, Sterling didn’t act out of character, he was acting in character.
One could only wonder, why someone who has a deep rooted hatred for minorities, particularly African Americans and has been publicly entangled in numerous race-related lawsuits is still allowed to own a sports team, let alone any business, of any kind. While this is a black eye in the NBA’s eye, this is a case of the chicken’s returning home. David Stern the NBA’s former commissioner was known to be PR-conscious when it came to the players. Dictating everything from where players hang out, how players dress, even who they hang with, has repeatedly turned a blind eye to Sterling’s behavior.
Now that Sterling and his antics can no longer be confined to the NBA, Adam Silver, the league’s newest commissioner is placed in a tough position. Whether or not he wants to admit, he works for the owners, the very same owners who stood by while Sterling acted out his “Master” fantasy. And now is forced to basically undo years of standing by, by the league while setting a new precedent.
This also puts the whole Clipper’s team, who happens to be majority black, in a tough position. Do they boycott the rest of the season, like I think they should? Or do they continue to play for a known racist that would rather see majority of them working in cotton fields?
It’s easy for me to say what CP3 and company should do; I’m not in their position. But I do realize that life is bigger than sports, and there comes a time, when you need to stand out on principle. The Clippers can march out to the center of the court and throw down their pre-game sweats and where their jerseys inside out to show they do not agree with their owner, all they want. But until they do something that show’s they mean business, like forfeiting games, the Clippers are basically enabling Sterling’s behavior. Well that’s just my opinion.
What do you think? For those of you that are sports fans, were you surprised about the remarks that Sterling made? Do you think that the Clipper’s should have done more to protest Sterling?
Talk to me, I’ll talk back.