*There is an audio tape of Donald Sterling allegedly speaking to his girlfriend and showing his distaste for her being seen in public with black people. Assuming this is true…
The problem with Sterling is that he is hypocritical and greedy. At his core Sterling doesn’t like black people but when they can be of use to him, they’re OK. More specifically when he can make money from their labor, then black people are OK which indicates his greed. Anyone who compromises their principles, no matter how much I detest those principles, when it’s convenient is not someone to be trusted.
The problem with Sterling is he refuses to step forward into the racial environment of 21st century America. He is of the mindset that black people are only supposed to be seen in specific roles in public. Entertainer, no problem. Friend to what appears to be a white woman, no way.
The problem with Sterling is that he is a sexist. The taped conversation made it clear that he saw his girlfriend as an accessory – not allowed to operate independently. He was fine with her at the game to enhance his profile. But in his mind she was not allowed to determine for herself who she could associate with because it might detract from his profile.
The thing about Sterling is that he shouldn’t be allowed to continue as an owner of an NBA franchise. I don’t argue that someone should be deprived of their assets lightly. But let’s be clear, I’m not saying the government should seize his property because he hasn’t done anything against the law.
The NBA is a different story; it is a private enterprise. The NBA is basically a collection of dudes who voluntarily come together to fund basketball contests. Current NBA owners have to approve the acceptance of anyone new in their club and they could absolutely show that they don’t want Sterling associated with them any longer. Sterling would get compensated of course, so he isn’t simply having his assets taken with nothing to show for it.
The NBA doesn’t need him and should say good riddance.
Trevor Brookins is a free lance writer in Rockland County, New York. He is currently working on a book about American culture during the Cold War. His writing has appeared in The Journal News. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @historictrev.