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Posts tagged with Donald Sterling

Is the NBA Above the Law?

The NBA's handling of the Donald Sterling controversy has a definite odor to it and it's not from sweaty socks. In April, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver decided that the NBA was above the law and thus didn't have to obey laws that interfered in the NBA's decisions. In its haste to get rid of Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling the NBA violated a California law that prohibits use of statements made in secret private recordings as a basis of punishment for an individual.

On April 25, TMZ released a secretly made illegal recordimng of an argument between Sterling and his girl friend V. Stiviano about her male companions. A controversy developed when some claimed Sterling's comments were racist. Four days later after what was likely only a cursory investigation, Silver imposed a fine, banned Sterling from NBA events and ordered the sale of the team.

California law explicitly bans recording a person's voice without his knowledge. The law further states that such secret recordings cannot be used against a person in a court of law. If government cannot use such evidence to take a person's property, how can a private business do so? Is the NBA more powerful than the State of California? Is the NBA above the law?

Our system of justice is based on the philosophy that it is more important for government to obey the law than to punish lawbreakers. If a police officer fails to advise someone he arrests of the suspect's constitutional rights and the individual confesses to murder, the confession must be thrown out because the law requires that those who are arrested be advised of their rights.

It Sterling had confessed to murder in a secret recording, the state would not have been able to use the recording to convict him. So where does the NBA get the authority to punish him for saying something unpopular during a lovers' quarrel? When people quarrel with people they are emotionally involved with they often say things they don't mean and wouldn't normally say. For example, a little girl arguing with her mother might say "I hate you" under the effect of the emotions involved in an argument.

The fine and lifetime ban imposed on Sterling by NBA commissioner Adam Silver are illegal and should be rescinded. The order to sell the team is also illegal, but the incident created such a negative public attitude to the Sterlings association with the team that Shelley Sterling had no real choice but to sell.

The negative attitude means the new owner should seriously consider moving the team and changing its name. When people develop a negative attitude to an individual or organization the negative attitude may remain long after they have forgotten why they developed the negative attitude. Many people will remember the controversial statements as coming from the "owner of the Clippers" rather than someone named Donald Sterling. These individuals may ignore the change in ownership and think the new owner made the statements.

Some have suggested that Sterling has a "plantation owner's attitude" to the team. I suspect many sports franchise owners have some degree of this attitude and it has nothing to do with the color of the athletes on the team. For example the decision by National Football League owners to ignore a concussion problem among NFL players might indicate a "plantation owner's attitude".

Adam Silver's seems to have a "Godfather's" attitude toward those in his organization. He feels he can ignore the law when dealing with those in his organization. Our system of laws is of little value if private organizations can ignore the laws of evidence and impose whatever punishments they want to impose. The word "vigilante" is used to describe those who convict individuals and impose penalties outside the law,

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NBA Action More Racist than Sterling’s Statements

The NBA has criticized L.A. Clipper owner Donald Sterling for his statements that many regard as racist. However, shortly after the recording of his conversation became public the NBA took an action that was a racist insult to the black players of the L.A. Clippers. The NBA offered to make a "grief counselor" available to the Clippers.

Grief counselors are often provided to children to help them cope with the death of a classmate. The NBA commissioner's office essentially was indicating that it believed the Clippers were such immature children that a minor questionable statement was the emotional equivalent of a death. I can understand the black players being upset by Sterling's statement, but not grieving about the statement.

Discussion of Sterling's comment to V. Stiviano about attending games with black athletes has focused on what was said and ignored the situation itself. His decision to order her not to attend games with black athletes is consistent with the behavior of a man who is having trouble getting a daughter or granddaughter to follow his advice.

He doesn't explain his reasoning very well, a common occurrence when a man tries to offer dating advice to someone young enough to be his granddaughter. He appears have been attempting to warn her of the sexist stereotype image of NBA players, especially black players, that comics have encouraged with jokes about NBA players leaving children all over the country. I don't know the attitudes of L.A. residents, but, putting it bluntly, Sterling is suggesting that people will think she's just some kind of a sex toy if she attends a game with black athletes, especially admitted lothario Magic Johnson. He seems to have been attempting to warn her of the attitudes of others rather than talking about his own attitudes.

Johnson along with the late Wilt Chamberlain are largely responsible for creating the [probably exaggerated] image that NBA players are frogs rather than princes. A frog jumps from bed to bed. A prince is devoted to his princess. Chamberlain claimed to have sex with over 20,000 women. Johnson claimed he once had 300- 500 sex partners per year.

A passage from a book by Jerry West says: “That November, as a new season was set to open, Magic Johnson announced to the world that he was HIV positive, a stunning event that brought revelations about the climate of sexual frivolity around the Lakers. Johnson admitted he had been sleeping with 300-500 people a year. The team’s locker room, and its sauna, had been a place where the star and other players had entertained women, even right after games. Johnson would retire to the sauna after a game, have sex, then put on a robe and return to the locker room for his post-game media interviews. How far had the team gone in condoning such questionable behavior? ‘I cared,’ West said in his interviews for this book. ‘I did things for those guys. It was ridiculous, some of the things I did for those guys. If the public knew they’d be outraged. It was a pretty crazy period for us.’"

If NBA teams, including the Clippers, still allow this behavior it would have provided part of the motivation for Sterling's warning to Stiviano.

a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kobe_Bry...">Kobe Bryant was arrested for rape in 2003 when he misinterpreted a visit by a female hotel employee and thought she was there for sex like the other women he normally attracted.

After my first post on this s subject I received an email about Rev. Russ Weaver's sermon titled "Easily Offended" that he delivered that week on Cowboy Church. Weaver's most important point is that a person can choose to be a "Victim" who lets himself be offended or a "Victor" who doesn't allow someone to control him with mere words. I'll remind readers that I'm a Vietnam Vet so I know what it's like to be called names.

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NBA and Media Beat Up Man Fighting Cancer

Did the NBA in effect punish L.A. Clippers 80 year old owner Donald Sterling because he is fighting prostate cancer?

The NBA has voted to force L.A. Clippers owner Donald Sterling to sell his team because of a secret recording in which he told his black girl friend he didn't want her to be seen in public, such as at Clippers games, with black men such as former basketball star Magic Johnson. He said he didn't mind her going to bed with such men. He just didn't want her to be in public with them.

I don't know the specifics of the current status of Sterling's prostate cancer, but it is possible his condition or treatment caused his comments to his girl friend V. Stiviano. I don't know if Sterling was undergoing chemotherapy at the time of his comments or whether the condition known as "chemo brain" might have affected his statement.

Prostate cancer can adversely affect a man's sexual abilities which could be particularly frustrating for a man who associates with an attractive young woman. NBA players have a reputation, at least among some comics, of being very sexually active. This reputation is due in part to former players such as Magic Johnson bragging about their sexual activities. I suspect that the reputation is exaggerated and based in part on racist beliefs about black men, but Sterling could have been especially frustrated seeing Stiviano with men whom he believed could easily do what he might be unable to do because of his cancer.

We aren't always consciously aware of why we feel a certain way or say certain things. The reasons may be locked in our subconscious. People sometimes hire professionals like tv's Dr. Phil to learn why they feel the way they do. Sterling may not have been consciously aware of why he said what he did to Stiviano and may have a mental block that prevents him from understanding why some people are upset by the statement.

Sterling's statement to Stiviano sounds more like frustration and jealousy than racism. He said he didn't mind her being with black men so long as he didn't see her with them. He was saying he didn't want her reminding him that someone else might be able to satisfy her in ways he would like to but cannot because of his cancer. He was probably too embarrassed to talk about his frustration to Stiviano directly. He was asking her in an intimate conversation to not do something that hurt him without explaining why that action hurt him.

The NBA's action against Sterling might be justifiable if he had made a public statement. However, the NBA had no business punishing Sterling for an intimate statement made to a close personal friend that may have been misrepresented by sensation seeking journalists who think everybody is as motivated by so-called "racial" differences as they are. It is the media that continues to push the myth that differences in skin color constitute racial differences by referring to Americans of different complexions as being of different races.

Stress can cause all of us to say things we don't really mean. We may even say things that hurt those we would not think of hurting in normal circumstances. Fighting cancer can be an extremely stressful situation.

Many of us were raised to believe that you shouldn't kick a man when he is down. America's media sharks seem to believe that is the best time to attack because the victim is less able to defend himself.

It would serve the NBA right if cancer survivors and those currently fighting cancer would boycott the NBA for mistreating a cancer patient.

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