Who Me? Mr. Sterling, the Man in the Mirror and Media Hypocrisy

Donald Sterling, owner of the L.A. Clippers
Donald Sterling, owner of the L.A. Clippers

Forget the round ball – Clipper-gate is turning into a massive game of paintball – and let’s see who gets shamed next. It is a wonderful lesson in the media, sparing no one.

Mr. Sterling, ye of “Don’t bring blacks to my game,” got this all started.

But then the alleged would-be-was-but-not-likely-to-be-anymore girlfriend (of mixed ethnicity no less) comes under the cloud of surreptitiously recording and seemingly entrapping an old man, potentially committing a felony by recording him without explicit permission (that gets into complicated state wire-tapping law and not worth the legal explication.)

Add to the list the chorus decrying the horrors of racism, including the NAACP whose local chapter had previously given Sterling an achievement award (that one was particularly delicious).

The NBA that has known Mr. Sterling has not been sterling for a long time, but it has never seen fit to call him on it except when his private malapropism threatens its very lucrative playoffs.

How about the networks, such as TMZ, that has become the racism-outing platform of record and then joined NBC in announcing an incorrect penalty minutes before the NBA commissioner announced what he had actually decided? (A media side note: David Gregory, the embattled “Meet the Press” anchor had to offer the apologies which cannot have helped his stock).

And it hardly seems the game has stopped.

How about the players and coach, whose disgust with their paymaster extended to turning their practice jerseys inside out? Rosa Parks, move over. Would it be too much to suggest that if they were that disgusted they should have not turned their shirts inside out but just turned their shirts in – as in quit – refused to play – say, “I will not take this bigot’s money”? Are they under contract? Sure. But what is the price of disgust? The legendary Doc Rivers, a player and coach role model if ever there was one, doesn’t need to worry about money. With all respect, Mr. Rivers, if there were ever a moment for you to show young men of all colors that sometimes you have to say enough, this would seem to be it.

Oh, and those fans. Can’t they just walk with their feet and their dollars? Nothing will get a Sterling sale quicker than losing money. But there seemed to be plenty of ticket-buying Clipper fans in the stands paying too much for concessions.

But it was different, I hear aficionados exclaim. It was the playoffs! So racism is only a walkable-offense during the regular season?

And then it was all safe, because the NBA banned Mr. Sterling for life.

But the funny thing about the media today is that there is nowhere to hide. There is no impunity anymore, even when there is a lifetime ban to hide behind. There is just a large magnifying glass looking for hypocrisy, plenty of which Mr. Sterling’s mouth seems to have lured into the open.

It makes one pine for the simpler times of OJ. Bring on the vitriol for that one.

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Thu, 30 Oct 2014 11:09:59 -0400

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