The NBA Has Done a Good Thing, MBL, Your Turn Is Now
Congratulations to the NBA, Commissioner Silver, Kevin Johnson, Mayor of Sacremento, Eric Garcetti, Mayor of LA and the entire Clipper’s organization for banning, judging and condeming team owner Donald Sterling for his admitted racist comments. The maximum allowable punishments are a god and strong first step. Yet selling his team at a massive profit can still leave Sterling laughing all the way to the bank. The game and the country needs a better outcome. It is about America.
MBL are you listening? Commissioner Selig, team owners Larry Dolan, family, staff and management, Mayor Jackson, Council President Kelley: in Cleveland you are all, each and every one of you, supporting a racist team with a racist logo, officially.
As I have said before, I am willing to sit at a table with you for a conversation around steps to build change and move away from prejudice, hatred, bigotry into a better future.
Today in the accusations that NBA L.A. Clippers’ team owner Donald Sterling is a racist, based on the release of a tape of his alleged statements it was not so much the racism that caught my eye but one other comment he allegedly made: “but don’t put (Magic) on an Instagram for the world to have to see so they have to call me.” (Italics mine) http://www.cnn.com/2014/04/27/us/nba-team-owner-alleged-racist-remarks
I find myself wondering–so who has to call him? Sterling is a self-made billionaire according to Forbes. He may be a twisted individual, he may like the ownership and management style, such as it is, in the NBA, he may like the fame in the NBA but that throwaway line is certainly an odd one.
I’d be happy to say it is in Sterling’s head if I didn’t know that the Cleveland MLB team owner Larry Dolan said something similar in a conversation with Oberlin College students when he was a trustee there. He said he would be said to “have given in” to the protesters it he changed the name and logo. Who would be making that particular accusatory statement to him, a lawyer and a billionaire? Is not such a man well enough positioned in the world to be able to make his own choices, do as he pleases, do what he knows in his head and heart is both the good and the profitable thing to do?
Here’s my thought–somehow these owners are not totally tone-deaf to morally right positions BUT they are also very aware they live in society and society for them has a particular culture. More from the tape today, allegedly Sterling talking:
“It isn’t a question — we don’t evaluate what’s right and wrong, we live in a society. We live in a culture. We have to live within that culture,” the man replies:”
Evidently for some reason powerful men, billionaire major sports’ teams’ owners see the society and culture they live within as all but endorsing and requiring racism. Still. Today. There is one way for these powerful men to disprove this: they do the right thing, and yes, if done right, the profitable thing and change the name and logo, starting in Cleveland. And in L.A.? I’ll leave that solution in the capable hands of the NBA.
Why is the name Indians racist?
It was given to an entire continent of people by a man believing in the superiority of his race and his religion. It also happens that he was lost, seriously lost.
The origin of the name Indians for the indigenous populations of the Americas tracks back to Christopher Columbus. When he arrived in the Caribbean he believed he had found islands off the coast of China in what was then known as the Indies. Columbus named the people he found Indians. He died believing he had found the route to China from Europe. When Columbus arrived his mission was to convert the native people to Christianity, to send some of them back to Europe to study and to be studied, to ultimately conquer them and to exploit their natural resources.
Before his first voyage of Columbus had obtained a contract with the king and queen of Spain to receive 10% of all profits from his voyage or voyages. On the return to Spain he captured a few natives and took them back with his crew. On his second voyage Columbus sent a larger group of natives back to Europe to be enslaved. Many died from diseases they contracted in Europe for which they had no immunity.
During the time Columbus was on his third voyage in the Americas his inability to adequately govern the colony he had established was recognized in Spain. Queen Isabella refused to accept the natives as slaves, returning many to their homes on future voyages. Additionally a new governor, Francisco de Bobadilla, was sent to the Americas to replace Columbus and his brothers in 1500. The new governor, with 500 armed men under his command, had more authority than Columbus. To remove a combative Columbus and his brothers he placed Columbus in chains aboard one of Columbus’ own vessels for the return to Spain of the 3rd voyage.
In 1502 Columbus began his fourth and final voyage. Before he would again see Spain he would be shipwrecked on a Caribbean island for over a year, endure a mutiny on the island, be unwelcome in the colony of Hispaniola which he had originally founded, encounter Mayan traders on a river but neglect to explore their lands or culture and find upon his delayed return to Spain that his single major benefactor, Queen Isabella, was dying. Columbus himself died less than two years later. At his death he was still insisting he had found the route to China and the Indies. He firmly believed that with the wealth in gold and silver soon to be found there Spain would convert the entire world to Christianity which would then soon bring the end of the world.
This is the real Columbus, the man who named an entire continent’s people the name of the wrong continent. He did shape history. He did bring change. It is time to bring change again. Perpetuating his racist wrong essentially because this history is not widely known is itself wrong. It is time to banish the name Indians from the MLB because it truly is a racist name.
Cleveland–the only MLB team with an irrefutably racist team name.
- Racism: a belief that race is the primary determinant of human traits and capacities and that racial differences produce an inherent superiority of a particular race.
- Racist: a person or action supporting racism, having or showing the belief that a particular race is superior to another
- Race: each of the major divisions of humankind, having distinct physical characteristics
The team, the City anf MLB deserve the balck eye on the lake.
Hank Aaron is working for the Atlanta Braves, still identifying racism through the hate mail he personally receives and the low number of African American players on the MLB rosters. Both situations are deplorable. Both situations are troubling.
I wonder, how much of both are tied to the fact that the MLB still endorses racism through the team identities exploiting Native Americans? Fans, seeing racism supported against one race, can easily believe MLB is racist, underneath public declarations otherwise.
Behavior and actions speak far louder than words.
If a white businessman or businesswoman started a business can called it “N***…s Are Great” and used a silly cartoon person as the logo while claiming to honor people of color because of the “Great” in the name do you thinnk that would be OK? If so why? If not, why not?
Dolan family, this is essentially what you are doing with the Cleveland Indians and Chief Wahoo. I am saying this as an American woman, an active member of my church and a mother. This is about all of us and basic human decency and respect, by everyone for everyone. The basic respect of one human being for another is the foundation of a decent society and a good country.
Mr. Larry and Mr. Paul Dolan it is for you to look in the mirror and at each other and conside, for yourselves, your team, your community and your families across the generations: are you part of what is a good future for America or are you part of the problem? I ask the same question for all team owners, players, staff and the MLB organization itself.