ON THE TUNNEYSIDE of SPORTS May 5, 2014 #487 Up next…”Tarnished Sterling!”
After further review…On occasion my mom would call out from her kitchen: “Jimmie, will you set the table for dinner using our sterling silver flatware while I jump in my baby blue Mercedes and run to the store?” Her lighthearted reference to ‘the finest’ always came with a chuckle. We had neither! As of this writing, the NBA is without its “Sterling” forever, and good riddance.
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver has banned Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald T. Sterling for life from attending or being involved with the operation of his or any other NBA team. Three months at the NBA helm, Silver took an unprecedented action against one of the league’s longest tenured owners in response to the public exposure of a recorded conversation between Sterling and a young woman with whom he had a relationship. Sterling’s contribution to the conversation was a finger-wagging, racist admonition that she steer clear of Clippers games while in the company of African-Americans such as NBA legend Magic Johnson. That kind of attitude from a man in his position is hard to fathom. The Tunney Side believes that Silver’s decision was 100% correct!
Even before Sterling’s identity was confirmed the report went viral, and his true characteristics were on display for all the world to see and hear. For many, it was not a revelation. Sterling bought the Clippers and moved them from San Diego to Los Angeles in the early 1980s. He attempted to hire former Villanova basketball coach, Rollie Massimino to pull the struggling Clippers out of their dysfunctional state. Massimino terminated the interview when Sterling used racist terms to describe his players. The plantation-owner demeanor of Sterling is well-documented, both in anecdotes and lawsuits. The latest episode is simply the most public one.
There was some talk that the Clippers players would walk away from the playoffs. Silver’s quick action removed that concern. But even without the commissioner’s swift action, the thinking here is that the T*E*A*M should have continued in its quest for the title. The integrity of the game counts most. And fans come to see players and coaches, not real estate moguls.
There has been an occasional suggestion that Sterling’s “advanced age” (80) was the real culprit, that somehow a bigoted display is excused in an “old white guy.” Such a suggestion amounts to an apology for behavior that has no place in the evaluation of human beings.
Will you show the consistency of your character in both private and public?
Jim’s new book “101 Best of Tunney Side of Sports is available at tunneysideofsports.com