Tuesday, April 29, 2014

A Proper Punishment

Later today we'll find out what punishment NBA Commissioner Adam Silver will hand down to Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling for his secretly-recorded comments about how he didn't want his bi-racial mistress to post pictures of herself with Magic Johnson on Instagram anymore and how she shouldn't bring black people to Clippers games.  It's expected that the punishment will be similar to what Major League Baseball did to Cincinnati Reds owner Marge Schott back in the 1990's after she made comments about how Hitler "initially did good things for Germany, like building highways and factories--but then he went a little bit too far".  Schott was suspended indefinitely and eventually was forced to sell the team.

And while the suspension and forced sale may seem like a "harsh" penalty, you need to keep in mind that Sterling paid just 12-million dollars for the Clips back in 1981.  He would likely get more than a half-billion dollars for it now, even as part of a fire sale--as there are already multiple billionaire buyers lining up.  So Donald Sterling stands to get out of this mess an even richer man (well, until he pays off the wife and the mistresses)--that will teach him to say racists things!

Wouldn't it be better to make Sterling have to pay some consequences for his actions?  Why not make him keep the Clippers--but force him to operate under the standards he would actually prefer.  That would mean no African-American players, no minorities fans in a city that is a "majority" of minorities, no employees of color working for minimum wage to sell popcorn and sweep up the arena.  As an added bonus, you can borrow a punishment from the NCAA--ban the Clippers from television--no local tv rights, no share in the ESPN, ABC, Turner Sports or NBA TV revenues.  The all-white Clippers can become franchisa non grata.  Mr Sterling might feel the sting of punishment a bit more when he has to start dipping into his own pocket to cover the millions in losses he would likely incur under that scenario--rather than counting new-found millions.

But the more I think about it, that "punishment" might actually backfire.  You see, the Clippers could likely find some European basketball genius to become General Manager and he would go out and sign all of the best European talent to come play in LA--I mean these residents of the Socialist Democratic Utopias are already used to racism in sports, as Africans in their leagues are taunted with monkey calls from fans and have bananas thrown at them on the fields.  And with a bunch of guys trained in the Euro style of play, the Clips would have the most fundamentally-sound and best-shooting team in the NBA.  They probably wouldn't have any problems finding a coach either.  John Calipari comes to mind immediately as someone with no morals or scruples who would love to coach in LA for big bucks.

Another problem might be that the White Clippers would become the official franchise of a "certain element" of the American population.  I can see parking lots outside of every other NBA arena filled with pickup trucks and RV's flying Confederate flags--and the stands inside reverberating with rebel yells during the game.  And I can imagine entire sports talk show segments dedicated to "can you win an NBA title with just white players--and will this be the new trend in basketball?"

Maybe it might be best to just let the NBA save face as best they can and force Donald Sterling out with a fantastic golden parachute to cushion his fall.  It's not like he's going to feel any guilt or shame for what he has done.

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