There is a book that I am very disappointed I haven't read yet, named "40 Million Dollar Slaves", authored by William C. Rhoden, and it discusses the amount of "power" black professional athletes have and lack of it.
It was one point in time where black athletes weren't allowed to play with white players in all sports. Then owners, mainly white, realized how talented black athletes were and allowed them to play on their teams. Of course the civil rights movement played a part in equality in sports but I think majority of owners during that time were seeing dollar signs.
aturday Morning I woke up to a twitter feed going crazy about Donald Sterling and his girlfriend. I would later find out that his girlfriend had exposed his racist opinions to the world. After reviewing the tape for 3 days, NBA Commissioner, Adam Silver, decided to hit Sterling with a LIFETIME BAN from the NBA, with no type of associations with the NBA or the Clippers, and a $2.5 million dollar fine. According to the NBA bylaws, this is the maximum penalty they can hit Sterling with but he still remains owner of the Clippers.
Silver also said that the NBA board of governors and owners will vote on whether or not Sterling will be forced to sell his team, something that is being demanded by the public.
As a young black man, I do have an issue with anyone expressing their displeasure with my race, but when I hear it from an 80-year old white man, it doesn't surprise me. Contrary to people beliefs, its still a generation of "Jim Crow babies" that live on this earth. Like Sterling said, its a "culture" he lives in; which further lets you know he is not the only one, and I'm sure his culture consist of other powerful individuals, including professional sports owners.
I don't think Sterling dislikes black people, but instead view them as subordinates. He has no issue making money with minorities, or off of them, but that's where it stops for him.
Sterling has a history of being a bigot, that dates back to 1983. He was sued by the Los Angeles Department of Justice for not renting apartments to black families in 2006. He would later pay a $2.27 million settlement, but it was basically swept under the rug.
Hall of Famer, Elgin Baylor, worked with Sterling and the Clippers organization for 22-years as General Manager before departing in 2008, but filed a wrongful termination suit against Sterling in 2009. Baylor accused Sterling of being racist, recalling a conversation they had when looking for a coaching candidate. Sterling told Baylor that he would like a "white southern man to coach poor black players".
Despite these acquisitions and lawsuits, Sterling has never been disciplined by the NBA or ridiculed by the national media.
Was commissioner Silver punishment a great turning point for what should have happened a long time ago? Yes, but I think this was more of a cover up than anything. Banning him for life isn't doing much because he is 80-years old, he already spent 30 years in the NBA with this same "slave owner" mentality. Knowing all this about him, players still signed million dollar contracts, and even Mr. Baylor still worked for him, 22 years to be exact. In my opinion, we all are to blame because we allowed this same bigot to last this long and continue to prosper financially.
Magic Johnson said that as long as Sterling was owner of the Clippers, he nor his wife would attend another Clippers game, well I guess he has a sudden change of heart.
The issue I have is how everyone went from irate to jubilant over what was basically a cover up. All weekend I seen reactions from the normal fan to the biggest stars, calling for Sterling to be completely removed from the league and lose his ownership. The words "lifetime ban" gave people the feeling that he was out of the league but in reality, he's not. Sterling might can't show up but he still owns his "plantation".
Now we have to depend on his fellow owners to decide whether or not he will be forced to sell his team and I think we will be waiting a long time for that. What Sterling did was obviously morally wrong and unethical but not illegal. In fact, the recording of him being an ignorant old man, is illegal. If the league votes to take his ownership, (which I think they won't) Sterling will more than likely sue the league and that recording will not hold up in the court of law. The owners I'm sure are not trying to go through a legal situations, so they will try to avoid one by any cost and with the positive reaction to Silver's press conference, the pressure is no longer on the league and owners.
And for my fellow black people, do not let this affect you in any kind of way. We have to stop always trying to play the victims and instead gravitate to a level we should have been at. Yes we are still living in a subliminal racist world but it's not enough to stop us from being great. Morgan Freeman makes a great point about racism, as long as we continue to look at one another as black and white, we will continue to have these issues. Feed the monster and it will continue to grow. We always want to band together when someone offend us as a race but still suffer from the "crabs in the bucket" syndrome.
We can not allow situations like this to set us back as a society. The objective of equality is to progress not regress, and that's what we have been doing. Larry Johnson suggested that an "All Black" league be created which does nothing but create more racism. Black people can also be racist to other races, we are not always the victims, even though it seems that way. It's nothing wrong with being pro-black or whatever ethnicity you are, but be sure to respect other cultures and ethnicities. Once we, as society, realize that it's about respect and not racism, we'll continue to progress and manifest brother Martin's dream.