National Basketball Association : Held Hostage By Alleged Statements of Donald Sterling

Adam Silver                    Adam Silver, Commissioner of the N.B.A. (ESPN Photo)



Racism is alleged based on recorded statements. Racism is defined as  actions, practices or beliefs, or social or political systems that consider different races to be ranked as inherently superior or inferior to each other, based on presumed shared inheritable traits, abilities, or qualities. It may also hold that members of different races should be treated differently

The Story…According to Wiki

photoOn April 25, 2014, TMZ Sports released what it said is an April 9, 2014 audio recording of a conversation between Sterling and V. Stiviano. According to TMZ, Sterling and Stiviano argued in regards to a photo Stiviano posted on Instagram in which she posed with Magic Johnson. In the audio recording, Sterling allegedly tells Stiviano: “It bothers me a lot that you want to broadcast that you’re associating with black people.” Clippers president Andy Roesen issued a statement the following day, indicating that his organization was unsure if it was a legitimate and unaltered recording, that the sentiments attributed to Sterling did not reflect Sterling’s views, and that the woman on the recording was being sued by the Sterling family and had “told Mr. Sterling that she would ‘get even'” with him. The Los Angeles chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) cancelled its plans for the following month to award Sterling for a second time with its lifetime achievement award.  President Barack Obama characterized the recording attributed to Sterling as “incredibly offensive racist statements”. Obama then stated, “When ignorant folks want to advertise their ignorance, you don’t really have to do anything, you just let them talk.”


The Background…

In February 2009, Sterling was sued by former longtime Clippers executive Elgin Baylor for employment discrimination on the basis of age and race. The lawsuit alleges Sterling told Baylor that he wanted to fill his team with “poor black boys from the South and a white head coach”. The suit alleges that during negotiations for Danny Manning, Sterling said “I’m offering a lot of money for a poor black kid.” The suit noted those comments while alleging “the Caucasian head coach was given a four-year, $22-million contract”, but Baylor’s salary had “been frozen at a comparatively paltry $350,000 since 2003”.


The Point for the NBA…

Our young people in this nation, when we think about it actually created a digital democracy in 2007/2008 and elected a new president, Barack Obama. Some of the next generation of young people pay attention to news reports — but all are brought to full-attention when sports celebrities are involved.

The alleged comments of Donald Sterling, including the reactions of media, fans, former and current celebrity players, owners of NBA teams are worthy of classroom, home and community discussions in terms of how each perspective fits into today’s American values, career objectives, industries and business opportunities.

Players and fans especially have their “no games face on” as they await the NBA verdict on how-to deal with this scandal and controversy that is bigger than the sport itself. The issue at hand is about “group identity” as much as it is about “personal prejudice”.     It is also about how far we can go today with positive group identities and/or personal prejudices if we are part of popular culture businesses and/or the ‘public trust’. The alleged Donald Sterling comments and deeply felt sentiments implicates on his behalf an embarrassment related to his girlfriend’s associations (group identity) and it getting back to others — in his “social position”.

Most adult African American males spend significant hours and days of their private time vested in programming by the NBA and most young African American males spend years with single minded dreams of being stars at the cost of paying attention to  core and advanced studies to be stars in other competitive  careers.

The NBA comments and frameworks to resolve the scandal/controversy will be telling about class poltics, identity politics, business protocols and the disposition of the American creed with a measurable instrument in our popular culture.    America is beautiful because of our belief in “indivisible rights” and a pluralistic society. Civil rights are defined as the rights to full legal, social, and economic equality extended to blacks. These rights to personal liberty established by the 13th and 14th Amendments to the U.S. constitution and certain Congressional acts, especially as applied to an individual or a minority group.

This does not mean that a person “has to” like everyone or every group in America. It does mean that institutions can not discriminate against people based on race, color, gender or sexual orientation. This bottom line issue related to the Donald Sterling statements is how the NBA,  fans and players will react to his statements  – if they are proven to be in fact his statement on the tapes. The bottom line is also the price paid…for our identity politics today as it can relate to global exposure and consumer affairs. Remember that our television and sport/entertainment media is an international industry and the press asked our president about the scandal on a trip in the Pacific Rim.

Will fans, players and kids identify with the politics of the NBA today when we get the response and will fans, players and kids endorse this franchise the same way in LA  as a business with a management that appears to have 19th century and Antebellum  core values?

What Do You Think?

1) What do your think about the controversy and what do your think should happen to Donald Sterling owner of the Clippers basketball team? 

2) What does this media coverage have to do with the fans, players or NBA in general in your mind?
3) Do you think that many other copycat or secretly recorded tapes will be released about the controversial core values of other influential people  — now that this has received so much national attention?
Please send in your comments


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