L.A. Clippers owner Donald Sterling

NBA, commish Silver slam the jar on Donald Sterling… But what now?

The NBA banned Clippers owner Donald Sterling from the league for life, after racist remarks he made to his girlfriend V. Stiviano.

So now we know.

The NBA’s new commissioner ain’t afraid to drop the hammer, Clippers owner Donald Sterling will never be associated the league or his long losing team ever again, and an embarrassing saga has come to an end, or at least something like a denouement.

(Sterling was also fined $2.5 million on Tuesday by the commish, Adam Silver, which is a drop in the bucket for the billionaire. Silver will now try force Sterling to sell his team.)

The real question is, what now? And not just what now with Sterling.

One offensive owner has been snuffed out of his chair, but that hasn’t changed the fact that too many others say the same things Sterling did – and much worse – when they’re not being recorded by an ex-girlfriend. They think it, they practice it, and it infects everything they do and everyone they deal with. And it’s happened for a long time, either undocumented or ignored by the rest of us because it wasn’t as entertaining or as viral as the Sterling file.

“This is the only opportunity that a lot of people out here will have where they feel comfortable within their souls, within their psyches to stand against racism,” said columnist Bomani Jones, while on The Dan Le Batard Show. “It’s so easy to do it on this right here, and it’s so scandalous.

“What he (Sterling) talked about was actually fairly illuminating, if you want to listen to it, because what he said was, ‘This is how things go with rich people I hang out with, and the rich people I hang out with, don’t want their women out here hanging out with black people, even if she’s black.'”

Just last week, the American Republican Party’s hero of the day, Cliven Bundy, said he thought black people might have been better off when they were slaves. It turned the GOP’s 2014 version of Joe the Plumber into an embarrassing, insanely offensive endorsement… but will that dissuade anyone of Bundy’s shade to change their mind, or will it just tell every other rogue redneck rancher, “The mistake he made was going on TV”?

If you want to look further afield, quite literally, Barcelona FC player Dani Alves (who is black) had a banana thrown at him before he took a corner on Sunday, while playing in Spain. Alves picked up the banana and ate it, a necessary and perfectly executed move that trivialized the event – but it didn’t erase it.

The guy who threw the banana is being dealt with by Villarreal (the host team) and is banned from the team’s stadium for life. Good choice. But it’s Europe… you can expect the same thing to happen in another stadium, and very soon.

**********

CP - Clippers protest Donald Sterling remarks and comments

Los Angeles Clippers players listen to the national anthem wearing their warmup jerseys inside out to protest alleged racial remarks by team owner Donald Sterling before Game 4 of an opening-round NBA basketball playoff series against the Golden State Warriors on Sunday, April 27, 2014, in Oakland, Calif. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

**********

In the United States – and in Canada, let’s not fool ourselves – racism plays a very real and very destructive role in the lives of too many people from every different minority. Comments and one-off actions that are dealt with swiftly are easy bandwagons to jump on and they need to be handled the way Silver handled today’s, but it’s the true challenges facing inner-cities in Baltimore or Los Angeles – even ethnic communities in Toronto and Vancouver, and especially aboriginal communities across Canada – that are harder to fix and harder to stand against because they’re harder to define. Economy and history seems to excuse our collective responsibility to them now.

There’s a difference between jokes like the kinds Joan Rivers, Russell Peters, and Louis C.K. make and the overt racism expressed by Sterling, just like Avril Lavigne’s Hello Kitty-ish Japanese-mocking music video doesn’t make her the warden of a World War II-era B.C. internment camp.

But there’s also a difference between what Sterling said this time and what he’s actually done in the past, which includes a history defined by racist practices, not just racist rants. (But, of course, he’s said a lot of shi*ty stuff, too.)

Jones – again, speaking on Dan Le Batard’s radio show – had covered allegations against Sterling years ago, and joked that more people have read his old stories in the last week than they had when he originally wrote them.

Jones also labelled housing discrimination – of which Sterling was found guilty of in 2009, when he was ordered to pay a $2.725 million settlement for discrimination against African-Americans and Hispanics in L.A. – as America’s version of Apartheid.

“That’s the stuff that Donald Sterling has been doing forever,” Jones said, noting that Sterling was originally sued in 2003 and found to have made discriminatory remarks related to his housing projects in 2006. “You’re gonna come to me and talk about what’s going on with Donald Sterling and his mistress? Are you kidding me? That stuff (housing discrimination) was real, that stuff matters, that stuff literally kills people.

“People here need to get their heads out of their clavens and realize that this here is fun to talk about, but this is nothing. The real stuff that happened was that.”

If any of Sterling’s critics are actually serious about eradicating the beliefs he has from their society, they’ll treat him like what he is. Donald Sterling is over. Done-zo. He’s a joke, a guy who will go down with the likes of Marge Schott, Phil Robertson, and Pat Robertson as an ideological fossil rendered irrelevant by progression. But he’s also a lesson for next time, a real-life case study in why we should pay attention to a life littered with clues.

In 30 years, will we remember Sterling? Hell, I had never heard of Schott until some baby boomer broadcaster brought her up on ESPN yesterday.

On Tuesday, Adam Silver did the right thing. He removed Sterling from his league and erased his public profile, at least the one most of us know him for. He handed down the punishment, and that’s all Silver could do. He handled the case they way he could for his environment, and I think he deserves an applause for Tuesday.

But the problems still persist, and we can no longer be shocked or stupefied when someone else repeats history, and we can’t let our sometimes vain desire to be outraged by everything dissuade our focus from acts of oppression that are consciously dished out every day, in the United States, in Canada, and anywhere else. It’s our fault if we don’t react accordingly the first time.

This isn’t a victory. It’s just a good riddance.

The punching bag has been defeated, but we’re still waiting for the bell.

 

Just Posted

VIDEO: ‘Stewie the Starfish’ mascot revealed at Premier League kickoff party

Pacific FC kickoff party scores in Victoria Inner Harbour

Big Brothers Big Sisters’ Bowl for Kids’ Sake returns to Langford

Annual fundraising event held from April 26 to 28

Report calls on Saanich to expand multicultural programming at recreation facilities

Report also notes that Saanich could do more for sexual minorities.

Victoria cannabis dispensaries are busy in their first days of legal operation

The Cloud Nine Collective and The Original FARM opened their doors on April 15

WATCH: Movie star and PACE alum Calum Worthy talks musical theatre and his career

“American Vandal” and “Austin and Ally” actor has been returning to the program for over 20 years

POLL: How often does your family use BC Ferries?

Navigating the lineups for BC Ferries is a way of life for… Continue reading

Crime Stoppers most wanted for Greater Victoria for the week of April 16

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

Deck collapses in Langley during celebration, 35 people injured

Emergency responders rushed to the Langley home

B.C. mom wages battle to get back four kids taken from her in Egypt

Sara Lessing of Mission has help from Abbotsford law firm

VIDEO: Fire guts Peachland home

Crews are still on scene pumping water onto the blaze in the Okanagan neighbourhood

$6K raised in one day’s time for family of woman gunned down in Penticton

GoFundMe launched for family of Darlene Knippelberg, to pay for funeral costs and other expenses

B.C. mountain biker sent home from hospital twice, despite broken vertebrae

Released in Maple Ridge to go home with three fractured vertebrae

Seven tips to travel safely this Easter long weekend

An average of three people are killed, and hundreds more injured, each Easter long weekend in B.C.

Most Read