Here we go again. Men behaving badly.
I feel like I need a bleach shower just typing the letters “TMZ”, but if the repulsive Donald Sterling is ever to finally be taken down, I guess it’ll take the scuzzy purveyors of celebrity gossip to do it. There’s some comfort in congruity.
The NBA is in a spot here, after TMZ released what it says is an audio link to a conversation between a man identified as the long-time Los Angeles Clippers owner, universally regarded as the worst owner in all of pro sports, and his 25-year-old girlfriend.
For whatever reason, the girlfriend, who tells him that she’s Mexican and black, surreptitiously recorded the exchange during which he insistently and sometimes wearily demands that she not post Instagram photos of herself associating with black people.
Through whatever legal recourse at its disposal, the NBA needs to drop its version of Marge Schott into the nearest, deepest dumpster.
As of Saturday, the NBA, in the midst of a terrific early portion of the postseason, was busy trying to authenticate the voices on the audio and decide on a course of action.
I listened to the nine-and-a-half minute audio twice, and it’s a sometimes confusing, mostly melodramatic argument between a creepy old rich guy and his girlfriend that apparently was prompted by people calling the guy because she had posted a photo of herself with Magic Johnson on Instagram.
It’s equal parts clownish, pathetic and disgraceful. Soap opera trash.
Creepy Old Rich Guy is heard saying, among other pearls:
“Why are you taking pictures with minorities? Why?”
“Yeah, it bothers me a lot that you want to promo … broadcast that you’re associating with black people. Do you have to?”
“Don’t bring black people to my games, including Magic Johnson.”
Early in the argument, he ham-handedly tries to rationalize his racist views by claiming that he’s simply aligned with a “culture” that he didn’t create but was born into.
“Hispanics feel certain things toward blacks, blacks feel certain things toward other groups,” he said. “It’s been that way historically, and it will always be that way.”
Sure, as long as there are people like this running the show.
But it doesn’t have to be that way.
The NBA already has enough background on Sterling before this dirt was even aired to finally make him go away to the fullest extent possible.
Most notably, this is the real estate gazillionaire who paid a $2.73 million fine in 2005 to settle claims by the U.S. Justice Department that he discriminated against Hispanics, blacks and families with children when renting property in California.
He was sued by the Justice Department again in 2009 for similar practices, the same year that Clippers GM Elgin Baylor sued him for employment discrimination based on age and race. That case was thrown out by a jury in 2011.
Response from around the NBA was universally angry and demanding aggressive action by new commissioner Adam Silver.
Clippers president Andy Roeser pointed out to the AP that the woman on the tape identified by TMZ as V. Stiviano “is the defendant in a lawsuit brought by the Sterling family alleging that she embezzled more than $1.8 million, who told Mr. Sterling that she would ‘get even.’ ”
It’s ironic that this breaks just as the cheapskate owner who gave every indication of tanking for years suddenly has a really good team. The Clippers won’t win the title, but how great would it be if he got kicked out and they did?