Donald Sterling’s latest ventures in race and sociology make me not only think the guy would feel right at home in 1930’s America, but I also think he wants to capture some of that ol’ Sambo magic and recreate his own private Cotton Club in 2014.
You think I’m being extreme, huh?
Like the famous Jazz club, the Los Angeles Clippers’ Staples Center doesn’t have a race per se, but the venue’s audience is mostly filled with well-heeled White folks who pay plenty of money to watch well-paid Black entertainers.
The Cotton Club’s class and racial barriers were protected by high ticket prices and Jim Crow laws, while Sterling, without the benefit of state and local statutes, can only rely on filling his moat with high ticket prices.
Still, neither the Cotton Club’s owners nor Sterling ever appeared to be down with the idea of seeing a diverse audience, and the latter’s recent babbles caught on tape underscore his long-standing hangups about race.
Sterling’s reactionary wet dreams are not esoterica; his fellow NBA owners, as well as the general public, have been fully aware of this behavior for years.
But Sterling’s latest butt-tearing episode may generate enough discomfort among his 29 homies where there could be a request for Sterling to hand-in his ownership card.
Why? If Sterling remains in the news cycle, there is an increased likelihood that someone will ask a dangerously intelligent question like, “what about the rest of ‘em?”
That’s where the discomfort kicks in.
I can’t say that all NBA team owners are evil, and I can’t brand all of them racists – especially since we’re talking about a different kind of racial problem when living in your mono-racial world all these years may have never caused you to wonder why all your friends look like you. But there are enough franchise owners who exhibit the kind of bad behavior that the League of Owners would rather not see revisited in the press.
For instance, in any other industry, the actions of Chicago Bulls owner Jerry Reinsdorf over the years would be considered anti-labor.
How about George Shinn and that crazy kidnapping-for-sex case that led to him being exonerated for the kidnapping charges, but “guilty” for the sex while the accuser’s husband suddenly kills himself?
Franchise owner, Rich DeVos, was so against making the Orlando magic’s arena accessible to the disabled that he had to be sued by a group of disability advocates to force the changes. Plus, DeVos doesn’t think highly of AIDS patients and gay people. “It’s their fault for getting it” is the summary reasoning, as I recall.
Typically outspoken San Antonio Spurs owner, Mark Cuban, warned that throwing Sterling under the Lamborghini would create a “slippery slope.”
Take a second to think about that. Regardless of Cuban’s motivations behind the statement or which side you take on Cuban’s comments, you have to admit that he’s probably right.
Meanwhile the problem to solve that’s bigger than Sterling is how to take the Cotton Club vibe out of targeted areas of professional sports…
song currently stuck in my head: “outerspace” – mop mop
Update: As expected, the Lamborghini-throw happened.
song currently stuck in my head: “parade” – community feat. fonda rae