Late Night Fun Read: “How to Fire An Owner”

While we’re on the topic of horrible plutocrats, here’s David Roth, at SBNation, on the Racist Disgrace of the Moment:

It is both exceedingly difficult and strikingly easy to own a professional sports team. The difficult part is finding enough ready capital to own a team. The easy part is everything else…

These elites run to flab in general, but their rhetoric is, in the steroidal Galt-ian mode of the moment, cartoonishly muscular. Competition and more competition, wealth won through combat, eating what one kills and compromise as a sort of death and so swaggeringly on. And yet the walled-in microeconomy that these heroes of capital make for themselves is a feather-cushioned utopia, enabled by a sort of feudalism on the ground, protected by antitrust exemptions and dubious nonprofit status from above, and defined throughout by institutionalized semi-collusion and the gentlemanly socialism of revenue sharing.

Here is a heaven of shared ends, socialized risk and privatized profit. Everything in its right place, unchallenged and unchallengeable, and so very easy.

So easy, in fact, that it took three decades for a clownish scoundrel like Donald Sterling to screw it up.

During his 30 years in this dream manor, Sterling treated everyone involved in every team-related transaction like garbage. This was, it’s worth noting, still better than he treated the people that lived in the properties that made him rich: the various minorities he cheated, bullied, exploited and immiserated; the outgunned authorities he stiff-armed, ignored and finally bought off through history-making discrimination settlements that spared him the punishment he richly deserved. All these disgraces played out in public, in high Sterling- ian fashion, and he sat courtside all the while…

6 replies
  1. 1
    waspuppet says:

    In the past two weeks, Donald Sterling has done more damage to the idea that you have to be smart to get rich than anyone or anything since the last time Donald Trump opened his mouth.

  2. 2
    Mike G says:

    The only thing I knew about Sterling before recent events was that he ran half-page ads about himself almost every day in the LA Times. Sometimes promoting his apartment buildings, but more often than not extolling his personal awesomeness via some charity award or gala. Creepy.

  3. 3
    J.Ty says:

    My brain and heart thank me for the probably-hilarious-in-retrospect things I’ve put them through in the last two weeks. In the meantime, I’ve had this stuck in my craw.

    ETA: Sorry, thought I saw “open thread” around here somewhere

    “Epitaph to a Dog”, by Lord Byron (mostly)

    Near this Spot
    are deposited the Remains of one
    who possessed Beauty without Vanity,
    Strength without Insolence,
    Courage without Ferocity,
    and all the virtues of Man without his Vices.

    This praise, which would be unmeaning Flattery
    if inscribed over human Ashes,
    is but a just tribute to the Memory of
    Boatswain, a Dog
    who was born in Newfoundland May 1803
    and died at Newstead Nov. 18th, 1808

    When some proud Son of Man returns to Earth,
    Unknown to Glory, but upheld by Birth,
    The sculptor’s art exhausts the pomp of woe,
    And storied urns record who rests below.
    When all is done, upon the Tomb is seen,
    Not what he was, but what he should have been.
    But the poor Dog, in life the firmest friend,
    The first to welcome, foremost to defend,
    Whose honest heart is still his Master’s own,
    Who labours, fights, lives, breathes for him alone,
    Unhonoured falls, unnoticed all his worth,
    Denied in heaven the Soul he held on earth –
    While man, vain insect! hopes to be forgiven,
    And claims himself a sole exclusive heaven.

    Oh man! thou feeble tenant of an hour,
    Debased by slavery, or corrupt by power –
    Who knows thee well, must quit thee with disgust,
    Degraded mass of animated dust!
    Thy love is lust, thy friendship all a cheat,
    Thy tongue hypocrisy, thy heart deceit!
    By nature vile, ennobled but by name,
    Each kindred brute might bid thee blush for shame.
    Ye, who behold perchance this simple urn,
    Pass on – it honours none you wish to mourn.
    To mark a friend’s remains these stones arise;
    I never knew but one — and here he lies.

  4. 4
    Walker says:

    I have been enjoying the Sterling/Master Shake mash-ups. He really does sound the same.

  5. 5
    bdb7098 says:

    Don’t forget, though, that until recently, the Clippers were the worst sports franchise in any sport. So, he had done his part by being an insanely cheap man, and being a brute to work for.

  6. 6
    charluckles says:


    Thank you for that.

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