Embattled Clippers owner Donald Sterling is not just racist.
The operative word being just.
He is racist and a whole lot of individual and societal bad things more all hiding behind a melted Mickey Rourke mask.
Sterling, 81, who is currently under investigation by the NBA for racist remarks recently released from a recorded conversation with his girlfriend V. Stiviano (38), is
probably not going to run a NBA franchise for very much longer, not on the letterhead anyway “banned for life” — but somehow still owns the team/owes the league more than three month’s LeBron pay.
Even in context his remarks were simple reminders of how far the American experiment hasn’t come in the last century and change.
If you haven’t already, you can listen to the conversation here on Deadspin. Basically he tells Stiviano he doesn’t want her to be hanging out with black guys because all the Ferraris and Bentleys and million-dollar apartments in the world can’t buy a flaccid, acrid white guy out of insecurity.
Stiviano, perhaps seeking a little spotlight (spotlight = $1.8 million to pay back the Sterling family in the embezzlement lawsuit dropped on her by Rochelle Sterling, Donald’s betrothed for the last half-century), has the nerve to question the flaw in her sugar daddy’s strategy/sets him up: “Do you know you have a whole team that’s black, that plays for you?
And this his response: “I support them and give them food, and clothes, and cars, and houses. Who gives it to them? Does someone else give it to them? …Who makes the game? Do I make the game, or do they make the game? Is there 30 owners, that created the league?”
So, yes, he’s racist, but he’s also so much more. After all, he basically outlines how he treats his players like his mistress …to his mistress.
Only one type of person could have such hubris.
If you peruse the Hare Psychopathy checklist, you’ll find a good many traits embedded in that singular comment:
• Glib and superficial charm
• Need for stimulation
• Cunning and manipulating
• Lack of remorse
• Poor behavior controls
• Sexual promiscuity
• Failure to accept responsibility for own actions
…There’s a handful of other tells related to more juvenile functions, but I believe it is safe to say Sterling, similar to the majority of professional sports franchise owners (see: Jerry Jones, Mark Cuban), publicly displays the same traits of a psycho.
Now, just because you’re a psychopath doesn’t necessarily mean you’re a quiet neighbor who “keeps to himself” and then one day is discovered to be hiding all kinds of journals with tiny writing and hanging car freshers from the ceiling of a slowly dying man; in fact, Kent A. Kiehl, PhD recently released a book about interviewing psychopaths for the last two decades and how most of them are integrated into mainstream society — or are at least up in the
masters’ owners’ suite.
Team ownership is the perfect avenue for a psycho who also happens to be white and, well, let’s face it — an oppressor.
Ever been to an NFL combine? No? Ever been to a cattle auction? Yes? Good. Because they’re the same thing. There is no more apparent subjective event that showcases how few steps we’ve come since we sprouted legs and trudged out of the mire than an NFL combine.
Potential draftees about to be shackled by the league’s many draconian policies, including no guaranteed contracts, no revenue share, a look-the-other-way drug enforcement program and its refusal to partner with Obama Care (though, to be fair if you play for three years you get five years insurance from the league after that, which gets most players and their scrambled brains almost through their early 30s) are numbered, tagged and monitored as they undertake a number of tests of physical stamina under the watchful eye of the overlord.
Hundreds of millions of dollars spent on stadiums make for the new plantations and even when the analogy is spiffed up as gladiators going to war, well, it helps to remember most gladiators were slaves. The benevolent owner staring down all pale Jell-o faced and creaky looking might as well be the archetypical villain in a Tarantino period piece. He’s not fooling anyone as he coaxes money from everyone.
And yes, it does matter that virtually all professional sports franchise owners are white men.
In 2013, more than 76 percent of NBA players were black. Of the NBA’s 49 majority owners, only one (His Airness of the Charlotte Bobcats) is black. All Major League Baseball owners are white with the exception of the LA Angels’ Arte Moreno, who is Latino. There are no black owners in the NFL even as the number of black players is more than 70 percent.
Sterling is a lesion soon to be extracted from professional sport and he will then report to rich old white guy oblivion, which happens to be movie night (Tuesday) at the Playboy Mansion. BYOO (bring your own oxygen). But the problem he represents is a Stage 4 Sarcoma.
It has spread to every vital organ of professional sport and into the soft tissue of society.
By thrusting through the turnstile, you enable a very elite/select/self-appointed group of mostly vapid, mostly grandiose, mostly ego-filled, mostly giving-two-shits-short-of-a-fuck-about-anything-about-you-besides-what-floats-out-of-your-wallet marshmallow men to control your leisure time.
What’s more, they not only have a disdain for you, the consumer, but apparently for much of the product they’re putting out on the floor. In other words, they like their charges to resemble Uncle Toms to keep things noisy in the arena and quiet off the court and field.
Good on the Clippers’ players for their silent protest against the man who cuts their checks as they wore their warm-ups inside out prior to tip-off Sunday against the Golden State Warriors. Good on the Heat squad for backing up their brothers in arms with the same gesture prior to their game. But that’s not nearly enough. It’s not even a start.
Warriors’ head coach Mark Jackson has been criticized this week for calling for a Clipper fan boycott prior to Tuesday night’s game in LA.
“I believe if it was me, I wouldn’t come to the game,” he said Monday. “I believe the fans, the loudest statement that they could make as far as fans, would be to not show up to the game.
“This is a great league and they’ve done an incredible job, and I’m sure commissioner Silver will make a swift, correct decision. We are the league that’s an example of the most minority African-Americans in management position, front-office, in professional sports.
“The loudest statement to be made is not showing up.”
The knee-jerk is coach Jackson’s comments are self-serving and flawed. Sterling benefited from the playoff gate from Sunday’s match-up in Oakland, so a more effective boycott/statement could have been made on the Warriors’ home court.
But there is a kernel of truth in what Jackson is saying: What if we did stop going, stop watching? Stopped caring?
We’re a society obsessed with professional sport. Maybe it is a sign we have too much leisure time and that truly is the mark of the beginning of the end of an empire. Maybe it is that we truly only feel comfortable when the power is in the hands of the oppressor (again, your-empire-is-on-a-downward-trend 101) or maybe it’s something simpler than that:
Maybe as a collective we just can’t stand up collectively to the faces of evil at the cost of our convenience.
And that’s why Donald Sterling and his insecure, entitled, racist, psychopathic …and pale contemporaries are still grinning. Still winning.