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The NBA is OK with a racist owner

RedsArmyAdmin November 5, 2009 Uncategorized 7 Comments

Donald sterling That's Donald Sterling.  Donald Sterling owns the Los Angeles Clippers.  Donald Sterling is also paying the biggest housing discrimination fine in history.

Los Angeles Clippers owner and real estate mogul Donald T. Sterling has
agreed to pay a record $2.725 million to settle allegations that he
discriminated against African Americans, Hispanics and families with
children at scores of apartment buildings he owns in and around Los
Angeles.

…Had the case gone to trial, an expert would have testified that an
analysis of the Sterlings' rental practices in Koreatown revealed that
they rented to far fewer African Americans and Hispanics than would be
expected, based on demographics. As part of the settlement, the
Sterlings will be required to pay for an independent contractor to
monitor their employees' compliance with the Fair Housing Act over the
next three years. The results of the tests would be reported to the
Sterlings and to the government.

It's not the first time Sterling has been accused of racism.  He has a history of discriminating against tenants.  And you don't get repeated fines and accusations if there's not some ring of truth to it.

So here we have the owner of the league's laughingstock franchise paying millions in fines and settlements because of racist practices.  Seems like a great time for the NBA to swoop in and find a way to force him out.  Or… maybe not.

The NBA said it has no plans to investigate or comment, according to a
spokesman. Other owners have been silent. The NBA Player’s Association
has had no reaction and did not respond to messages. The players
themselves have, best I can find, said nothing.

That link and snippet come from a very good Dan Wetzel piece on Yahoo… where he wonders what we should all be wondering:  Where's the outrage?  Here, he makes the best point:

It’s two different leagues, two different groups of people, two
different circumstances, but the parallels with the firestorm that
enveloped Limbaugh’s potential bid to become a minority owner of the St. Louis Rams immediately spring to mind.

Limbaugh was engulfed from all directions. Players, owners, union
officials – even NFL commissioner Roger Goodell – all voiced opinions,
almost all negative. There was an avalanche of media coverage; in part,
because Limbaugh delivers the ratings and page views. (Sterling is
merely famous for being one of the worst owners in professional sports.)

Still, Limbaugh was attacked for expressing political views that
some people find offensive. You may hate every word he says, but he
wasn’t repeatedly settling multimillion dollar racial-discrimination
lawsuits.

You’d think Sterling was worth something.

You'd think.  I heard people making the point that it's easy for players to say they wouldn't play for the Rams if Rush owned them… because he didn't own them yet.  Once he owned the team, who'd turn down the multi-million dollar deals?  Maybe the Clippers are proof of that.  Everyone knows what Donald Sterling is… but guys still go there for big contracts (on the rare occasion that he hands one out).

So it seems to me that you got a racist (not to mention a cheapskate) in possession of a joke of a franchise… and it seems the NBA is OK with that.  And if they let this pass without batting an eye, then they're
sending a simple message:  It's ok to be racist if you're rich.

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  • Athanacropolis

    It’s also fair to mention that the comments which kept Rush Limbaugh from becoming part owner of the Rams were comments which he didn’t even say. I am not trying to inject politics into this, I’m just clarifying things. All politics aside, someone should be pilloried for fabricated quotes.
    You are spot-on about Sterling, however.

  • http://profile.typepad.com/6p0115704b7be5970b bigpartymaker

    Franchise owners are untouchable it seems. See also: Davis, Al and Dolan, James

  • Montana

    So Rusky gets punked because he does not fact check (Not the first time)? Wow, what a surprised.
    Oh, and when contronted that he was punked, he defended himself by saying “we stand by the fabricated quote because we know Obama thinks it anyway” (Yeah good try to save face, what a loser)
    After so many years of mis-labeling and mis-characterizing others he gets smacked down by the NFL “Not For Limbaugh”. Way to go NFL, great job!

  • Athanacropolis

    Montana, I don’t know what you’re referring to. Rush didn’t not fact-check. His opponents didn’t fact check. I’m not trying to defend the man’s politics, just the truth of the matter. If the Rams or the NFL had problems with his political views and didn’t want him to buy into the Rams as a result of them, that’s fine. The NFL has the freedom of association. But they should base their decisions on the truth, not fabricated quotes.
    In my earlier post, I meant to say that someone “shouldn’t” be pilloried, not “should.” I apologize for the typo.

  • Rob A.

    Hasn’t anyone heard the saying, “there are lies, damned lies, and statistics”? Sterling was accused of statistical racism, which isn’t racism at all – it’s when someone determines that a given segment of the population should (according to some demographically derived criteria – notice the “than would be expected, based on demographics” logic) possess X amount of some resource (jobs, housing, scholarships, you name it), and if they don’t, voila! Accuse whoever sits atop the pyramid of the resource in question of racism, and your work is done (and if anyone questions your logic, just accuse them of racism too – it’s a beautiful sham). If you separate the population according to race, and then measure and compare everything about those population segments, there are a million reasons why differences will exist – and not a shred of evidence pointing to malice (let alone racism) on the part of anyone (let alone Sterling). Don’t be swayed by the “this isn’t Sterling’s first time” nonsense – he was accused of racism by possibly the only NBA executive whose incompetence exceeded his own – Elgin Baylor. Bottom line – don’t cry racism when you don’t get the apartment, or the job, that you want. Your race isn’t you – and your race isn’t the problem! Wake up, people. If you can’t figure this stuff out, you’re watching too much damn sports.

  • Silverlock

    I don’t know a thing about DS other than he runs a truly sad franchise. The thing I find weird is taht he is probably many layers away from the front line rental practices (so he can have more time to screw up the clippers;-). Is his organization doing this because he hates some minorities that much (since it was in Korea town and they didn’t mention that he discriminated against Koreans), or is it he doesn’t care who hurts as long his perceived bottom line is maximized? Clearly he doesn’t care who gets hurt in anything he does.

  • 11rings

    You might have a point about statistics, but statistical analyses are vary in quality. Some are better than others. If the Department of Justice was being fair they would have controlled for other plausible factors besides race and having kids that could have influenced Sterling’s rental decisions, thus pointing toward race and kids being the deciding factors. And the case against Sterling was helped because apparently he left a paper trail of incriminating apartment advertisements: http://www.justice.gov/crt/housing/documents/casesummary.php
    The D of J also sends out fake rental applicants to sniff out discriminators, although I don’t know if they used them in this case. Maybe, and that’s a big maybe, Sterling isn’t really guilty, but I wouldn’t be so quick to rush to his defense.