Admittedly, I almost never plan ahead what I am going to write about. The 24-hour news cycle is far too dynamic to get ahead of oneself in that way. Still, as last week was winding down, I thought I had zeroed in on what would be today’s topic. Then came Ciiven Bundy’s lucky day…last Saturday.
On the surface, it seemed more likely to be a day Donald Sterling would celebrate. Why, you might ask? Well, Saturday was Donald Tokowitz Sterling’s (Donald added the surname Sterling as an adult) 80th birthday. Indeed, it was one for the ages, and it is certain to be one he remembers indefinitely.
As it turned out, it was far more than a birthday for Mr. Sterling. It was special to Mr. Bundy because thanks to the media explosion surrounding Sterling’s taped phone call to a woman described as his ex-girlfriend, or an employee, or both, depending upon who is providing the explanation of her role, Bundy’s romanticizing of Slavery is a distant memory (except for those in the Nevada desert), supplanted by Sterling-gate.
In a quick CliffsNotes-like version of Bundy’s story, he is a Nevadan rancher who took a stand against the Federal Government. He stopped paying fees to the Feds Bureau of Land Management for the land on which his cattle grazed, claiming the land as his own. This apparently heroic stand endeared him to the Right, the GOP in general, and especially the Tea Party element. Alas, given the spotlight to highlight his 15 minutes of fame, Bundy weighed-in during a New York Times interview that blacks might be “better off as slaves, picking cotton.” Almost immediately, the newest heartthrob of the Right Wing movement was spurned by a number of his newfound friends, including Senators Rand Paul (Kentucky) and Dean Heller (Nevada), as well as media maven Sean Hannity. Then came the explosion of the Sterling incident upon the scene. End of story.
Sterling-gate came to our collective national attention Saturday when TMZ revealed and released portions of a taped conversation it alleged to be between Mr. Sterling (he would later verify that it was his voice on the audio recording) and a woman they identified as his girlfriend, V. Stiviano. Sterling has owned the Los Angeles Clippers since 1981. The man skewered Ms. Stiviano for having posted a picture of herself with Magic Johnson on Instagram.
In the audio portion of the story, Sterling can be heard telling Ms. Stiviano, among other things:
- Do not to bring black people to my games
- Why are you taking pictures with minorities
- Yes it bothers me that you associate with black people
- Why publicize it (your admiration for black people)?
- Why are you bringing them to my games?
- Maybe you’re stupid
- Feed him, f..k him; don’t put him in your Instagram, and don’t bring him to my games
For his part, Magic Johnson replied on Twitter that he was aware of Sterling’s rant, and that he and his wife Cookie would not be attending any more Clippers’ games as long as Sterling is the owner.
There is a good deal of irony associated with how all of this is unfolding. The Clippers, for years among the worst teams in the NBA is having one of its best seasons ever. They played the Golden State Warriors on Sunday (the day after) and lost a game that was practically over before it started. Regardless of whether it was a factor, bolstered by Commissioner Silver’s decision, the Clippers, having returned home to the Staples Center in Los Angeles, and claimed a 113-103 victory of the Golden State Warriors (1:38 a.m. EDT). The Clippers now lead the Best-of-Seven series three games to two, and they have a chance to clinch the series Thursday night in Oakland.
Yesterday, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver held a press conference during which he revealed the results of the NBA’s investigation into Sterling-gate. The League’s inquiry was thorough, but swift, as Silver had promised. The judgment, all-encompassing. Commissioner Silver:
- Issued Sterling, the NBA’s longest tenured owner, a lifetime ban (from NBA Game decision-making, games, practices, & facilities)
- Levied a $2.5 million fine (the League max)
- Urged owners to vote (3/4 Majority required) to force Sterling to sell the team
Ultimately, this will be a birthday Mr. Sterling remembers for all the wrong reasons. “Happy Birthday Donald: Enjoy The Gift of Irony!”
I’m done; holla back!
Read my blog anytime by clicking the link: http://thesphinxofcharlotte.com. Find a new post each Wednesday.
To subscribe, click on Follow in the bottom right hand corner of my Home Page at http://thesphinxofcharlotte.com; enter your e-mail address in the designated space, and click on “Sign me up.” Subsequent editions of “Break It Down” will be mailed to your in-box.
Consult the links below for more detailed information on a variety of aspects relating to this post: