I nearly always route for the underdog. It’s why I dislike the Yankees, Cowboys, Duke and other perennial favorites. So, with my love for the game of basketball, the Griffin/Paul era at the LA Clippers has been very enjoyable, especially this year as the LA Lakers organization completely collapsed. That both of these guys were great players and good people made this even better.
Then there’s Mr. Sterling. How this man has played a central role in the NBA (for that matter any industry) boggles my mind. The league must send a clear, South Africa-like message to Mr. Sterling: You must forfeit your team. The honorable thing for Mr. Sterling to do is give ownership of the team to the players, the people who actually deliver the goods on a daily basis.
I feel I have a sober perspective of racism in this country: it exists, in every corner and in every direction. Yet this country has also achieved the greatest diversity in the history of countries. In many cases the government is required to address racism where the people cannot. In many cases we as people can address the racism by voting with our feet. I will be sending a letter to the NBA stating these conditions for my future support:
- Mr. Sterling must be stripped of ownership, and stripped of any organizational financial gains of his franchise in the playoffs. 75% of sale of his franchise will be put in escrow to fund anti-racism efforts in the LA area.
- The LA Clippers players must still receive any personal financial gains of the playoffs.
- Once Mr. Sterling is removed, the fans of the LA Clippers will be rewarded with an extra 1st round draft choice in each of the next two years to reward those fans with an organization that they deserve; that the neglect and malpractice of Mr. Sterling, and of the NBA in not addressing this issue proactively, so badly harmed.
Like steroids in baseball, racism in basketball must be handled as toxic waste, with zero tolerance. Future organizational penalties will mirror the Clippers penalty (ownership stripped; players, fans and community rewarded).
Racism needs to be treated like weeds in my yard: I know they are there, but when it rears it’s ugly head, it must be killed at its root.