LOS ANGELES — We can all agree that the now banned-for-life Clippers owner Donald Sterling has been found guilty in the court of public opinion. How the conversation that did him in came into the public discourse is irrelevant at this point. Whether his girlfriend’s recording was legal is also moot. But how we move forward will say a lot about who we are as Americans and what kind of country we want to live in moving forward.
To me, the idea of stripping a man of his property because he’s a racist prick is scary. Sure the National Basketball Association has every right to enforce its bylaws and policies. But here’s the thing, we have all said and done things that would make us look like assholes. And if we start stripping property from crotchety white guy who have treated people poorly and said offensive things, then mobs are going to form in every major city in the nation.
Not so long ago there was a group of people who decided to take people’s businesses away because of ancient beliefs. We called them Nazis.
The media and fans are equally guilty of something else as well. The aforementioned controversial conversation and the ensuing media circus this week has brought more people and more interest to the Clippers/Warriors playoff series. The result is increased viewership and ultimately allowed a host of media companies to profit from this whole mess.
Lost in it all is the Clippers franchise which has lived in the shadow of its Lakers big brother its entire existence. Stars Chris Paul and Blake Griffin have finally put their Showtime counterparts in the back seat while they drive down Sunset Boulevard like the true NBA players that they are. Only to be sabotaged by their own boss.
New commissioner Adam Silver wasted no time dropping the hammer on Sterling. I applaud his stance but not his punishment. The NBA and its owners (allegedly its players as well) are in the process of voting the 80-year old, long-time Los Angeles off the island, leaving him with few if any options. But we’re traveling down a dangerous road. And it’s a road that he’s been down before.
Sterling is a slumlord and a lawyer. Make no bones about it, he is not going away quietly. A protracted legal battle stands only to place players lives and the Clippers team in disarray. The only winners in that battle are an army of attorneys.
Despite the ugliness and prehistoric thinking responsible for this whole ordeal, I find myself agreeing with billionaire Dallas Mavericks owner Marc Cuban; I’m not sure I want to live an America where a private conversation can ultimately allow others to strip a man of his property.
So how do we support the team and punish Sterling without resorting to fascist practices?
It’s simple, we start a grass roots campaign online and allow each and every American to vote with their actions and their wallet.
Every sponsor pulls their contracts.
Every season ticket holder cancels their tickets.
The Clippers themselves vow not to play until ownership changes.
Every other NBA player signs a pact not to play in Staples Center until ownership changes.
And every NBA fan in the nation can voice their outrage by promising not to watch a minute of any Clippers game unless ownership changes.
But do it all the day after the NBA season ends this June.
I’m talking about a viral push bigger than the “light saber kid,” stronger than “sneezing panda,” more powerful than “two girls, one cup.”
Set up a web page, shoot a couple of videos (comedy not porn to eviscerate this racist pussy) and get people to sign on the dotted line.
I _______________ hereby renounce the Los Angeles Clippers. I promise to end immediately any viewership, paraphernalia and/or business association with the Clippers Basketball Organization.
As for the army of bloggers, blow-dried TV sportscasters, radio hosts and legal stiffs destined to fall all over themselves as a result of being left in the dust by a movement taken out of their hands. Fuck’em. They’ll get over it.
Whether it’s the federal government or the NBA, too much power coupled with a mob mentality too often results in actions I just can’t endorse. But I do endorse the marketplace of ideas and good ‘ole fashion capitalism.
I think that is sterling idea. Don’t you?
If season ticket sales disappear along with sponsors and viewers while this dinosaur drags the process through the court system, the most likely scenario is a loss of a couple hundred million dollars in the Clippers franchise value.
See how eager Donald Sterling is to hold on to the team when that happens.