Donald Sterling, Not A Popular Guy

For those of you who missed my post last night, SB Nation has a whole ‘storystream’ section devoted to the fact that Donald Sterling is an ugly racist reprehensible human being, and — more significantly — what kind of punishment can be brought upon him for his latest ugly racist behavior. Maybe it’s just that SB Nation is full of moonbat liberals, but I find it kind of amazing that nobody’s bothered to pull out the ever-popular “But he’s old and out of it! Things were so different, back in his retrospectively nostalgic day!” IIRC even disgusting old racist baseball-team owner Marge Schott had a backup chorus of “But’s she’s old & retro!” defenders, so Donald Sterling must be a really unpleasant fella at the office, I guess.

As a sample, here’s Paul Flannery, “There’s nowhere left for Donald Sterling to hide“:

Sterling is finally now the league’s problem. For reasons that have never been properly explained or examined, David Stern gave him what amounted to a lifetime free pass. His fellow owners did the same. Sterling was one of Stern’s greatest blind spots, a wretched blot on a league that likes to present itself as a shining beacon of enlightened thought and progressive views. That’s over now too, the myth exposed by its greatest hypocrisy.

New commissioner Adam Silver dutifully played the whole thing down the middle, which was annoying but probably legally sound…

Fine. Let the process play itself out. Sterling is known for suing anyone and everyone who threatens his standing and for paying whatever it takes to make things go away. The commissioner sounded like a lawyer preparing for legal action and there’s no upside, no matter how tantalizing, in giving the public a tasty soundbite. For now, anyway.

The excommunication of Sterling should have started years ago. It took Major League Baseball several years to get rid of Marge Schott, a process that included hefty fines and long suspensions. You can’t shame someone who is shameless, but you can make it increasingly difficult to remain a member of an exclusive club…

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66 replies
  1. 1
    ulee says:

    Slim Shady got it right. But get this bastard. Get him!

  2. 2
    Comrade Jake says:

    I’m still trying to get over the fact that the LA NAACP was set to give him a lifetime achievement award. TPM had a really good piece today taking down the whole thing, about how these assholes throw money at various charities to cover up their bad image, and the charities are all too happy to reward them for it.

    Not a good look for anyone.

  3. 3
    Mr Stagger Lee says:

    Has any other owner other than Michael Jordan has spoken out and condemned Sterling? The fact that Mark Cuban punked out, is a tell. I guess they figure these African American players are just a commodity.

  4. 4
    burnspbesq says:

    So Sterling is forced to sell, and walks away with over $400 million after tax on a $12.5 million initial investment.

    I wish someone would punish me like that.

  5. 5
    ulee says:

    lot of dogs siccing on prey. It’s CNN here. Get a grip.

  6. 6
    burnspbesq says:

    @Comrade Jake:

    What did you think lifetime achievement awards were for, if not to recognize big donors? You didn’t really think that achievements had anything to do with it, did you?

  7. 7
    trollhattan says:

    @Mr Stagger Lee:
    The owners, probably to a man, are sifting through the calculus of all the side deals they’ve cut with this douche to figure out whether it hurts them/their investment, before “doing the right thing.” It’s the billionaire boys club.

    O/T In which Ukrainian Nazi sympathizers threaten Russia-loving patriots’ iron truncheons with their criminal bodies.

  8. 8
    The Dangerman says:


    …and walks away with over $400 million…

    Only if there’s a fire sale; the Bucks were worth nearly $600M … and they suck. Clippers might be worth closer to a billion. The Clippers may be so damaged in LA that a billionaire from Seattle steps in and tries to move them there (thus, driving up the price).

  9. 9
    lamh36 says:

    @Mr Stagger Lee: I totally agree that Cuban punked out, but I’ve never been a fan.

    Brennan: It’s up to NBA owners to dump Donald Sterling

  10. 10
    henrythefifth says:

    I guess I understand why the Clippers’ players didn’t boycott the game since it would have meant forfeiting. But why didn’t the Clippers ask the Warriors to join them and BOTH boycott the game to send a statement? They’d have to reschedule the game and neither team would have taken a loss. It would have sent a stronger message than turning t-shirts inside out, that’s for sure.

    Imagine both teams lining up for the jump ball, then silently walking off the court, coaches, benches and all into the locker rooms.

    All I heard today on the radio were two choices: 1. The Clippers were wimps for failing to boycott alone and forfeit the game or 2. They were heroes for turning their shirts inside out and playing despite the adversity.

    Really, I think the option I outlined above would have sent a better message with no real loss to players on either team (and a huge PR/scheduling headache for the NBA). Better yet, all teams could have boycotted a game.

  11. 11
    Cassidy says:

    @ulee: You’re really invested in defending an old, white bigot. If you’re trying to get a piece of the action, actually sucking his dick would be faster. He probably doesn’t know you’re commenting here.

  12. 12
    beltane says:

    Donald Sterling’s best course of action would be to sell the Clippers, find Jesus, and then run as a GOP presidential contender in 2016. He would be like a one-man Newt Gingrich and Donald Trump combo.

  13. 13
    ulee says:

    @Cassidy: I’m not invested in defending this idiot. As for old, we’ll all get there if we’re lucky. Dump on the old, moron.

  14. 14
    lamh36 says:

    @henrythefifth: I think I understand why the players didn’t boycott the last game.

    But tomorrow, the league will hold a press conference. I’m thinking if the NBA Commisioner and the BOG and owners don’t do anything substantive to Sterling, then I’m sorry, but it will be on the players to hold a REAL protest.

    As someone said (Olbermann said it I think) if the 80% of the NBA players (who are AA) collected refused to play a game until the league did more to sanction Sterling, I suspect THAT would put a fire under the league and owners to get shhhh done.

  15. 15
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @ulee: So you are just going to fight for the sake of fighting again. Got it.

  16. 16
    burnspbesq says:

    @The Dangerman:

    I’m implicitly assuming that he won’t be able to hold out for top dollar if he’s being forced to sell. His combined Federal and California tax rate would be around 30 percent.

  17. 17
    Cassidy says:

    @ulee: Yeah. You make zero sense. I’m not even sure you’ve figured out what you actually think.

  18. 18
    Long Tooth says:

    I’ll grant him this: at least Sterling [has yet] to “apologize to anyone I may have offended”.

  19. 19
    henrythefifth says:

    @lamh36: Oh, glad someone like (Olbermann) said that. That’s the type of potential action I was thinking of.

  20. 20
    ulee says:

    @lamh36: I’m fighting the good fight. Bastards better back off.

  21. 21
    The Dangerman says:


    I’m implicitly assuming that he won’t be able to hold out for top dollar if he’s being forced to sell.

    I suppose, but (IANAL, so be kind) if he is forced to sell under market value by the league, he can sue for damages there, too (I’m assuming the league has no trigger to pull to remove him for cause).

  22. 22
    ulee says:

    sorry for the multiple posts.

  23. 23
    ulee says:

    Don’t dump on the oldsters. They didn’t ask for it. They just arrived there.

  24. 24
    burnspbesq says:

    @The Dangerman:

    Worth a shot, but if there is something in the league’s governing documents that allows it to force out an owner for conduct detrimental to the league, he’ll probably lose.

    Here’s the model California jury instruction for the tort of interference with a prospective economic advantage (note that it’s not clear whether California law would apply).

    I think you’ll agree that the fourth element is problematic for Sterling.

  25. 25
    ulee says:

    and anyone who attacks old people. You are dumber than dumb is defi ned.

  26. 26
    RareSanity says:

    @The Dangerman:

    The “technicality” would be that the NBA wouldn’t be “forcing” Sterling to sell, so he wouldn’t be able to sue for damages.

    It is just going to start being damn near impossible for Sterling to conduct business, as an NBA franchise, so he is going to choose to sell on his own.

    Either way, he’s going to make a substantial profit over his initial investment, but nowhere near what he could have made if he was selling under more favorable circumstances.

  27. 27
    The Thin Black Duke says:

    @ulee: Hey, I’m sorry, but Sterling ain’t a lonely old man living in a trailer park trying to decide whether to buy either groceries or meds because he ran out of money before he ran out of month.

  28. 28
    RareSanity says:


    According to the “undisclosed sources”, the only thing in the NBA bylaws that allow a franchise to be forcibly removed from an owner is gambling.

  29. 29
    SatanicPanic says:

    @burnspbesq: It’s not just the money though, it’s the bragging rights that come with owning a sports team

    @The Dangerman: I don’t think they can move because of the deal they made with the City of LA when the city built the Staples Center. But I could totally be wrong on that.

  30. 30
    ulee says:

    @The Thin Black Duke: I’m just a white guy deciding ( the puppies eat first then maybe I’ll eat)

  31. 31
    lamh36 says:

    @RareSanity: someone on one of the sports channel I saw was basically saying the same thing.

    Essentially, let’s say they do nothing or Sterling stays, what free agent or player would want to sign on with the Clippers? So far there are sponsors either suspending or outright ending their sponsorship of the team.

    In other news, ya know ya fucked up when Limpballs is calling you out as a racist (I know, I know, it’s a “black pot meet black kettle” moment, but stilll fucked up)

    Limbaugh: Sterling Only ‘In Trouble’ Because He Didn’t Donate Enough To Obama (AUDIO)

    Limbaugh said on his show that he learned 10 to 15 years ago that Sterling was a racist, and that everybody in Los Angeles ignored it because the Clippers were overshadowed by the Lakers anyway.

    “It’s been so widely know by everybody in the NBA, everybody in the sports media for 10-15 years,” Limbaugh said. “Everybody in the media, from LA to New York, who’s acting shocked about this, I’m telling you they’ve known who this guy is for the longest time. They’ve known he is a slum lord. They know that he is a racist. They know that he’s basically a despicable human being, and now he may be demented.”…

  32. 32
    The Dangerman says:


    …but nowhere near what he could have made if he was selling under more favorable circumstances.

    Your lips, God’s ears, etc; maybe if he takes a financial bath, he’ll wake up before he checks out.

  33. 33
    srv says:

    This team is everything to his wife. Imagine being her. Bonfire of the Inanities. If I were a billionaire from Seattle, I’d have that mistress on the payroll.

    Sterling, so boring, so LA. I’m going to watch some NHL, where we don’t have these problems.

  34. 34
    The Thin Black Duke says:

    @ulee: As long as you don’t wind up eating the puppies.

  35. 35
    ulee says:

    @The Thin Black Duke: Puppies are almost four years old, but they’ll always be the puppies.

  36. 36
    RareSanity says:


    It’s over for him.

    It’s just a matter of when he decides to accept it.

    Just like Marge Schott.

  37. 37
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @RareSanity: I have heard that cockroaches can actually live quite a while after their heads are removed.

  38. 38
    r€nato says:

    @RareSanity: I agree. There’s so many ways this can end with Sterling forced to sell the team. Whether it’s a fire sale or not is not entirely predictable; depends on the damage control and how stubborn he is about playing this out to the bitter end.

    Sponsors are leaving or ‘suspending and re-assessing’ their support, which surely would impact the value of the franchise… but they could very easily come back should this somehow blow over.

    Seems to me the ace in the hole is the players and their union. I can think of several ways they could make ownership very unattractive for Sterling should he insist on sticking around and/or the commish doesn’t do enough to get him out.

  39. 39
    J.D. Rhoades says:


    Correct me if I’m wrong but ISTR Schott made her statements in a public interview. Sterling made his racist screed in a private conversation, not meant to be heard. Is there actually a legal/contractual basis for terminating someone’s ownership for that? Some colleagues of mine and I were discussing this over lunch and were wondering if there’s some sort of clause in whatever agreement you sign to have your team be part of the NBA that you won’t bring shame and dishonor on the team, the NBA or the sport. Anyone know the answer to this?

  40. 40
  41. 41
    r€nato says:

    @J.D. Rhoades: apparently there are very limited circumstances under which an owner can lose his or her franchise. One of them is not being able to make payroll. I very much doubt there is any sort of ‘morals clause’ in NBA bylaws as regards owners. Players, yes.

    On the other hand, it’s not out of the question for either the league or the players union or both to make continued ownership unviable for Sterling.

  42. 42
    lamh36 says:

    @SamAmicoFSO 17m
    According to paragraph 13 of #NBA constitution, owners have right to revoke someone else’s ownership of a team by a three-fourths vote.

  43. 43
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @muddy: Cockroaches make a better comparison to Sterling.

  44. 44
    muddy says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: But this sentence from the link about Mike sounds like it could fit him: “This is a good example of central motor generators enabling basic homeostatic functions to be carried out in the absence of the cerebral cortex.”

  45. 45
    J.D. Rhoades says:


    Jesus. I could have lived a long and happy life without ever seeing that.

  46. 46
    AnotherBruce says:

    I find it funny (In a good way) that AL has become a Sports Blog Nation fan. Because I’m guessing that she is so not a sports fan. But SBN is a very good internet sports source, not the least because they monitor their sites and do not tolerated racism, sexism or homophobia. They generally have a no politics rule, Which is a bit tricky for the reasons I just outlined.

  47. 47
    Mnemosyne says:


    I don’t think they can move because of the deal they made with the City of LA when the city built the Staples Center. But I could totally be wrong on that.

    I think you’re wrong about that, because the Staples Center was built with NO public money — it was all privately financed. But it’s entirely possible that the Clippers have a deal with that private corporation that would be much less breakable than an agreement with a mere city would be. I’m sure there were lawyers up the wazoo making sure of that.

  48. 48
    burnspbesq says:

    This seems like a good answer.

    Although it would be fun to start a rumor about a franchise swap between Sterling and the Glazers, just to watch the heads of Manchester United supporters explode.

  49. 49
    muddy says:

    @J.D. Rhoades: I was very taken with it. I immediately thought of this joke my dad used to tell about a French aristocrat getting his head chopped off, Don’t hatchet your Counts before they chicken.

    ETA: I mean, it tried to preen its feathers with its neck! How amazing is that?

  50. 50
    JCJ says:


    I saw in the earlier post thread that you are not a fan of Mark Cuban. I am not a fan either but I might offer a guess as to why he might have made his slippery slope statement regarding removing Sterling as an owner. With the number of fines for criticizing the league and the officiating Cuban has had in his time owning the Mavericks I could imagine he would not want to have a precedent set for forcing out an owner at the behest of the other owners without it being explicitly stated in whatever constitution the NBA has. I imagine he could see himself in a situation where some percentage of NBA owners wanted to be rid of him for something not explicitly stated in the constitution if the owners could now oust Sterling (deserved yes, but perhaps a bad precedent.)

  51. 51
    SatanicPanic says:

    @Mnemosyne: Oh OK, yeah, I must have misheard the part about the city, but I remember hearing that a condition of funding it (I guess by private backers) was finding three teams to play there, so they’re probably locked into a very long-term lease of some sort. There are probably heaps of other entities with deals with the Staples Center that if a team leaves they can leave, so extricating a team from all that would be interesting.

  52. 52
    lamh36 says:

    @JCJ: I understand that, but in this case, Sterling has a longer history and actual DOJ lawsuit confirmed his practice of discriminatory housing and has been a knowbn racist douchebag longer than Cuban has been a hot-headed young idiot new monied nowner who likes to mouth off.

    There is a big difference. As the article said, it’s the owners who have the real power to make sure Sterlings get’s what should have been coming to him for a long time.

    Now this statement from Cavs majority owner is to the point and nothing about “slippery slopes”.

    “It is shocking that anyone could hold the kind of offensive and feeble minded views that are being attributed allegedly to the Clippers owner, Donald Sterling. The diverse staff members of the Cleveland Cavaliers franchise are unified in encouraging Commissioner Silver and the NBA to respond with swift and appropriate action consistent with a strong zero tolerance approach to this type of reprehensible behavior.”

    Cuban’s “slippery slope” comment is a cop-out plain and simple. He obviously could really care less. It’s the owners who have the most power in this situation to do something about Sterling that they were obviously never willing to do before until this tape.

    I agree with what this twitter comment says:

    @GrooveSDC 6m
    Mark Cuban saying he doesn’t want to kick Donald Sterling out the league is a shot across the bow from the NBA owners. Going to be a fight.

  53. 53
    Crouchback says:

    The difference between Donald Sterling and your typical cranky old man is a little under $2 billion. The reason most of us tolerate cranky old men is because they’re old, don’t have a lot of pull and will be dead soon enough and so we can make exceptions based on age. Sterling has real clout. Unfortunately we’re likely to see more of this in the future. If you combined the increased concentration of wealth at the top of society and social mobility with the increase in life expectancy, you come up against a rather disturbing fact. We’re not just seeing a return to hereditary oligarchy – we’re seeing power and wealth concentrated among the oldest of the 1%. Basically, we’re going to see more and more real world equivalents of Monty Burns.

  54. 54
    Jennifer says:

    I know I’ll be castigated, but I have to say this.

    Stirling said some ugly things in what he thought was a private conversation. That’s no excuse for saying those things, just as his age doesn’t excuse his racism.

    But this is edging close to thoughtcrime, and what I mean when I say that is, had Stirling’s girlfriend not recorded the conversation, Stirling would still be a racist. We just wouldn’t know about it or at least wouldn’t have the proof in our hands.

    The difference between the two is that he said it out loud. But he didn’t say it out loud in public. Again, that doesn’t excuse his way of thinking…but I think at some point we have to accept that there are lots of “secret” racists out there, and a lot of racists who don’t think they are racists, and so forth, and as much as we abhor what they believe, and no question we should always push back against it…these people unfortunately have a right to their misguided beliefs and also unfortunately, the right to pursue whatever career path and goals they may have, certainly the right to at the very least earn a living. Their pursuit of their goals may ultimately be stopped due to others’ rejection of their beliefs – they don’t have a right to insist that other people be ok with them being troglodytes – but they at the very least do have the right to believe what they believe and earn a living. Not suggesting that Stirling has a right to continue owning a team or that he would ever need to earn a living, but at some level, we’ve got to accept that these people are among us and have the right to be cavemen.

    That’s all. Pile on.

  55. 55
    Mnemosyne says:


    We just wouldn’t know about it or at least wouldn’t have the proof in our hands.

    If you haven’t seen the essay by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar in Time, it’s well worth a read. Sterling’s racism was very well-known as he had been sued multiple times for housing discrimination and employment discrimination. But the media is finally paying attention because Sterling’s girlfriend is hawt and Magic Johnson’s name is involved.

    IOW, no one in the media gave a shit when Sterling was discriminating against poor black and brown people, but throw in a girl in a low-cut dress, an audio recording, and Magic Johnson on Instagram and suddenly holy shit, it’s fucking news!

  56. 56
    Jennifer says:

    @Mnemosyne: Like I said, he’s not entitled to own a team – and add to that, to break housing or employment laws. But I’m still with the rest of what I said. The fact is, most racists won’t ever get media attention, and a lot of them who are high-profile enough that they might will fly under the radar. It’s out there and some people are going to continue to think this way no matter how much it’s condemned.

  57. 57
    Temporarily Max McGee (soon enough to be Andy K again) says:


    The fact that his basketball team is no longer seen as some sort of bad joke probably bumped this up a few notches, too.

  58. 58
    Jordan Rules says:

    @Jennifer: We accept it and we’ll pile on him. His beliefs either directly or indirectly lead to others not being able to make a living or an equal living due to their ‘race’. So his beliefs shall be challenged and he can continue to try to make a living, which is his right, while believing that others don’t have that same right in the same way as him. When his beliefs are propelled and enabled by an institutional dynamic that allows for more damage than the comments themselves we should be hesitant to use the thought-crime defense because it feeds the beast and the institutional punishments affecting the victims are far more dangerous than condemning selected speech and allowing justice to coincide with vested demand from varied vested interests to remove the offender from power.

  59. 59
    Mnemosyne says:


    Like I said, he’s not entitled to own a team – and add to that, to break housing or employment laws. But I’m still with the rest of what I said.

    Admitting that he’s broken both housing and employment laws to earn his living but then insisting that he’s still allowed to earn a living is a little … illogical, don’t you think?

    It’s not “thoughtcrime” to point out that Sterling put his professed beliefs into practice and cheated his tenants. And note that the link is to an article that’s reprinted from a 2010 book — the media knew this about Sterling, they knew he was actively using his position to discriminate against people, and no one in the media cared until they could turn it into a story about Donald Sterling’s hot girlfriend.

  60. 60
    Temporarily Max McGee (soon enough to be Andy K again) says:


    And note that the link is to an article that’s reprinted from a 2010 book — the media knew this about Sterling, they knew he was actively using his position to discriminate against people, and no one in the media cared until they could turn it into a story about Donald Sterling’s hot girlfriend.

    You’re missing the forest for the (entertainment industry) trees here.

    Sterling has had those housing/civil rights lawsuits filed in the past, and he’s had some palimony (de facto if not de jure) suits with some equally hawt women in the past, too,. but the stories got buried in the local papers, on pages where no one from out of town, reporter or fan, was going to red them. Did TMZ headline this because current GF is a hawtie? Sure, I’ll give you that. But ESPN, SI, Time and the cable news networks are running with it because Sterling is the owner of a (now pretty damned good, if consistently horrid in the past) NBA franchise.

  61. 61
    scav says:

    @Temporarily Max McGee (soon enough to be Andy K again): Might also add that the news context itself has somewhat changed. 24/7 high-octane high-scandal-click-seeking media have been increasingly insatiable and this makes back-page hiding more difficult, even for small-town sheriffs et al, as has been demonstrated. Additional turbo on this story is that so little has really to be really investigated as so much was already on-record and well-known to a few. Large chunks of this is simple search, copy and paste — the fuel wood has been building up for a while. A spark under the right conditions (hot girlfriend, winning games, pre-existing focus on world-class racist) and whoof!

  62. 62
    Gvg says:

    the personal opinion recorded of someone with no power can remain a discussion about if we should allow illegal recording. In this case, it just got in the news to a lot more people than before the fact that he was using his wealth and power to hurt other people in real ways such as employment and housing. that is illegal and a whole not her story. It is true we could have known about it before but most of us didn’t. what really makes me uncomfortable is the thought of his black employee’s. for that matter I wouldn’t want to work for him if I was a white athlete. It shows the problems with the draft system. periodically I wonder if that should be allowed. If too many people wonder like that, it threatens the whole group of team owners.

  63. 63
    AntonMestoir says:

    Mark Cuban does not know the meaning (or how to use) of ‘Slippery Slope’! [1]

    Saying something is a slippery slope is a way of saying your argument’s logic is false and misleading that A will not necessarily lead to B and then C. In this case, ousting Donald S will not lead to wholesale ousting of other owners like him for arbitrary reasons once this precedent is set. Cuban’s argument is the Slippery Slope NOT ousting Donald Sterling.

    Sorry for being technical, but had to chime in as this hurt my brain. Especially, from such a wealthy guy – he should show better education.


  64. 64
    Paul in KY says:

    @Jennifer: What was recorded doesn’t stop him from continuing to run his empire. Doesn’t make it easier for him, but he still owns those businesses, still gets those checks, etc.

  65. 65
    Pattonbt says:

    My punishment for Stirling is let all current players become unrestricted free agents immediately. If they choose, they can stay on their current contract. And as long as Stirling owns the Clippers, all player contracts would be binding one way. Guaranteed for the player if they stay, or at their choice, anytime in a contract they could leave and become unrestricted free agents.

    Stirling won’t go quietly. He’ll pull a non apology apology. Make it sound wonderfully real. Go to counselling and put on a show of contrition that will make it hard for the nba to do the right thing, because the other owners don’t want a precedent set and they’ve let Stirling get away with this forever. So this is kind of like strike one, unfortunately.

    It will be up to the players in the end to get him out. They’ll have to act in complete unison and be willing to lose checks. That’s going to be hard to get. And the deep playoffs are soon, then the off season. Enough distraction and time for the nba to go weak in final outcomes.

    Barring Stirling willingly walking away (likelihood zero) this won’t end anywhere near the way it should.

    Bug I’m a cynic, so there’s that. And an idiot.

  66. 66
    WaterGirl says:

    @lamh36: Here’s what I don’t understand: why would we expect only the AA players to refuse to play? I would expect nearly all the players, black or white, to refuse to play,

    If this is offensive only to AA folks, we are in big trouble.

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