While I could not care less about professional basketball and I realize from reading that LA Clippers owner Donald Sterling is a bigot, to say the least, and a quite distasteful person who sees his and other black basketball players as high-paid slaves on the plantation of the NBA (blacks make up 75 percent of the players I read), it is unnerving that private phone conversations can get a person into so much hot water.
He has been banned (or soon is to be) from the NBA, fined $2.5 million by the league, and a forced sale of his team is in the offing, all over words in an apparently secretly taped phone conversation in which he criticized his girlfriend (mistress) for and admonished her against hanging around with blacks. Ironically, she herself is half black. And as I read it, the old guy is married and the woman in question is much younger than him.
Sterling has a history of racism and is said to have forced black families out of housing he owned and I think may have been a slum lord.
So, whatever, Sterling seems to be horrid person. And I have no sympathy for him.
I also realize that people in the public spotlight have to work and live under different conditions than the normal citizen. But one wonders whether there is anything such as privacy and the right to hold your own opinions anymore.
This incident does prove, though, that one does not have to have good judgment to be rich.
It is said that even if he is forced to sell the team he could make upwards of a billion dollars on the transaction, after buying the Clippers at a much lower price. There is some talk of somehow keeping him from profiting from the sale, but it would seem that there would be significant legal barriers to that and that Sterling would have the wherewithal to fight that.
In this case the NBA governing body has little choice but to do something decisive due to public uproar.
But probably the biggest and most effective pressure is from the commercial part of it all. Sponsors are fleeing the team not wanting to be associated with racism and thus putting them into a bad light with their potential customers.
And that is as it should be.
I have not yet read up on the deal with his, I guess mistress. I guess it is her who taped the conversations. Maybe she was trying to blackmail him. It’s all very sordid.