We knew yesterday that Donald Sterling had actually decided to fight the NBA's decision to allow him to sell his team for $2 billion by essentially suing himself. It sounds bad, but today Rachel Nichols gave the world a statement from Sterling, and it is an enormous bag of WELP.
New statement from Donald Sterling. Seriously ups the language railing against Adam Silver, NBA's "reign of terror" pic.twitter.com/DXZmHkHtUn— Rachel Nichols (@Rachel__Nichols) June 10, 2014
First: THAT ENDING.
"We have to fight for the rights of all Americans. We have to fight these despicable monsters. THIS IS THE REASON I WILL NOT SELL MY TEAM."
It's got everything: the appeal to the everyman, which is the opposite of what Donald Sterling resembles. Calling the NBA a despicable monster, when Sterling himself is a) despicable and b) a monster. AND THEN THE ALL CAPS TO DRIVE IT HOME. This is a tour de crazy force, and we should cherish it.
In his message, Sterling repeatedly appeals to his right to freedom of speech, which arguably is the most important right protected by the United States Constitution. However, at no point in this process has his freedom of speech been violated. The Constitution makes sure that you can't be prosecuted for saying something (with certain exceptions) or prevented from saying something by the government. Sterling has been legally allowed to say all the things he's said. He could say them with a bullhorn on a street corner. He could start a blog and write those things. And although the majority of Americans find the things he said repugnant, there would be nothing we could do to stop him from saying them.
Will basically sue himself on principle
According to Donald Sterling's lawyer, the soon-to-be former Clippers owners will pursue his lawsuit against the NBA after all.
The Constitution doesn't protect his right to continue owning an NBA team after saying whatever it is he wants, however, so bringing it up here is a moot point.
If Sterling could keep his team by convincing a group of people who were merely aware that the words "freedom of speech" were in the Constitution, this would be a brilliant tactic. Unfortunately, he'll probably have to convince lawyers and judges, and they have probably read the thing. Sterling notes that he is a lawyer, but this logic makes him an embarrassingly bad one.
Perhaps the most intriguing thing is that he brings up gender discrimination suits against the NBA. He says the lawsuits are part of public record, but hints NBA commissioner Adam Silver is hiding stuff. If there is indeed evidence that the NBA is a haven for gender discrimination, that's terrible, and bringing it to the forefront would be the one good thing Sterling has done.
However, so far as we know, nobody has successfully sued the NBA with regards to gender discrimination. There was this lawsuit, which I can't find any evidence has actually been completed. There was the $11.2 million sexual harassment case against the Knicks in 2007, which caused David Stern to publicly reprimand the organization. We're not sure what else Sterling is referring to.
Sterling says the NBA is pointing the finger at him to distract us from its status as a den for discrimination. However, he's the one who's actually had to shell out millions in various discrimination lawsuits. Until he produces some evidence, we're skeptical.
The rest of the statement is essentially just name-calling, which is great:
- Donald Sterling calls the NBA hypocrites. He himself is a guy who touted his charity work despite being a massive racist.
- Donald Sterling calls the NBA bullies. He himself is a guy who forced poor people out of homes because of their race.
- Donald Sterling calls the NBA despicable monsters. As we noted earlier, Donald Sterling hits both checkpoints.
- Donald Sterling calls the NBA out for aggressively criticizing him, to distract people from its own discrimination. This document is literally him accusing somebody else of discrimination to distract from his own discrimination. The only difference between the two is that Sterling's discrimination is well documented, whereas so far as we can tell, the NBA's discrimination could be a figment of Sterling's desperation.
We knew this fight would be a crazy person swinging wildly, hoping against hope to land a a single blow. However, we had no idea how crazy it would be. We're lucky that the Constitution protects Sterling's right to say whatever the hell he wants, because his continued insanity is oddly fascinating.