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By Tom Cushing

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About this blog: The Raucous Caucus shares the southpaw perspectives of this Boomer on the state of the nation, the world, and, sometimes, other stuff. I enjoy crafting it to keep current, and occasionally to rant on some issue I care about deeply...  (More)

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The Clipper Lip, and other Notable Notes on Prior Blogs

Uploaded: Apr 27, 2014
Would you work for Donald Sterling? As a player Or a girlfriend? The owner of the LA Clippers NBA team has made himself the shmuck heard 'round the world – literally, as his alleged racist diatribe transcended the sports pages, and even drew comment from the Prez in Kuala Lumpur.

First, a caveat: the tape came from said girlfriend, currently the defendant in a lawsuit alleging embezzlement from the Clippers, so it needs to be authenticated. Apparently the sentiments expressed were consistent with his reputation, but who can forget the woman who faked an email supporting a sex harassment charge against famous lothario Larry Ellison (she went to jail for a time)? It seems unlikely that this tape was doctored, but I'd reserve a small element of judgment.

If true, it depicts a crude, abusive and below-all racist codger, chastising his girlfriend for public associations with minorities, including a photo-op with Magic Johnson. Truth be told, he also sounds pathetic and confused, but he's sufficientlycompos mentis compo to be running a real estate empire. At minimum, he'd qualify to run a Nevada cattle ranch.

At this writing, the Clippers team has met, and will play tonight's play-off game against our Local Heroes, the Warriors. "I think the biggest statement we can make as men, not as black men, as men, is to stick together and show how strong we are as a group," their coach Doc Rivers said. "Not splinter. Not walk. It's easy to protest. The protest will be in our play."

Juxtaposing this incident with the infamous Mozilla CEO affaire, I respectfully disagree. A much stronger 'statement' would be made with at least a one-game forfeit – a wildcat strike to force the NBA's hand. Sometimes, behavior is SO base and unacceptable that a statement -- a-no-uncertain-terms statement -- must be made. I suppose that the fact that the NBA is a heavily black-oriented league (in 2011, 78% of its players were African American, with another 4% Latinos) makes it Even worse, but it was plenty bad by itself to warrant drastic action.

I recall Harry Edwards' rhetoric around the Olympics boycott of the 1970s – a protest that had no such specific focal point: "Walk, crawl, run or jump – it's all the same if you do it for The Man." You can't escape the fact that they'll be doing just that, for an antebellum plantation relic. He's got to go, pronto. I also wonder whether Tommie Smith and John Carlos might have a word with Mr. Rivers: protest is easy==??

Throwing tonight into turmoil would be such a statement. Sadly, as things stand, this sordid display is a money-maker for the league – everybody's buzzing about it. The controversy will kite viewer interest and ad revenues for the league – and for The Man. It's also true that the players will be paid if they play, although playoffs payouts are a relatively small share of their incomes.

Some things really ought to transcend sports (okay, maybe not baseball -- but sports in general). The battle against racism, wherever that ugliness rears its rancid head, is such a thing. Pulling out of tonight's contest would put matters in their proper priority: an ongoing Rights struggle vs. a kids' game played by adults. Conversely, playing suggests the opposite. It's not even close. The owner committed a flagrant foul; continuing to play for him shoots an airball.

In other news:

The Silivalley no-poaching case has settled before trial (scheduled for late May). Terms have not yet been disclosed, but will be soon. I'm guessing that it'll be an expensive lesson – it needs to be to deter such market manipulations in the future. Silicon Valley does not get a free pass simply because it's "the new new thing."

It will be interesting to what happens to tech wages over the next year or two. That will be the proof of the pudding. Silicon Valley's Own Reserve Clause, 3/30/2014

The trials, literally, of several chimps in New York State is the cover story of the New York Times magazine this week. This animal welfare stuff is getting serious. Put another way, Mr. Heston – maybe we're All dam' dirty apes. His Day in Court, 12/31/2013.

Comments

Posted by spcwt, a resident of Danville,
on Apr 27, 2014 at 7:29 pm

He spoke unacceptable words. Offensive WORDS! Thank God the word police caught him.

Too bad we don't have a stake handy. We could burn him.


Posted by Formerly Dan from BC, a resident of Bridle Creek,
on Apr 27, 2014 at 8:05 pm

Formerly Dan from BC is a registered user.

Tom,

Your allusion to republican Bundy - "At minimum, he'd qualify to run a Nevada cattle ranch. " - is interesting but is not analogous to the democrat Sterling.

Bundy was wrong to imply that slavery had any redeeming value when compared to the war on poverty. He said this, I believe, out of ignorance not racism. Listen to the unedited version of his comments.

On the other hand, Sterling not wanting his girlfriend to post public pictures of herself with black people is quite clearly and consciously racist. I didn't know that Sterlings GF was accused of embezzlement from the very organization that he owns. That throws an interesting wrinkle into this saga.

They both clearly come off as old codgers, but one statement is not like the other.

And finally what I find interesting is your bringing up Mozilla. It's interesting that for the CEO, punishment for contributing $ to a political issue was to be fired from his job. But here is an owner of a organization who is quite clearly and overtly practicing racism and the best you can do is to have the players strike?

Again, one thing is not like the other.

Dan


Posted by Tom Cushing, a resident of Alamo,
on Apr 28, 2014 at 7:30 am

Dan: the embezzlement claim may have come from Sterling's wife, and relate various considerations bestowed on his girlfriend. I don't know, and I will let somebody else chase it down.

You are free, of course, to give Mr. Bundy (Ted, Cliven or Al) a free pass. I won't waste the synapsage. But to claim that he and Sterling aren't the same because they are members of different political parties? They may part their hair differently, too, but they both expressed utterly ugly sentiments that utterly demean African Americans. And they are utterly responsible for that.

Finally, what part of "He's got to go -- pronto" did you not understand? I thought the Clippers' player protest was awfully weak sauce. The 'Gate called it "bold," but bold is Pettus Bridge Web Link, not t-shirts inside out, during warm-ups. Like Eich, I think the consequences here should be Sterling's exit from association with the private sector business.

If the NBA's by-laws do not call for such consequences for bringing embarrassment on the Association (as player contracts often do), then bringing pressure another way -- like a player strike that damages the league's revenues, would be an effective tactic to force his resignation. Now, it's true that Eich and Sterling are not identical -- they have different parents, after all, and one's an 'owner' and the other was 'CEO' -- but that does not make them "different."

S-P: thanks for that thoughtful contribution.


Posted by spcwt, a resident of Danville,
on Apr 28, 2014 at 10:10 am

No problem Tom. Happy to help.

Here's another suggestion. If you liberals are looking for another reason to be outraged, how about demanding Obama's resignation for killing hundreds of children with his illegal drone strikes.

What a quaint concept: Being outraged at what someone actually DOES rather than being outraged over what someone says.

Of course, after Obama killed all those kids, he bragged, "I'm good at killing people, ha ha." So you could be outraged at not only what Obama has done, but what Obama has said as well.

Donald Sterling was about to receive a Lifetime Achievement Award from the NAACP. And he's made large cash donations to prominent Democrats and liberal causes. Doesn't that give him a free pass with you liberals?

Not to defend what Sterling said, but it was made in the heat of the moment during a fight with his Ex. Everyone says stupid stuff from time to time. Should everyone be castigated for what they say in private moments with ex-lovers?

Think about when you went through your divorce, Tom. No doubt you said some things to your Ex you would later regret, maybe some sexist comments & such?


Posted by Tom Cushing, a resident of Alamo,
on Apr 28, 2014 at 11:12 am

Um, S-P? The sale of Absolutions is not a liberal phenomenon -- it's a religious one. Liberalism is not a religion (nor the 'disease' that some might be tempted to call it). Perhaps you have me confused with the late, great Cardinal Cushing? It's an easy mistake -- happens All The Time. Some folks even think he was my grandpa, but he wasn't.

I'm also surprised that you seem to think only liberals would be outraged by the ugliness of Mr. Sterling's recorded statements. Opposition to racism used to be a shared American value. I hope it mostly still is. I would note that the NAACP has withdrawn its award in embarrassment -- see, money really can't buy Everything, after all.

I listened to that tape (did you?), and I heard no screaming or other evidence of real anger or "fighting words." I believe he said what he meant to say, and clearly feels strongly about. It was crass, profane, abusive and vile, but it was not out-of-control.

As to anything to do with my divorce -- about which you know nothing -- is unworthy of comparison.


Posted by American, a resident of Danville,
on Apr 28, 2014 at 1:05 pm

It is my understanding that ownership of an NBA team is ownership of a franchise, similar to someone buying a McDonald's franchise. Part of the franchise agreement typically would include a clause that the franchisee(Sterling)would have to follow certain standards and comply with certain morals type requirements or risk losing his franchise. If that occurred, the franchise would be sold, and depending on the franchise agreement contract, he might be entitled to the fair market value paid by the new owner, minus certain expenses and deductions.

I am assuming that Sterling's alleged horrific racist remarks would violate the franchise agreement, and could trigger the NBA revoking his franchise and having it sold. Of course, unfortunately, Sterling would make an incredible profit, with big market teams like the Clippers probably selling for well over $800 million.

Assuming the tapes are legitimate(which most believe to be true), he should absolutely have his franchise immediately revoked and sold. He may have "free speech" rights to bigotry and hatred, but the first amendment only applies to governmental action, not private contractual agreements, where is there is essentially "no freedom of speech". He can have his disgusting views, but he can not have an NBA franchise.

I would love to see Magic Johnson lead an investment team and buy the Clippers!

I also think it is unfair how some commentators have ripped the players and coach Doc Rivers for "not doing enough" to protest and for playing on Sunday and not boycotting the game. Magic Johnson had it right when he suggested the players play, the coaches coach, and let society and those not employed by the Clippers deal with this situation. The players are a team, have worked their butts off, made personal sacrifices, and not playing wont hurt Sterling, it will only hurt the players, the fans, and those who work at the Arena. Think of the guy selling hot dogs, the woman selling programs, the security guards, the janitors, and all those others whose livelihood depends on their being a game. Sterling does not care about them, and they would suffer if there was no game.

The NBA has announced a decision will be made before Tuesday's game against the Warriors, and it appears likely that Sterling, is on the way out, although the due process procedures may take a bit longer than hoped.


Posted by spcwt, a resident of Danville,
on Apr 28, 2014 at 1:10 pm

Of course everyone's upset about Sterling's comments.

It's just interesting to me how you liberals have mobilized to take Sterling down over the words he's said, meanwhile you have no interest in clamoring for Obama to resign, despite Obama's many atrocities, including killing children.


Posted by Tom Cushing, a resident of Alamo,
on Apr 28, 2014 at 1:20 pm

S-P: I know that's an issue about which you feel very strongly, and on the human tragedy of which you and I can actually agree -- as men with consciences, more than as libs or cons. I've written on several occasions what I intend to say about drones, and it hasn't been positive. I'd just ask you to be consistent, as in naming a war in which innocents have Not perished.

If you have more to say and wish to do so, you might ask Gina if she'd entertain a guest editorial on the subject. I can't speak for her, but I'm guessing she'd welcome it.


Posted by Formerly Dan from BC, a resident of Bridle Creek,
on Apr 28, 2014 at 3:49 pm

Formerly Dan from BC is a registered user.

Tom,

I said nothing about giving Bundy a free pass and I didn't assert that both men were alike, you did.
All I said was that their statements, taken individually, were not analogous.

As a lawyer, I'm sure you understand the difference and if you don't, then so be it.

Dan


Posted by Mack Arnie, a resident of another community,
on Apr 29, 2014 at 12:53 pm

Bang Bang -- Maximum Silver's hammer was heard throughout the land,
Bang Bang -- Maximum Silver's hammer made sure that he was banned ...


Posted by pleasantonwasnice40yearsago, a resident of Del Prado,
on Apr 29, 2014 at 3:00 pm

I find it very disturbing when i hear our president say " she is your typical white person"


Posted by Tom Cushing, a resident of Alamo,
on Apr 29, 2014 at 5:26 pm

Hi 40years ago: can you give us some context for when you heard the Prez say those words you quoted? Were they descriptive or pejorative? When was it? What kind of gathering, etc. I don't have a recollection of it.

Thanks!


Posted by Objective Observer, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood,
on Apr 29, 2014 at 11:59 pm

I saw the Clipper coach, a black man, today say he had never heard or seen owner Sterling say anything racist. Sterling owned & worked with a pretty black team & strange that worked ok. These comments were made in his own home when angry with his girlfriend running around with other guys!! Being over 50, I can remember when we still believed in 'freedom of speech', and am sad that we've lost that right. It seems punitive decisions and 'judgments' should be evaluated according to deeds, not spoken words.
..like Bill Mahar first said, 'careful, starting down a 'slippery slope'. Now there are laws against 'words' in your own home, but good 'actions' ignored.
Babe Ruth's character, and the 'sticks and stones' philosophy are just a few concepts of actions ahead of 'words' (in private to boot).
With cameras in cars and homes, and the loss of freedom of speech, it's a country never dreamed by those over 50. Sad. PC required by 'some' creates and un-natural existence. Why wasn't the coach consulted about history of 'actions'. Such hycritical/phony pretense by the league.


Posted by Tom Cushing, a resident of Alamo,
on Apr 30, 2014 at 7:29 am

O2, I think your post is a demonstration of why elections are never unanimous.

I suspect there will be consequences for the taper, now that the larger issue has been dealt-with. And for (hopefully) the last time (but probably not), freedom of speech is NOT implicated here. That precious right forbids Government censorship of opinions like yours and mine; there is no government censorship here -- it is a private sector league, acting in its own, very clear, self-interest. For every fan that they lose over this, I'll purely guess they gain ten, and keep the rest.


Posted by spcwt, a resident of Danville,
on May 6, 2014 at 12:35 pm

The PC Police are not unlike the religious zealots who respond with a heavy hand whenever the Prophet Mohammed is offended or the mobs in Venezuela who bully the anti-government protesters.

Freedom of speech isn't just the kind protected by the constitution.

The freedom to express unpopular views is healthy for a democracy.

Rational discussion is better than mob bullying. The mob pushes dissent underground where it breeds resentment, underground retaliation, and can erupt in unpredictable and sometimes deadly behavior. Rational discussion takes the power away from irrational thoughts.

People should be encouraged to share their views without fear of losing their job, their livelihood, civil suits, or other economic retaliation.

This country needs more discussions about race, not less.


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