Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling hasn’t really made it much of a secret he’s been in a stiff competition with Miami Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria for being the worst owner in professional sports. His reputation for being a penny-pincher and, to put it bluntly, a jerk has been widely regarded.
What seems to have escaped everyone, though, is that Sterling doesn’t have the best record with race relations, either, which is an odd quality to have being the owner of a team in a sport such as basketball. Just ask former general manager Elgin Baylor, who sued Sterling after he was fired back in 2009 for employment discrimination.
And ask the U.S. Justice Department, who’s has their own sorted dealings with Sterling, including separate incidents in which he’s accused of not renting to African-Americans in Beverly Hills and Koreans in the Koreatown neighborhood of Los Angeles.
So, when all of a sudden there’s a recording of him verbally browbeating his mistress about associating with African-Americans and topping it off by saying he doesn’t want them to come to Clippers games, it just confirms a pattern of behavior that’s been rumbling on for years.
If it makes Sterling feel any better, he can always have the Clipper start being awful again. Then not only will African-Americans stop coming to the games, so will everyone else. You know, like in the days when the Clippers were awful (read: Just about every year before Blake Griffin arrived).
What has always been sad about a guy like Donald Sterling is that the NBA has clearly never had much of a problem with the guy. Sure, they’ll fine Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban till there’s no tomorrow, sit around while the Maloof brothers bully around the city of Sacramento or hit the San Antonio Spurs with a $250,000 fine for sitting their players against the Miami Heat.
But when it comes to Sterling, there’s never been much of anything. Even as the Baylor lawsuit can to fruition or the stories about Sterling’s pathological frugality came to light, the league just sat by and whistled a happy tune.
So, you’ll excuse me if I don’t hold my breath waiting for commissioner Adam Silver to actually do anything about Sterling. As far as I can tell, the NBA hasn’t ever really seemed too concerned about this.
And it is that which represents everything that is wrong with the league.