So now we know what it takes to force the cancellation of an NBA game.
An Act of God.
I’ve never seen an NBA game cancelled by “force majeure” – meteorite, earthquake, biblical flood – but after this Donald Sterling fiasco Sunday, it’s apparent that under all other circumstances, “The Show Must Go On!”
There would be no grand gestures, no socially conscious sticking out of any millionaires necks on Sunday. No walkouts, no lockouts, no sit-ins, or wildcat strikes. The coach got on board with pretending like they could handle this “unfortunate distraction” during weekday business hours, and the players fell in line behind him.
The broadcasters showed up. The networks turned on the cameras. And the show…. went on.
What a disgrace.
Starting of course at the source, Sterling himself. What a sad, pathetic, bigoted piece of shit he is. Given his past track record, and given that this was just ONE candid conversation which provided a window into his soul, just IMAGINE all the things he has said in limousines, on airplanes, in nightclubs, and over countless dinners among racist buddies!
But disgrace rolls quickly downhill from there, as the NBA sits with egg on its face from an owner they have KNOWN for years, was a racist time bomb just waiting to go off.
Too late, Adam Silver. Ka-boom.
It serves the NBA right, that the chickens finally came home to roost on this guy. You can claim all you want about how “hard” it is legally to “force” an owner out of the league, but Donald Sterling should have been drummed out of the NBA long ago. And there would have been plenty of ways to help make it happen.
This is as bad – if not worse – than David Stern having to be told by the FBI: “Pssst. You know, one of your refs… IS BETTING ON THE GAMES!”
The embarrassment rolls right down to Doc Rivers. A guy who has a. Played in the league forever. b. Coached in the league forever and even c. broadcast the NBA Finals in 2004 with Al Michaels.
Doc Rivers knows all of the league’s secrets. He knows where all the dead bodies are buried. Don’t be naive. And when Donald Sterling – known racist – came calling with a lot of money, a beachfront lifestyle, and a loaded team… Doc Rivers sat down and looked him in the eye, and said “yes.”
Don’t cry now, Glenn.
And how about that good ol’ NAACP of Los Angeles? Kinda embarrassing to have to cancel a SECOND “Lifetime Achievement Award” ceremony for this Antebellum relic at such a late date, huh?
Maybe Michael Richards or Mel Gibson are available.
But hey, the checks all cleared. So there’s that.
And lastly, how could it be that in a league of 80% black players, that not ONE single man on either team could stand up and say: “I don’t care what happens, I won’t be there on Sunday. Period. Not unless Sterling is suspended immediately, and the league assures me he’ll have sold the team by the start of next season.”
Nobody. Not one.
And that’s all it would have taken. Because one guy with a spine, would have allowed everyone else to fall in behind him. And what would the NBA do? Fine a player for this? Go ahead, see how that would have looked.
The NBA and it’s so-called “Investigation” of the matter. I mean, honestly? It’s a one question “investigation.” Donald, is that you?”
Silver should have suspended him indefinitely on the spot, and said the league would assist Mr. Sterling’s orderly exit from the NBA this summer, or the lawyers will roll.
“But it’s complicated….”
No. Not always. Sometimes it’s simple. Sometimes you say “I don’t care how inconvenienced fans might be if the game is cancelled. I don’t care if our team loses because I protest. (Did anyway..) I don’t care how much money they might fine me.”
And this league which has historically meddled into EVERYTHING to make sure it gets what it wants, suddenly got cold feet on this? This is a league that….
– Shanghaied Seattle out of a franchise
– Reversed the Chris Paul trade while owning the Hornets
– Played bare knuckles with Sacramento to get a new stadium
….just to name the most recent ones!
A league that freezes envelopes and strategically deploys Dick Bavetta when needed to ensure outcomes, they sure did botch this one.
Donald Sterling is finished as an owner, but now the league will have a bruise from this PR hit for decades.
Time for the NBA to start working on a new internal file called “Shitheel Owners Who Are Not Worth The Trouble” – and see if they don’t want a sequel to this sometime in the future.
Or, you can keep promoting “NBA Cares”… and hope the closet full of skeletons stays firmly shut.