Come on, guys. This one’s a no brainer. Nice try Michael Pineda for your Pine Tar Neck trick…but oh no, this Teabag’s all Donald’s. For those of you who need a refresher, our friends at Deadspin have the audio queued up for your listening pleasure. It’s worth a listen. On the one hand, The Machine’s not surprised when anyone over the age of 60 makes a racist comment. Being old is no excuse, but when you hear “80-year-old white guy doesn’t like the blacks”; it’s abhorrent, but not necessarily surprising. However, when said 80 year old white guy happens to be the owner of the Los Angeles Clippers, well now you got a story.
Donald was (can we stop using the word allegedly now?) recorded by his (now ex) girlfriend, essentially telling her to stop bringing black people to Clippers games and stop openly associated with them. Huh? How can someone who’s a multi-millionaire, a successful business owner, the owner of a professional sports team (whose players are predominantly minorities) and who received a lifetime achievement award from the NAACP, hold such bigoted views? Why is he sharing said views with his (several) decades younger, mixed-race girlfriend? How does one get a (several) decades younger mixed-race girlfriend? Did he think that was going to end well? Answer to the above questions: Money. Money can cure all evils (correction: now that he’s banned for life from the NBA, money can cure most evils).
You see, here’s the thing about Donald Sterling: his history of racism, sexual harassment, and general douch-bagedness is well documented. Like here. And here. And here. And here. When he received the NAACP Lifetime Achievement Award in 2009, he paid a record $2.725 million to settle a housing discrimination lawsuit, where there were some pretty compelling allegations that he discriminated against minorities, particularly black families. Why, and how, did he receive a Lifetime Achievement Award from the NAACP? We believe the answer is also set forth above. (Note to NAACP: perhaps you should change your nominating criteria…just sayin’). But society simply could not tolerate this latest go-around. Because of the audio evidence, and not some settlement agreement where the parties deny any liability but then pay a shit-ton of money, the NBA was forced had to act. They simply could not turn another blind eye. And there’s something about comeuppance for an Octogenarian that bangs models that just sits right with us.
Another question: Does Donald give a shit? He’s still rich as hell, and, if when the NBA forces him to sell the Clippers, he’ll make even more money. And, he’ll still be able to find a (several) decades younger, hot girl to bang. So, on that level, probably not. But, for losing corporate sponsors, coupled with total public humiliation and disgrace, probably so. A man who’s use to buying his way out of trouble can no longer do so. That’s what The Machine thinks will kill him the most. Anyway, the NBA brought down the hammer on the Donald. A lifetime ban. That’s a steep price for one’s views. But really, how long is that? Dude’s 80. And, let’s not fool ourselves to thinking this is over. Do you think that Sterling’s going to go away quietly? Do you think he’s afraid of protracted litigation? If he’s smart, he just goes away. But, if the last few days have told you anything, doing the right thing doesn’t exactly come natural to him.
Do you think he thinks he’s not a racist because he bangs minorities? Do you think Thomas Jefferson thought that too? Yeah, we just went there.
Our final thoughts: As with most controversies, The Machine hates both extremes, and it’s no different here. To the freedom of speech, First Amendment idiots (who are presumably Tea Partiers): shut up. This has absolutely nothing to do with the First Amendment, and if you can’t understand why, well then you are hopeless. And, for the record, even if it did involve the First Amendment, the First Amendment, and all the other freedoms enjoyed in the Bill of Rights, are not absolute. Try yelling “bomb” in an airport and then assert your First Amendment Rights.
Also, for the people (mainly liberal media) crying that this should have been done sooner, shut up. Where were you in 2009 when Sterling was honored by the NAACP? Where was your outrage? How come only now it’s obvious? And give credit to Commissioner Silver for the action he took. He didn’t have to impose this type of sanction. He had a wide range of discretion. He chose to impose the most extreme measure, a $2.5 million dollar fine (the highest allowed under NBA rules) and a lifetime ban. This is quick, decisive, and just action for a man who’s been on the job for three months (well-played, David Stern). One thing we all can agree on: the NBA, and aspiring models in Hollywood, are better off without Donald Sterling.
Enjoy your teabag.