Like many of you these past few days, I’ve watched the Donald Sterling controversy play out. Mr. Sterling is (and in the immediate future, it is likely this will be a “was”) the owner of the Los Angeles Clippers basketball team. Over the weekend, some rather vile and racist recordings were unearthed as Sterling was having conversations with his mistress, a V. Stiviano. The outrage was immediate, and the justice was robust. Sterling is now banned from operations from his franchise for life, and should be excused from ownership rather quickly by a jury of his fellow owners.
There are many questions I have about this controversy, the same questions being posed on social media and old-style media (i.e. television, radio, and print). The one question that will likely go unanswered now that a resolution has been found is this: the NBA must have known Sterling’s leanings (and loathings, as it turns out) for quite a while, but yet they didn’t act until now. Why?
To me, it was very reminiscent of the Aaryn Gries/Big Brother 15 controversy of ten months ago, although Sterling’s drama played out on a much larger scale than the surreal landscape of reality TV. Critics of the show and of the controversy (that was going to play out regardless of Aaryn’s appearance on it, they had two other contestants with somewhat racist views that didn’t get nearly the media attention Gries did) petitioned the show sponsors. Once that happened, the protests hit a brick wall, almost as if the sponsors replied: “Are you serious? It’s a reality show! Quit wasting our time!!!”
Sterling was by no means as fortunate to have the sponsors in their pockets as CBS was with their summertime reality show last year. Knowing a clusterf*ck when they see one, sponsors left the Clippers in droves on Monday. As for Sterling, I hope he remains the eyesore in sports history he currently exists as now. There is no room for him in the world of sports, and perhaps the human race. He may have his millions, but he can never buy the class he does not have.