Former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer’s purchase of the Los Angeles Clippers has been approved by the NBA just days before the June 3 meeting of the NBA’s Board of Governors. Donald Sterling has been the object of ridicule over his racist comments the last few weeks, but he has continued to claim he has the support of his friends.
Are the friends he is referring to the owners of other professional teams? Sterling has been a documented racist for at least the last 10 years, and in that time no other NBA owners have been eager to oust Sterling from the fraternity of NBA owners until he was recorded, letting his true feelings about minorities come to the surface.
Sterling would still be running the Clippers business as usual if not for that recording, and judging from the last 33 years, it is doubtful any owner would have spoken up against him. People are entitled to feel the way they feel about any group of people, but nobody should be allowed to make billions exploiting the people they hate the most.
Sterling has been painted as a mentally ill old man who is not truly aware of what is going on around him. That is an easy way to discredit a man who had no problem running his franchise one month ago.
Owners interact with each other in many different capacities, and it is very hard to keep all racist beliefs and behaviors private at all times. Sterling was not merely tolerated as a racist for 33 years, so how deep does the rabbit hole go? It would be a public relations nightmare for any owner that would not vote to have Sterling sell his team, but the timing of the sell raises some red flags.
The Board of Governors is still scheduled to meet, but it is completely different now that it will no longer be deciding on if it should strip Sterling of his team for personal beliefs that were unknowingly recorded. If there are other owners with a plantation style of thinking, then the timing of the sale is very convenient to say the least.
Shelly Sterling spent decades married to a racist, and because of the deep bond and intimacy that marriage entails people recognize her as a racist also. It is extremely difficult to spend your life with a person that feels as strongly about minorities as Donald Sterling does without sharing some of those views.
A similar principle applies to the owners that worked with him for the last 33 years. Mark Cuban tried to bring light to the fact that we all have our own prejudices. However, most people are not in a position of power that allows them to profit off the people they despise the most.
The public wants to know if there are other owners that fancy themselves plantation owners giving “poor black boys from the South” everything they have. Unfortunately, now we may never know.