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.