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Altzheimer’s Disease, Sterling & NBA

Sterling asleepjumpball

Donald Sterling has Alzheimer’s Disease. Donald Sterling has sued the NBA yesterday. The first is a maybe, the second is on the record. Shelly Sterling has signed for the Sterling Family Trust to sell the team to Steve Balmer of Microsoft fame and fortune.

If Donald Sterling has Alzheimer’s Disease he is facing a future filled with challenges and real hardship, some experiences even his vast wealth cannot protect him from. My heart goes out to him and his family for no matter how vile and hurtful a person may be personal illness and real human suffering are not things I wish on anyone.

But the profits here are real and for Sterling come in at about 15,900%  http://www.nytimes.com/2014/05/31/upshot/donald-sterlings-remarkable-rate-of-return.html

It is a question of supply and demand coupled with the cash liquidity in the top .1% Without the racism scandal the price was suspected to be $400-$500 million less. We will never know because Steve Balmer is a highly motivated and incredibly wealthy buyer. He is doing the purchase on his sole initiative and not having to justify it to anyone. It becomes a win for the NBA and all team owners–maybe.

Mr.Balmer, while you adjust to the ownership circles in major sports will you pay the fans and the country back by tackling racism in the sports teams names, idenities and logos/mascots? You ahve wanted a team for years and this one came for sale in a way you could never have anticipated–due to horrible racism. If you simply walk into your position without facing this and fully addressing it your wealth will have let you enter circles otherwise closed to you, racism where it is obvious racism is still rampant.

Microsoft, the source of your wealth Mr. Balmer, in the past and most likely still, through stock ownership, reaches everyone. It’s products are used worldwide and the team you now own has a global profile. Use your position to confront the hate, stand down racism and bring some real honor to an ugly situation. Or not. Your call–and please, not on the flip of a coin. Do the right thing, face racism down, just like a winning jumpball.

 

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Slovakia Gets It Right, Can MLB, NBA, NFL, NHL et al Ever Get It Right?

It can be simple: Racism is wrong. Racism in any and all forms will not be acceptable. Racism will not be tolerated. Ever. Period. Slovakia gets it right.

Teams, players, Commissioners, families, owners, coaches, staff, broadcasters, fans–how can you keep looking for justifications for your cowardace? Silence condones the status quo. Speak up. Make the changes, do the right thing, not because you are somehow giving in, somehow doing what “they” say to do, or “they” say not to do but because it is the decent, human, respectful, honorable and right thing to take actioin. Fire racism. Change the names, logos, mascots and all representations that are racist  and associated with any of the teams. Change the owners when necessary. 

Mr. Larry Dolan, Mr. Paul Dolan, Mr. Mark Shapiro–can you give one legitimate reason not to change the Cleveland team name and logo–other than  the unbelievably weak “tradition” or perhaps “profits”, or perhaps you personally each “don’t see anything wrong with it” or your own individual and maybe joint fear of public or even private social reaction? Really? It is time for a mirror check–you, in your own mirror and the mirror of each of your consciences. 

Tell me, tell the world, tell your children and grandchildren that for the sake of pride, ego, sheer stubbornness you stood down everyone and “did it your way”–do you each really think the world is going to honor that choice and your following generations will be pleased that they have to answer for your intransience, that they have to find the courage you lack to do what you failed to do? It is not the 19th century, the 20th century or even the first decade of the 21st century. Your actions in 2014 are indefensible. The world has, in fact, changed.

It is simple: do the right thing and stop profiting from the name of a race of people(the reasoning behind the name is described elsewhere in this blog and from its origins until today it is wrong, factually, ethically and morally) and a demeaning, degrading and insulting racist caricature. Do not look to find apologists, do not look to poll a committee or a community or a board of directors. Do not look to clergy, academia or marketers for quidance. The clergy are occupied elweshere with their own faiulres and issues, academia is facing the digital evolution in education and marketers will do as you ask since you employ them.

For once take the lead, open a discussion with those of us who have pressed this issue forward for years and start the conversation not with a question as to how you can profit from the change but rather how you can do the change of both name and logo in a way that gives the change truth, respect and dignity for all involved.

I have asked this of you before and here I ask yet again: begin the conversation with those of us formally involved, now.

That question about how to increase profits and the change–check the transcripts from the deposition I personally participated in during the OCRC filing against Gateway and the team, your team–your lawyers asked it of me, just before we adjourned and the transcriptionist should have had it on the record. I had ideas and a plan then and still do have ideas as to how the change can be profitable today. However, I deferred, very deliberately on the answer, as I will here. That is a conversation for an entirely different setting but as businessmen I would certainly think you also have ideas on the subject. The courage to tackle the issue? That I have not yet seen, anywhere, ever, at all.

From Slovakia:

“One of the faces of the public-service RTVS sports desk, Kristína Kormúthová, was sacked after she posted a controversial comment on her Facebook profile on May 16. Kormúthová wrote on Facebook that a man who, according to her, tried to steal the rain gutter from her house at night was “a prematurely born, stinky gypsy” and asked why “us hunters” cannot shoot such people like animals. She concluded, “And let anyone dare call me a racist!””  She is now fired, because of the statement. More on the link above.

That is leadership and integrity in action. Can we have it here in American sports, in the National Pastime?

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Power, Shredding the Shrouds of Secrecy

An aerial view of the stadium within the city's park

What will the future of MLB be, decisions starting yesterday…..

The process, exposed, well almost. As revolutions, coups and global power players put the lives of little girls at risk can American leaders find a better way forward for the MLB than the old ways of secrecy and private decisions? That method simply does not work. ask the Czars, much of Frency royalty, and currently the thai royal family.

I have heard power is never given, it is taken. I disagree. For leaders who truly have integrity, who live at basic awarness of their strengths and weaknesses, for men and women who have climbed the ladders of accomplishment and success in any walk of life and even for royalty who insist on experiencing the world as it exists, not as filtered to them, an internal courage is grown over time.

Life has no guarantees. Wealth, health, power are never assured. But when handled with respect and trustworthiness, with decency and compassion more good decisions will arise, good for all involved.

The NYT reporter, Michael S. Schmidt, is obviously on someone’s inner circle. Mr. Selig–consider him your friend, because he is. Mr. Manfred, he is yours too. The same for you, Mr. Reinsdorf. Thank you all for the courage you have shown, for being in the game. Now, find a table, as some public place and have a conversation, find a new, inclusive and open way forward. Are you each brave enough, wise enough to do this? Make it in Boston and I’m happy to join you.

 

Succession–Mr. Selig A New Process Is Required

Every organization needs a leader/spokesperson, MLB included. The difficulty here is the secrecy of the process. Combine that with the very real isolation of the billionaire owners and baseball, the National Pastime and American invention teeters on the brink of irrelevancy or revolution.

Think about this: if you worked for a billionaire would you want to be the bearer of bad news, in any form? Not likely. An out of sorts billionaire is not a pretty sight. It would not bode well for friends, family or continued employment.

Traditionally lawyers were the carriers of negative information but with the top courts increasingly favoring the .1% their realm has little negative news to convey. Yet there is a way forward, a new way, perhaps another American invention? Open the process, to the fans, the players, the team staff, even the unions for a negotiated choice of a leader and then let the owners determine terms and tenure.

I sincerely doubt the owners will be reading this but everyone who loves the game, loves sport or is in any of the mentioned categories and each and every family member of those people, owner’s families included, maybe some of you are reading this. Oh, all politicians and their staffs, you, too, of course. It is about the quintessential American game.  

Step up to the plate, take a swing. You can’t win if you aren’t in the game and maybe you will hit one out of the park.Image

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Business and Human Rights

The United Nations has found  “the use of stereotypes obscures understanding of the reality of Native Americans today and instead help to keep alive racially discriminatory attitudes.” Last month the owner of the Redskins was again challenged to reconsider his position on the team name

This week the state of relations between the First Nations and Canada have again come under critical review and been found wanting. This parallels findings to some extent of the Special Rapportuer when he was examining the situation in the USA. He clearly outlined standards: “Private actors also have responsibilities independently of the States’ obligation to promote and protect human rights,” Mr. Anaya said.  http://unsr.jamesanaya.org/statements/usa-redskins-team-mascot-hurtful-reminder-of-past-suffering-of-native-americans 

MLB teams are in Canada and the USA, both have indigenous peoples still living in communities with rights of self-governance and MLB still continues to claim the name and logo in Cleveland are neither racist nor contributors to racism. Are these claims honestly true?