Tarnished Sterling — EJHill

 

The NBA acted faster than any league in history in banishing one of their own.

It took the better part of six years from the time that Major League Baseball began investigating the controversial utterings of Marge Schott until they finally succeeded in ousting her from the game. It took six months to ban her manager, Pete Rose, for gambling. The Black Sox Scandal, the case that created the modern sports commissioner, dragged on for two years.

For the NBA it took just a matter of days to ban Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling.

But don’t mourn over a the perceived lack of due process. In the end, this is not a criminal law dispute. Each league has its own constitution, a basic agreement between each of the owners and the man that they collectively hire to run the league. Donald Sterling broke that contract and will pay the price, ironically just as his Clippers were becoming a better team than their building mates, the LA Lakers.

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver, like David Stern and Larry O’Brien before him, is a big-time Democratic donor. He is also the head of a league in which 76% of uniformed personnel is African-American. It’s playoff time and nobody’s talking about the games. He had the power and the inclination and he didn’t dither. There’s something to be said for that.

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  1. J Flei Inactive
    J Flei
    @Solon

    I hope the decision helps put the focus back on the games!

    • #1
  2. user_82762 Inactive
    user_82762
    @JamesGawron

    EJ,

    Sterling’s idiocy, exposed by eavesdropping on his latest relationship with his latest cheap girlfriend, is of the highest priority.  Kerry’s trendy antisemitism, Israel=Apartheid, disclosed in a planned speech by the secretary of state to world leaders is just another day in the neighborhood.

    Hey, I’m sure the average Clipper is tall enough to see the top of Sterling’s toupee.  Sorry but I just don’t care.

    Regards,

    Jim

    • #2
  3. Frozen Chosen Inactive
    Frozen Chosen
    @FrozenChosen

    When discussing Sterling, Mark Cuban urged caution because he knows that if  an owner can lose his team for racism today he can lose it for other “sins” tomorrow. 

    I’m sure many of the NBA’s owners support traditional marriage – will they lose their teams when they express those views?  What about those who are against immigration “reform”?

    Cleary Sterling is a major scum-bag who has no moral standards whatsoever and the NBA can decide who owns their franchises but make no mistake, the march of political correctness is speeding up exponentially.

    • #3
  4. Johnny Dubya Inactive
    Johnny Dubya
    @JohnnyDubya

    I couldn’t care less about Donald Sterling or the Clippers or professional basketball, for that matter.  And I don’t wish to defend Sterling, who is apparently a real jerk.  But I do care about the English language and precision in its use, especially when it comes to incendiary accusations.  Countless times over the past couple of days, I have heard Sterling’s recorded comments to his girlfriend described as “racist”. 

    Is it accurate to describe the comments that way?  Did he express the notion that one race is superior to another?  Isn’t his girlfriend of mixed race?  Isn’t his coach African-American–and one of the highest-paid coaches in the league?  Whatever happened to “bigoted” and “prejudiced”–perfectly good words that don’t necessarily connote belief in racial superiority?  If a black father told his daughter that it was OK for her to date a white boy, but that he didn’t want to see her walking around the neighborhood with him, would that best be described as racist or bigoted (or something else entirely)?  How is the preceding scenario different in substance from what Sterling said?

    • #4
  5. user_6236 Member
    user_6236
    @JimChase

    Not to defend a cretin, but per the statement from the NBA, Sterling “violated league rules through his expressions of offensive and hurtful views”.  Also mentioned elsewhere is the “non-published” constitution that the owners abide by.  The only misgivings I have on this are the fact that nobody can (or will) cite the specific rules or agreements that he violated.  I simply have to trust that he violated them and therefore the scope of punishment is warranted.

    He’s a PR disaster, to be sure.  But the mob rule mentality sweeping the nation seeking to destroy any and all with unpopular views (no matter how bad) is bothersome to me.

    • #5
  6. user_1938 Inactive
    user_1938
    @AaronMiller

    I haven’t watched basketball since the Rockets’ heyday. But the league was full of thugs and felons, as I recall. Consequently, this move strikes me more as public relations and political correctness than an act of principle. 

    Would they care if a black player made racist remarks about whites? They wouldn’t fire him for it, I’m pretty sure.

    • #6
  7. Johnny Dubya Inactive
    Johnny Dubya
    @JohnnyDubya

    Jim Chase:

    Not to defend a cretin, but per the statement from the NBA, Sterling “violated league rules through his expressions of offensive and hurtful views”. Also mentioned elsewhere is the “non-published” constitution that the owners abide by. The only misgivings I have on this are the fact that nobody can (or will) cite the specific rules or agreements that he violated…

    …[T]he mob rule mentality sweeping the nation seeking to destroy any and all with unpopular views (no matter how bad) is bothersome to me.

    Commissioner Silver referred to Sterling as having expressed “hateful feelings”, saying that his views are “deeply disturbing and alarming”.  To repeat, in part, what I wrote in my comment above, “If a black father told his daughter that it was OK for her to date a white boy, but that he didn’t want to see her walking around the neighborhood with him”, would that be considered hateful, disturbing, alarming?  Perhaps, depending on what the father felt in his heart that led him to say such a thing.  We can’t know what was in Sterling’s heart, and yet, this (admittedly cretinous) person is being deprived of his property.

    • #7
  8. user_7742 Inactive
    user_7742
    @BrianWatt

    The NBA may have made their decision but I don’t think this is over by any means. My guess is that Sterling and his attorneys will be seeing the NBA in court and I wouldn’t be surprised if in the end this somehow backfires on the league.

    • #8
  9. EJHill Podcaster
    EJHill
    @EJHill

    The NBA Constitution is confidential, strangely enough for an organization that depends so heavily on publicly funded arenas. MLB’s is readily available on the internet in PDF form.

    • #9
  10. EJHill Podcaster
    EJHill
    @EJHill

    Sterling might sue on breach of contract, but only the lawyers know what’s in it. We have to suspend him to know what’s in it (said Commissioner Pelosi).

    • #10
  11. Mark Coolidge
    Mark
    @GumbyMark

    As you point out this was an easy decision:

    Advertisers, players and fans were going nuts. 
    Potential for collateral damage to the entire league.
    In the middle of the playoffs (which, by the way, have had some great games) in which the Clippers are competing.

    Plus, my guess is the NBA would have liked to be rid of Sterling years ago (I’m only a casual fan and knew about his reputation).

    They needed to move quickly and they did.  I would have done the same.

    And Sterling will walk away with a few hundred million in profit from his ownership.

    • #11
  12. user_7742 Inactive
    user_7742
    @BrianWatt

    EJHill:

    The NBA Constitution is confidential, strangely enough for an organization that depends so heavily on publicly funded arenas. MLB’s is readily available on the internet in PDF form.

    Sterling might sue on breach of contract, but only the lawyers know what’s in it. We have to suspend him to know what’s in it (said Commissioner Pelosi).

     I think it all hinges on subjective interpretations of the offensive comments in question and the fact that they were said in a presumably private conversation. A lot of people, even NBA players, say offensive things to each other on a routine basis – especially in the locker room after a game. Should those comments be subject to penalty and possible bans for life from the game?

    I don’t condone what it was that Sterling said but I can’t imagine his attorneys won’t be having a field day with this. The NBA has a tremendous burden of proof to support their allegations that Sterling is a self-avowed racist. His attorneys can show that for decades he’s consistently provided opportunities for black youth and black athletes and provided them very lucrative careers. Stay tuned.

    • #12
  13. Basil Fawlty Member
    Basil Fawlty
    @BasilFawlty

    They should have had him executed.  Anything less makes the NBA complicit in his racism.

    • #13
  14. James Of England Moderator
    James Of England
    @JamesOfEngland

    Brian Watt:. The NBA has a tremendous burden of proof to support their allegations that Sterling is a self-avowed racist.

    Only if the lawyers decided to make life hard for themselves when they drafted the contract. My guess is that the contract will be pretty clear that the burden of proof is extremely low.

    EJHill:

    Sterling might sue on breach of contract, but only the lawyers know what’s in it. We have to suspend him to know what’s in it (said Commissioner Pelosi).

     Is it not likely that a decent arbitration clause will allow them to retain their confidentiality even if Sterling wants to take legal action?

    • #14
  15. EJHill Podcaster
    EJHill
    @EJHill

    In MLB they have “the best interests of baseball” clause. That gives the commish vast powers. I suspect the NBA is set up the same way.

    • #15
  16. user_7742 Inactive
    user_7742
    @BrianWatt

    James Of England:

    Brian Watt:. The NBA has a tremendous burden of proof to support their allegations that Sterling is a self-avowed racist.

    Only if the lawyers decided to make life hard for themselves when they drafted the contract. My guess is that the contract will be pretty clear that the burden of proof is extremely low.

    EJHill:

    Sterling might sue on breach of contract, but only the lawyers know what’s in it. We have to suspend him to know what’s in it (said Commissioner Pelosi).

    Is it not likely that a decent arbitration clause will allow them to retain their confidentiality even if Sterling wants to take legal action?

     Considering that the current estimated value of the team is roughly north of $700 Million it’s difficult to see how Sterling and his attorneys don’t fight this. Countersuing that the NBA’s actions effectively defame Sterling’s character, as ironic as that initially seems, might be just one strategy among others.

    • #16
  17. user_7742 Inactive
    user_7742
    @BrianWatt

    Fox is reporting that Sterling told sports reporter Jim Grey that the Clippers are not for sale. So, it looks like this is heading to court.

    • #17
  18. DocJay Inactive
    DocJay
    @DocJay

    Brian Watt:

    Fox is reporting that Sterling told sports reporter Jim Grey that the Clippers are not for sale. So, it looks like this is heading to court.

    Judge Smails will be his attorney.  

    • #18
  19. Whiskey Sam Inactive
    Whiskey Sam
    @WhiskeySam

    Frozen Chosen:

    When discussing Sterling, Mark Cuban urged caution because he knows that if an owner can lose his team for racism today he can lose it for other “sins” tomorrow.

    I’m sure many of the NBA’s owners support traditional marriage – will they lose their teams when they express those views? What about those who are against immigration “reform”?

    Cleary Sterling is a major scum-bag who has no moral standards whatsoever and the NBA can decide who owns their franchises but make no mistake, the march of political correctness is speeding up exponentially.

     Mark Cuban is the voice of reason in this case

    • #19
  20. Nick Stuart Inactive
    Nick Stuart
    @NickStuart

    Pro forma, let me state Sterling’s remarks were odious and he puts me in mind of a cockroach. Furthermore, I wouldn’t micturate on him if he were on fire and care not a whit whether he loses his team (which is my standard stance on any major league team owner I can think of).

    But am I the only person a little uneasy about how remarks he made in a private conversation that was surreptitiously recorded then released to tabloid media are being used against him?

    • #20
  21. user_1184 Member
    user_1184
    @MarkWilson

    Where is the list of NBA players who have been banned for life for beating on their girlfriends?
    Or do I have my hierarchy of sins turned around?

    • #21
  22. DrewInWisconsin Member
    DrewInWisconsin
    @DrewInWisconsin

    Nick Stuart:

    But am I the only person a little uneasy about how remarks he made in a private conversation that was surreptitiously recorded then released to tabloid media are being used against him?

    No, not at all. 

    I can’t help but think that the Thought Police have just collected another scalp.

    EDIT: Whoops. That’s probably racist.

    • #22
  23. EJHill Podcaster
    EJHill
    @EJHill

    Mark Wilson:

    Where is the list of NBA players who have been banned for life for beating on their girlfriends? Or do I have my hierarchy of sins turned around?

     Can you say players union?

    • #23
  24. user_7742 Inactive
    user_7742
    @BrianWatt

    Meanwhile, Ukraine is under siege and the White House has no credible explanation (again) why Susan Rice was instructed to lie by someone in the White House (perhaps even the President himself) to the American people about what went down in Benghazi. We should expect that the Sterling story will use up all the oxygen in the room at CNN, MSNBC, ABC, NBC and CBS and these other stories will go ignored.

    • #24
  25. James Of England Moderator
    James Of England
    @JamesOfEngland

    Brian Watt:

    James Of England:

    Brian Watt:. The NBA has a tremendous burden of proof to support their allegations that Sterling is a self-avowed racist.

    Only if the lawyers decided to make life hard for themselves when they drafted the contract. My guess is that the contract will be pretty clear that the burden of proof is extremely low.

    EJHill:

    Sterling might sue on breach of contract, but only the lawyers know what’s in it. We have to suspend him to know what’s in it (said Commissioner Pelosi).

    Is it not likely that a decent arbitration clause will allow them to retain their confidentiality even if Sterling wants to take legal action?

    Considering that the current estimated value of the team is roughly north of $700 Million it’s difficult to see how Sterling and his attorneys don’t fight this. Countersuing that the NBA’s actions effectively defame Sterling’s character, as ironic as that initially seems, might be just one strategy among others.

     I wasn’t denying that Sterling has incentive to arbitrate, just that the NBA was likely to have a high burden. I’d be surprised if a libel suit was worthwhile.

    • #25
  26. user_7742 Inactive
    user_7742
    @BrianWatt

    James Of England:

    Brian Watt:

    James Of England:

    Is it not likely that a decent arbitration clause will allow them to retain their confidentiality even if Sterling wants to take legal action?

    Considering that the current estimated value of the team is roughly north of $700 Million it’s difficult to see how Sterling and his attorneys don’t fight this. Countersuing that the NBA’s actions effectively defame Sterling’s character, as ironic as that initially seems, might be just one strategy among others.

    I wasn’t denying that Sterling has incentive to arbitrate, just that the NBA was likely to have a high burden. I’d be surprised if a libel suit was worthwhile.

     Point taken. With the present player roster, the valuation of the team is said to be anywhere between $750 Million and $1 Billion. A sizable increase from what Sterling originally paid for it. I can’t imagine that he will settle to sell the team if legally obligated to do so for under market value with putting up some sort of fight. 

    • #26
  27. Pilli Inactive
    Pilli
    @Pilli

    DrewInWisconsin:

    Nick Stuart:

    But am I the only person a little uneasy about how remarks he made in a private conversation that was surreptitiously recorded then released to tabloid media are being used against him?

    No, not at all.

    I can’t help but think that the Thought Police have just collected another scalp.

    EDIT: Whoops. That’s probably racist.

     I find it interesting.  The LA Times reports that Magic Johnson, the man Sterling’s “girlfriend” was seen with, the man Sterling was complaining about in his racist rant, is a part of Guggenheim Partners now being touted as wanting to buy the team.

    • #27
  28. Leigh Inactive
    Leigh
    @Leigh

    Jim Geraghty, in the Jolt, was dead on.  The privacy questions are 

      …troubling, but something of a side issue at the moment. If you tell your multiethnic girlfriend that you don’t want blacks coming to your team’s basketball games, there’s always the chance that she’ll repeat it or someone will overhear…

    Remember Obama beating Romney, 81 percent to 18 percent on the characteristic, “Cares about people like me”? This would be a good time for Republicans to show African-Americans we care… They’re furious about this. We can probably spare some fury, too, for a guy who’s perfectly happy to take money from African-Americans for tickets, and pay African-Americans to play so they’ll put fans in the arena seats, but draws the line at his girlfriend posting a picture on Instagram with a black man.

     If the Righty world’s primary or loudest response to Sterling is to say, “well, what about Harry Reid…Or how about Robert Byrd? You’re all just a bunch of hypocrites!” then some African-Americans may conclude that Republicans are more upset about the hypocrisy of the Left on race than actual racism.

    • #28
  29. Annefy Member
    Annefy
    @Annefy

    Nick Stuart:

    Pro forma, let me state Sterling’s remarks were odious and he puts me in mind of a cockroach. Furthermore, I wouldn’t micturate on him if he were on fire and care not a whit whether he loses his team (which is my standard stance on any major league team owner I can think of).

    But am I the only person a little uneasy about how remarks he made in a private conversation that was surreptitiously recorded then released to tabloid media are being used against him?

     No, Nick. You are not alone. I am actually a little freaked out about it. The list of people who could be destroyed if the contents of a private conversation was divulged is long.

    But I am also disgusted by the hypocrisy – Spike Lee has basically said the same thing. And he said it publicly, on the record. Doesn’t Bill Maher own part of a team? He’s a mysogynist, on the record, using words that the COC and common decency prevent me from repeating.

    Scary times, and I’m getting more and more worried about that “Yes on 8” sign I had in the yard years ago.

    • #29
  30. kmtanner Inactive
    kmtanner
    @kmtanner

    I dont really like Ben Shapiro, but there is some truth in this.
    http://www.breitbart.com/Breitbart-Sports/2014/04/29/8-Things-That-Wont-Get-You-Banned-by-the-NBA

    • #30
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