Not only was the National Basketball Association taken aback from the racist remarks by Los Angeles Clippers’ owner Donald Sterling but the nation perhaps as well. The Clippers’ owner was banned for life and fined $2.5 million for his remarks captured on audio for chastising a lady friend about bringing her African-American friends to a game. He must have forgotten that 70 percent of the players in the league are African-Americans and perhaps an even higher percentage are employed as players for his team. Now the scene shifts from whether the league owners can force him to sell his team and this means it’s going to court. Celebrities such as Oprah Winfrey have been rumored to be interested in buying the team. For a lady known to give cars away to her audience, what kind of ‘giveaway’ can you imagine for the thousands who attend Clippers’ game?
If it weren’t for the stupidity and lack of judgement of Sterling’s remarks, the ‘gaffe’ uttered by Secretary of State John Kerry would have been given a much larger scrutiny by the media. In discussing possible break-down of negotiations between Israel and its enemies, Kerry uttered the word ‘apartheid’ in detailing talks of a ‘two-state’ political result for Israel. He later said his choice of the word was something he regretted.
Remember some of the other words or actions which de-railed individuals. How about Sen. Craig playing ‘footsies’ inside a bathroom stall inside an airport. In 2004, Howard Dean will be remembered for his ‘primal’ scream after placing third in the Iowa Primary. Gov. Mark Sanford excusing his absence by saying he was hiking the Appalachian Trail while he was in South America with his mistress. The attempted ‘selling’ of Obama’s Senate seat by the then Illinois governor “Hot Rod.”
In today’s social media world, everyone seemingly has a phone which could put us in a very embarrassing situation. Sometimes I think celebrities believe they are beyond approach or just say things which will attract both attention to them to promote their careers. Sterling’s investment into the Clippers has multiplied in value since the 1980s. No amount of money will buy back the respect he has lost. Racism is something which has been with people through the ages with no future. Again, why can’t people be positive?
By Bob Simmons