Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Rant #1,197: Just Not Enough

Yes, the NBA did what it had to do yesterday, and basically banned Donald Sterling for life from the league.

The owner of the Los Angeles Clippers, who made insensitive comments about blacks in a recorded rant, cannot do anything related to his team and the league.

He cannot attend games, he cannot attend Board of Governors meetings, he can't participate in player moves, he can't really do much of anything.

And he was also fined the maximum, which to a billionaire, is nothing but play money.

With an upcoming vote by owners, just a three-quarters majority is needed to force him to sell the team.

Commissioner Adam Silver was strong in his repulsion at what had transpired with Sterling shooting off his mouth against Magic Johnson and then blacks in general.

He even apologized to the earliest black players in the game, the ones who opened the door to the Lebron Jameses and other black players who followed.

Look, Silver had to do something, because if he wasn't quick and thorough about it, players would have boycotted the league.

Former player Larry Johnson, who you never know if his tongue is firmly in his cheek or if he is serious, said that the players should start their own "black" league.

Of course, if he was serious, that wouldn't solve anything, and make everything worse.

But back to Silver.

He did what he had to do, and he was applauded for it.

But he should have gone at least one step further.

With this incident, and past incidents in hand, he should have said that every person who is employed by the NBA--from him to owners, team executives, players, and any periphery people--must take sensitivity training classes related to race, religion, and male/female relations.

With all of its strides, the NBA has had many incidents beyond this latest one that says that yes, it is progressive in some ways, and dinosaurs in other ways.

The NBA was the first league to "allow" blacks to hold positions of authority, including coaches, team executives, and yes, owners.

It was also the first of the major professional sports leagues to allow women to officiate, and it does boast the supposedly first openly gay player.

But it also boasts negative incidents too. The Yao Ming/Charles Barkley incident is one of the worst, the Knicks anti-Semitic rants are another, and again the supposed anti-Asian feelings between certain Knicks players and former teammate Jeremy Lin is yet another.

Also involving the Knicks over the years is a sexual discrimination lawsuit that they lost. Most recently, J.R. Smith was fined a small sum for posting anti-female images on Twitter.

And the use of the N-word still exists in this league, as is the degradation of some of those who happen to be white and play in this nearly all-black league.

I would have thought that Silver would have taken the opportunity to look at the league's history beyond those black trailblazers.

The league started out as a Jewish league, with most of the earliest ballplayers being Jews. Heck, Silver and Sterling are Jews.

As the generations came and went, the league continued to be one of opportunity for those on the "outside" of the WASP populace, and blacks emerged as the greatest force in the league.

While Silver apologized to the trailblazers, he should have apologized to all. It is the league's history that makes it strong, and without sensitivity training, his actions yesterday are almost hollow.

Now back to Sterling. Even if he is "forced" to sell, it doesn't mean that he has to sell. That would take a court action, which isn't going to happen.

And why did it take more than 30 years to "out" this guy? He has had some questionable dealings in the past, both inside and outside of the league. Why did it take until now to get rid of this cancer?

The next thing is that I still have this question: Why was the tape made to begin with?

Conspiracy theorists would say that making the tape pushed the scenario that Sterling, always one of the most hated owners in the league, was going to be pushed out of the league by the making of the tape.

He mentions Magic Johnson, and Johnson just happens to be part of a group that is rumored to be interested in purchasing the Clippers.

So, some would say that the scenario was set into motion by this tape, that certain people wanted Sterling out and Johnson and his group in, and that is why the tape was made.

Hmmmm ...

Look, the NBA had to do something.

My problem is that it didn't do enough, certainly not enough to make sure that something like this doesn't happen again.

Silver has come out of this looking like gold, but to me, he could have done more, and looks more like tin now, easily pliable and bendable at a mere touch.

He should have done more, much more, and what he did simply isn't enough.

Mark my words, we have not heard the last of this. You can bet the arena on that.

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