Donald Sterling remains a total scumbag, and the NBA needs to deal with it

Jayne Kamin-Oncea-US PRESSWIRE

In case the soothing play of Chris Paul and Blake Griffin had let it fade into the white noise, here's a reminder: Donald Sterling is literally the worst.

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Donald Sterling is a total scumbag. He has a history of particularly grotesque and federally prosecuted racism and a list of sexual harassment accusers. He's a grandstanding idiot without a modicum of self-awareness. He's the type of dumbass who would hold a Black History Month celebration in March, and the type of racist moron who would "celebrate Black History" by giving 1,000 game tickets to poor kids, because the brainless hockey puck equates Black people with poor people, because he is a complete cretin.

Donald Sterling is, without question, the worst human being who owns a major sports franchise, and that is absolutely saying something, because they are a whole lot of jackwagon sports owners out there.

The problem is that no matter how stupid and horrifying he is, Donald Sterling is still the owner of a major sports team, in this case the Los Angeles Clippers. So when more alleged evidence that Donald Sterling is a racist dolt surfaces, it comes in the context of the Clippers, the NBA and its fraternity of owners.

Such evidence surfaced early Saturday, when TMZ released a 9-minute recording that purports to be Sterling chiding his girlfriend for appearing in public with Black people and bringing them to "his games." Her alleged infraction: posting a photo with NBA legend and Hero Of Los Angeles Magic Johnson to her Instagram page.

By the way, the girlfriend is Black and Latino.

The conversation is disgusting, really, and pathetic. Sterling comes off as an unapologetic racist, yes, but also a complete coward who'd prefer to enforce his retrograde belief system behind the scenes. He basically guilts her into promising not to hang out with people who share her ethnic background. It's an infuriating listen.

And on Sunday, a number of Black players will have to wear the Los Angeles Clippers laundry and play under the Los Angeles Clippers banner. And on Tuesday, when the team is back in L.A., the Black head coach will have to see this simp, this punk smiling across the court, clapping and drinking and watching the money pour in at the pro shop, at the concession stand, during the commercial breaks. And there's really nothing Chris Paul or Blake Griffin or Matt Barnes or Jamal Crawford can do about it. There's really nothing Doc Rivers can do about it.

That's why the NBA must do something about it. David Stern appeased Sterling for decades, and the players' union never seemed to pursue action very forcefully. Enough. It's a new era in the NBA, and it's time for Adam Silver to make it clear that owners will be held to the same damn standard applied to players and coaches and GMs. It's time for the union, now led by Chris Paul (ironically enough), to take a leadership position on the issue since individual Clippers players cannot.

Most importantly, it's time for the other NBA owners to stand up to this dolt and support whatever action the commissioner's office takes. And if the commissioner doesn't take action, it's up to those owners to demand it. Forget about the damage to the league's brand or the Clippers or whatever pragmatic economic cases against Sterling there are to be made. This is about telling anyone who will listen that This Is Not Okay, that Donald Sterling Is Wrong, that Being A Racist Is Not Okay, Even If You Have Money, that We Will Not Be Complicit In Our Colleague's Idiocy.

Any calls for individual Clippers players or staff to speak out, or for the team to collectively stand against him aren't quite on target. It should never be up to victims of behavior to fix the problem. The enablers need to be the ones to take action. That's the league office, that's the Board of Governors, that's the broader players' union.

It's time for everyone involved in the NBA to stand up to this fool. The embarrassment has lasted long enough. This is already a deep-set stain. Let's get to scrubbing it out.

This post has been updated to clarify details about Sterling's girlfriend.

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