Today is proof that progress is and always will be an evolutionary process.
"We are one." If only this rally cry posted on the Los Angeles Clippers website in response to the scandal involving owner Donald Sterling were a universal truth, well, we wouldn’t be in this mess in the first place.
While actions are now set in place to ban Sterling from the NBA for life, the incident prompting “we are one” should remind us that Sterling is not the end-all, be-all face of discrimination. There are millions of other individual and institutional bigots around the globe.
Today, the United States inched closer. Unlike many other countries around the world that do little (or nothing) to prevent or punish blatantly racist actions pertaining to sporting events, NBA commissioner Adam Silver has done his best to implement justice. Unfortunately, the emergence of Sterling’s vile views is not an isolated incident.
For those of us who follow the Clippers and the NBA, as well as anyone who reads the newspaper here in Los Angeles, we’ve known all too well about Sterling’s rap sheet. ESPN wrote a horribly damaging piece back in 2009 which detailed lawsuits filed against Sterling by both the Justice Department and basketball great Elgin Baylor, claiming disgusting instances of illegally bigoted business practices and workplace discrimination.
What about the players, coaches and other team personnel who signed with the Clippers knowing Sterling’s smutty track record and reputation?
Other NBA owners, the league office, and advertisers were also aware of these allegations throughout the years.
I’m guilty too. As a young adult, I became conscious of Sterling’s reputation when lawsuits against him were covered by the Los Angeles Times and other news sources I followed. I remember discussing Sterling and his nauseating practices (both in his other business ventures and running a basketball franchise into the ground) with my friends, family and co-workers. For some reason my distain for the man never stopped me from watching Clippers games on TV or buying tickets and merchandise. Why didn’t I - as someone who comes from a family of activists and Holocaust survivors, and has had the pleasure of spending time with people like Tommie Smith and John Carlos - take any proactive measures to voice my views in such a way to make a tangible difference? Why didn’t I put my money where my mouth was, instead of straight into Sterling’s filthy, sexist, racist pockets?
Actions speak louder than words and Sterling’s actions were heinous long before the words on this tape were recorded. Sterling’s actions were far more harmful to our society than Sterling’s words. Shame on us for taking the easy way out and doing nothing while leaving people like L.A. renters hoping to live in safe, healthy residences and Elgin Baylor to fight the good fight alone.
It’s a shame that many of us ignored Donald Sterling’s discriminatory actions for so long thus further enabling him, but today is finally a step in the right direction.
Finally, we can, in a way, pay homage to the struggles and sacrifices made by so many in the sports world over the last 65 years. Hopefully the NFL will take a page from the short-but-brilliant Adam Silver playbook and get its ass in gear to change a racist team name that has been tolerated for way too long.
Thankfully, the Sterling debacle doubles as a teachable moment in which we can learn valuable lessons about history, justice and ourselves. This is the evolution of progress.
One thing we’ve learned from the Dwight Howard sweepstakes is that no deal is a sure thing until it’s done. Signed, sealed, delivered.
First it was the Nets. Then it was the Rockets. Then it was the Lakers. Now it’s the Nets. Again.
In the last 24 hours, Yahoo! Sports hoops gurus Adrian Wojnarowski and Marc Spears have reported a proposed deal revolving around the Magic center that would involve movement of more than 10 players between four teams.
While the Lakers are still interested in a trade that would send Andrew Bynum to Orlando in exchange for Howard, Bynum’s hesitation to sign a long-term contract with the Magic has significantly hampered L.A.’s ability to strike a deal, according to a source (as well as several previously published reports).
As a result, Bynum’s reluctance left the door wide open for the Brooklyn Nets, who along with the Magic, would lead the way in this four-team deal, according to Y! Sports. When doing a deal with so many moving parts, its only natural that there will be a few hiccups in the process.
One piece of this gigantic puzzle, as reported by Marc Spears of Y! Sports, would send Kris Humphries (sign-and-trade) to the Cavaliers with a one-year contract. Problem is, the Hump is interested in a four-year deal, which is understandable. Who doesn’t want some job security?
One guy who has a LOT of power in this situation is agent Dan Fegan, who represents both Howard and Humphries.
How do you convince Humphries to go against his own best interest, basically for the sake of another one of your clients? Humphries (along with several other players said to be on the trading block) would have to agree to a sign-and-trade for the deal to happen.
As an agent, a multi-year deal for Humphries would certainly be in Fegan’s best interest as more years equals more money (and mo’problems, no doubt). But it seems like this is quite a predicament for Fegan and his clients, Humphries in particular.
Plus, if TMZ’s reports of Humphries’ impending fatherhood are accurate (http://tinyurl.com/cevmfze), the financial security of multi-year contract will be of even more importance.
Moving forward, it will be interesting to watch how this part of the deal plays out. If Humphries refuses to do a sign-and-trade to the Cavs for a measly one-year contract, can the teams involved get creative and find a way around the Hump?
As if we weren’t already glued to this damn story, the Howard-Humphries connection just adds one more element to this so-called Dwightmare.
To read the Yahoo! Sports’ story on the proposed mega-deal involving the Magic, Nets, Cavs and Clippers, click this link: http://sports.yahoo.com/news/nba—nets-emerge-again-as-strong-contender-to-land-dwight-howard.html