I was traveling most of yesterday but when I awoke early this morning I decided to delve into the world of social media to see what the latest chatter was about. I was not surprised to see that people are still discussing at length Donald Sterling’s racist comments to his girlfriend. What did surprise me was the number of people who called the Clippers team punks, cowards, million dollar slaves and the like because they did not refuse to play in last night’s game. Although, I wasn’t impressed by their decision to silently protest the owner’s behavior by wearing their warm-ups inside out and donning black socks and arms bands. I believe they sorely need to beef up their protest efforts. However, I don’t see what good not playing in last’s night game would have done. It is my opinion refusing to do so would have only punished the team and the fans, not Donald Sterling.
Does anybody remember when the Clippers were deemed by many to be the worst team in the NBA? The players, the coaches, and the staff worked hard to turn the team around and they deserve to be in the playoffs. Therefore, they should play and give it everything they’ve got to try to bring home the championship. Their owner should not be given the power to take that away from them simply because he is a racist bastard and a dumb one at that. This situation is about him and his personal behavior, not the team or the Clippers establishment, and that is where people’s anger should be focused.
I say make the punishment fit the crime. Here is what I propose:
1. Have someone draft a letter from the team to the LA Arena Company and Anschutz Entertainment Group, owners of the Staples Center where the LA Clippers play, asking them to ban Donald Sterling from the property indefinitely because he is a public nuisance and his attendance could possibly incite a riot endangering his life and that of his family and those around him, and distract from arena events. If they refuse to do so and he does come within the property then they will refuse to play until Sterling has exited the building. All the players and the coaches of the team should sign it. Can you imagine the outrage of the NBA and the fans if he shows up and the players all have a seat and refuse play? Not to mention the networks who paid good money for the right to broadcast the game and the advertisers who paid millions to have their commercials broadcast during the game. They could even go so far as to create an on-line petition asking the general public to join them in their request. What do you when players exhibit bad behavior and unsportsmanlike conduct…you eject their spoiled sorry behinds from the game!
2. After that has been done, ask all other NBA owners and arenas to join them, making it impossible for Sterling to ever attend another NBA game, whether it be at home or away, as long as his shriveled up behind shall live.
3. Ask other businesses to boycott doing business with the Clippers so that the NBA has just cause to put pressure on Sterling to sell the team because he is a hindrance to the viability, marketability, and success of the Los Angeles Clippers.
In short, shut him out of the league. This is the way to teach that bigot a lesson, not forfeiting games. How much more embarrassing and humbling will it be to not be able to watch the team he owns play live, to become shunned by the establishment he spent his time, energy, and resources making a money-making empire. He can no longer sit courtside to show off his status nor can he secure a skybox and invite his cronies to join him. The man is already a millionaire or is it billionaire. Crumbling the Los Angeles Clippers will not topple him but damaging his reputation, status, and his ability to flaunt that will cause a wound that will fester and become woefully infected causing a gut-wrenching disease within him called blow to ego that could be more devastating to him than any cancer.
The next game is Tuesday, and it’s a home game. We’ll see how many ticketholders choose not to show up in protest of Sterling or attend the game in support of the NBA play-off team the Clippers have become. If anyone should boycott its the fans, not the team, but it is imperative that the team do more than wear their clothes inside out and don the color black.