Oh, hi, been awhile! Hey, if you had a dollar for every time I’ve said something a bit racist in private you wouldn’t be rich but, I admit, you’d have a buck or three in your pocket. How about you? Let’s face it, everyone’s a little bit racist! Like the Broadway song from Avenue Q! That Donald Sterling guy, however, took it to another level. An unacceptable level! We all agree! But this post isn’t about Donald Sterling’s racist beliefs, it’s about something else; it’s about the NBA’s reaction to it. Or maybe I should say the NBA’s reaction to the reaction to Donald Sterling’s racist beliefs. It’s about the real reason why I believe Adam Silver banned Sterling for life and here’s a spoiler alert: It’s not because Mr. Silver was so appalled that Donald Sterling is a bigot. He already knew that. Hell, everyone knew that! Anyone paying attention anyway. What this post postures is that Adam Silver did the right thing but, in my opinion, he did it for the wrong reasons! Here’$ why.
Let’s take a look at an excerpt of what our hero, and great defender of human rights, Adam Silver said at yesterday’s press conference:
The views expressed by Mr. Sterling are deeply offensive and harmful; that they came from an NBA owner only heightens the damage and my personal outrage.
Sentiments of this kind are contrary to the principles of inclusion and respect that form the foundation of our diverse, multicultural and multiethnic league.
Wow, deeeeep. Impressive! Now, I’m going to tell you what I think he really meant to say:
The views expressed by Mr. Sterling are deeply offensive and harmful (to the pocketbooks of the other NBA owners); that they came from an NBA owner only heightens the damage and my personal outrage (because now we have to deal with possibly losing sponsors and future TV money if we don’t kick his ass out, pronto!).
Sentiments of this kind are contrary to the principles of inclusion and respect that form the foundation of our diverse, multicultural and multiethnic league (because we make billions of dollars together and we can’t have corporate America going ape shit on us over this old fool Sterling).
Am I saying that Adam Silver is a liar? Hellz to the no, son! I’m sure he is personally offended at the remarks. No doubt, most of us are! There is no place in our society for such hatred based solely on race, creed, sexual orientation, etc. We all know this. There is also no place in our society for things like domestic violence, sexual harassment (or worse, rape!) and drunk driving! You put your hands on a woman, that’s breaking the law. You force yourself sexually on a woman, that’s breaking the law. You drink more than the legal limit allows and get behind the wheel of a car, that’s breaking the law!
Did you know that according to Safe Horizon, a New York City not-for-profit organization helping victims of domestic violence
- One in 4 women will experience domestic violence during her lifetime.
- Women experience more than 4 million physical assaults and rapes because of their partners, and men are victims of nearly 3 million physical assaults.
- Women are more likely to be killed by an intimate partner than men.
- Every year, 1 in 3 women who is a victim of homicide is murdered by her current or former partner.
Pretty serious stuff, right? Rhetorical! Now, let’s talk about Ray Rice for a moment. Back in February, Ray was caught on tape dragging his loving fiance out of a casino elevator. That’s not fine and dandy but there was an even worse problem: She was knocked the *$#^ out! Can you imagine any scenario, outside of his fiance holding a gun or knife, where Ray Rice needed to actually knock her the *@$^ out? Me neither! Subsequently, they were both arrested but we all know what’s going to happen. Case dismissed! Money talks, bs walks. They are in love. Or something like that.
Nevertheless, Rice’s arrest is being reviewed by the league under the NFL’s personal conduct policy, which could lead to a possible suspension. I’m not a fortune teller but I do have a Magic 8 Ball and he told me that once the case gets dismissed in criminal court, he doesn’t see the NFL suspending Ray Rice. The case was dismissed, he did nothing wrong! That’s it, end of story. Domestic violence, a huge problem in America and throughout the world, swept under the rug. Importantly, not a peep of outrage from any NFL owner on this endemic issue! Wanna know why? Because corporate America didn’t make a big deal out of it; they didn’t give a crap. Corporate America didn’t threaten to pull sponsorships. NFL owners aren’t at risk of losing anything! And when they aren’t at risk of losing anything, let’s face it, they don’t care.
Now let’s imagine a different world. Let’s imagine a world where any one or more of the following Ravens current corporate sponsors pulls out over Ray Rice knocking his fiance the *%# out: McDonald’s, Burger King, Ashley’s Furniture and/or Cover Girl. Wait a second! Holy crap, Ray Rice is a bad guy, domestic violence is an awful problem in the United States! Let’s convene a meeting, get Roger Goodell on the line! We need to have a press conference to tell the world we are all personally offended by Ray Rice’s conduct. We don’t condone domestic violence! Let’s suspend and fine Ray Rice and donate the money to domestic violence shelters. Let’s make Ray Rice take anger management counseling. We need to do all we can to distance ourselves from this conduct because McDonald’s is pissed! You see where I’m going with this, y’all? Is Adam Silver still a hero and staunch defender of human rights to you or is he just protecting the asset he has been charged to protect by 30 (29!) NBA owners?
Did you know that according to Mother’s Against Drunk Driving (MADD), if all 17 million people who admitted to driving drunk had their own state, it would be the fifth largest in the United States. Only California, Texas, New York and Florida would be larger! Did you also know that an average drunk driver has driven drunk 80 times before his first arrest? 80!! And on average one in three people will be involved in a drunken driving crash during their lifetime. One-third of us!! In fact, every day in America 28 people die as a result of drunk driving. Think drunk driving is a serious problem in the United States? Rhetorical! So I reasonably ask you, is this issue any less important than the comments Donald Sterling made in a private conversation? Again, rhetorical!
Hey, guess who was arrested for drunk driving on March 16 this year? Yep, an owner of a major sports franchise! Jim Irsay! Mr. Irsay was charged with four felony counts after being arrested in Indiana on suspicion of driving under the influence. The news was basically a blip on the media’s radar. Another rich, spoiled owner got drunk and drove. Ho hum, old news! Never mind the statistics mentioned in the paragraph above. Never mind that Mr. Irsay could have killed some innocent by stander or, worse, a family! I didn’t hear Greeny and Golic on the radio screaming about how offended they were or anything like that.
But let’s get to the point! What’s important to the other NFL owners is no corporate sponsors made a big deal out of it. Thank god this took place in the off-season! Sweep it under the rug. We don’t want this costing us money! We must protect our asset and as long as that asset isn’t threatened, we don’t care about people drunk driving. We aren’t in the business of stopping drunk driving, we are in the business of making money! The second a corporate sponsor like Papa John’s, Toyota or Lucas Oil pulls out because Jim Irsay drove drunk, you think the other owners are going to distance themselves from their buddy Jim or align themselves with the drunk driver and let the sponsors walk? Do you still think Adam Silver, the mouthpiece of NBA owners, is a hero and staunch defender of human rights or is he moving to protect a billion dollar asset out of necessity?
I can only imagine how the NBA owner’s conference call went on Monday. Probably something like this:
Owner X: Guys, CarMax, Virgin America and Mercedes-Benz all pulled their sponsorship from the Clips!
Owner Z: This is a disaster, what should we do?
Owner Y: If we don’t distance ourselves from Sterling we will be guilty by association.
Silver: We have no choice but to ban him to save the rest of the league from losing corporate America’s support and to appease the NBA player’s association and NBA fans who are all offended. Posthaste, peoples!
I’m not even going to discuss the Ben Roethlisberger rape case because that would just be beating a dead horse. In my opinion, the NBA reacted to the reaction, not the act itself. I want to be clear, Adam Silver did the right thing here but he wants us to believe he did it because it was just and right based on human decency. Based on history and the way other equally, and arguably more important, social issues have been handled, I’m not buying it and neither should you.