Sterling’s CNN Interview Begs the Question: How Did Stern and NBA Owners Keep This Guy in the Club for So Long?
By Ken Reed
I have to be honest, I never knew much about Los Angeles Clippers’ suspended owner Donald Sterling. Oh sure, I knew he was one of the worst owners in professional sports and that he oversaw one of the most inept teams in sports history. But I never knew he was also an all-time low-life as a human being.
Then the racist tapes came out, followed by articles about his ugly history as a slumlord and racist. I didn’t know he had a history of flaunting his infidelity. In short, I knew very little about Donald Sterling the man.
But even with all the negative stories about Sterling that have come out the past couple weeks, I didn’t know how bad a guy he was until I listened to his interview with Anderson Cooper on CNN yesterday.
In what may go down as the worst apology of all-time, Sterling left little doubt that not only was he a racist but also that he was extremely arrogant and ignorant.
After his CNN interview debacle, my first takeaway was that the NBA can’t get rid of him soon enough.
But my second takeaway was a question: How did former commissioner David Stern and the NBA owners keep Sterling in the club for three decades?
Sterling’s racist and boorish attitudes and behaviors have been a matter of public record for years. Moreover, NBA owners had to deal with this guy at owners’ meetings, etc., for years. They knew — firsthand — what kind of person he was. Yet, until the PR avalanche took place a couple weeks ago, and sponsors started to pull away (there’s the biggie), NBA owners considered him one of the gang.
At this point, my view of Sterling can’t get any lower, but my view of every owner in the NBA ownership club has plummeted as well. Their recent anti-Sterling statements, filled with righteous indignation, fall on deaf ears.
It would be nice if we could clean out the entire NBA ownership club and start over.
This time we could do it right and allow every NBA franchise to be owned by the local community, the Green Bay Packers model if you will.
We’d all be better off.
— Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans
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League of Fans is a sports reform project founded by Ralph Nader to fight for the higher principles of justice, fair play, equal opportunity and civil rights in sports; and to encourage safety and civic responsibility in sports industry and culture.
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