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Sunday, April 27, 2014

Donald Sterling, an enigma wrapped inside a billionaire

(Donald Sterling and V. Stiviano)

One aspect of the Donald Sterling brouhaha which doesn't quite make sense to me is, if he didn't approve of publicly associating with black people, why does he own a basketball team?

As you've undoubtedly heard by now, Sterling, the owner of the Los Angeles Clippers, made the following comments to his girlfriend, V. Stiviano, as quoted by TMZ:

"It bothers me a lot that you want to broadcast that you’re associating with black people. Do you have to?"

"You can sleep with [black people]. You can bring them in, you can do whatever you want. The little I ask you is not to promote it on that ... and not to bring them to my games."

"I’m just saying, in your lousy f******* Instagrams, you don’t have to have yourself with, walking with black people."

"...Don't put him [Magic] on an Instagram for the world to have to see so they have to call me. And don't bring him to my games."

Sterling, a slumlord, also paid 2.7 million dollars in a suit brought by the Justice Department in 2009 for discrimination against blacks and Hispanics and families with children. He has, according to Wikipedia, been quoted as saying that Hispanics "smoke, drink and just hang around the building," and that "black tenants smell and attract vermin."

What I don't get is, if you dislike blacks so much, why not buy a hockey team? Or a polo team? Why not finance a sailing yacht for America's Cup?

The other thing which doesn't quite make sense to me is, if he doesn't want black people coming to his games, why does he himself have a girlfriend -- now an ex-girlfriend -- who herself was part Mexican and part black? And isn't he, by hiring the various Clipper players, bringing blacks to his games? Also, what exactly is the percentage in telling your part black girlfriend not to publicly associate with other blacks?

Sterling seems a bit conflicted, an angle the media hasn't seen fit to mention.

One has to wonder what it is in his background that makes him so confused. He was born Donald Tokowitz (he added the "Sterling" as an adult) to two Jewish immigrants, both of whom undoubtedly came to this glorious melting pot to escape the kind of narrow-minded prejudice and provincial attitudes which had bedeviled them in the old country.

Sterling married a woman named Rochelle Stein, so he didn't stray far from the reservation when it came to forming a family himself. His experiences as a lawyer and landlord undoubtedly helped shape his attitudes towards other races. But that didn't stop him from more recently having a black/Mexican girlfriend -- who presumably didn't hang out smoking, drinking, smelling bad, and attracting vermin.

As of yet, Donald Sterling is an enigma yet to be fully understood.

Of course, part of the explanation to his behavior probably has to do with his billionaire status; after years of having people kiss his behind, his social antennae have undoubtedly become a bit blunted.

All of which makes me think that having one's antennae blunted because the only way people relate to you is to say "Yes sir," and "You're the greatest, sir," and "I don't care how old you are, you're just incredibly sexy," must be a very pleasant experience.


jova said...

I just listened to the recorded tape. Sounds like his girlfriend was setting him up, trying to get him to sound racist. For all anyone knows the tapes could have been doctored to make him sound bad. The argument they were having may have another back story to it. She has was accused of embezzlement by the Sterling Family just last month.

I agree with your assessment , it makes no sense for him to own a basketball team, have a Black coach etc.. if he did not want to be seen with black people.

also strange that the NAACP planned on giving him another Lifetime Achievement Award , he obtained his first Award in 2008. Why would he have lobbied so hard to get these awards, if he did not want to associate with Blacks ?

he is 81 years old, and his mind is probably not functioning too well, but as a billionaire used to getting his own way , nobody in his inner circle would want to upset their gravy train by giving him some good advice.

John Craig said...

Jova --
Steve Sailer wrote a post this morning about how his erstwhile girlfriend is actually an "adventuress":

She was definitely trying to entrap him.

That said, a lot of people get awards from the NAACP etc, not necessarily because they truly believe in their cause, but because they've donated money, which they do for publicity/business-related reasons.

Anonymous said...

I agree with jova, that maybe the man has reached to the point where he has some dementia and is "unfiltered" in what he say's, not being able to help himself.

Anonymous said...

The Sterling family was foolish to accuse this gold digger of embezzlement. Donald Sterling was a fool to buy her a house, cars etc.. but it seems like the lawsuit caused the prostitute to release these taped conversations.

strange that in today's society, people no longer view gold diggers in a negative light. She broke the law by recording a private conversation, and entrapped her sugar daddy for further leverage.
I wonder if she tried to blackmail the Sterlings before she sold the tapes. She does not sound too bright, maybe another enemy of Sterling convinced her to record the conversations to destroy his reputation. It will be interesting to see how the Sterlings fight back.

John Craig said...

First Anon --
Yes, that's entirely possible, very few people are at their mental peak at 80, and Sterling may well have reached his dotage.

Second Anon --
I agree, Sterling should never have bought her all that stuff. And yes, Stiviano may well have tried to black mail him first; I guess she knew that getting him to make comments about race would be her trump card.

I disagree that gold-diggers are no longer looked down on, at least among the general public. I think the media shies away from the term these days because of all its ant-feminism implications, and because the media never diverges from their liberal script. But the public at large is going to see this woman for what she is.

jova said...

I wonder who was really behind these tapes of Sterling getting made and leaked. Is it so hard to believe that a group of extremely rich and powerful men who want to force Sterling to sell his team could have arranged all of this. Seems like the woman and Magic know each other. Sounds like the whole thing may have been orchestrated by Magic and his backers who want to buy the Clippers. The girl could pick up a nice bonus if Sterling is pressured to sell the franchise quickly at a reduced price. The value of his franchise has already been damaged.

Sterling would be smart to sell the Clippers fast. If he remains owner attendance will drop and many players may choose not to sign with his team under the circumstances. Players who decide to stay with the team may demand a bigger signing bonus, since endorsement opportunities will be damaged if they are wearing a Clipper Jersey.

I always liked Magic Johnson, and my opinion of him does not change if he was behind this.
Kudos to Magic if the plan works. Would love to see him become owner of the Clippers. Selling the franchise to Magic may also help Sterling obtain some redemption if done the right way.

cathismith said...

Why is it when a woman accuses a rich & powerful man of anything, comments turn to questioning her morals? Who really cares what she does with her body? Her body belongs to her & she can do with it anything she wants! Her "morality" is not the issue! His is! Does it make him any less of a scumbag that she exposed him? Is not his trying to buy her loyalty a bit immoral, itself? That an 80 year old man has a sexual relationship with a twenty something is pretty icky--a LOT more icky, in my book, than anything she did. Actually, she seems like a lot more decent person than he in that conversation. He tried to control what she did, he called her disparaging names, insulted her & yet she NEVER did any of those things to him. He's the scumbag! He entrapped her with his power & his money, which anyone would resent.

John Craig said...

Jova --
The scenario you outline is certainly possible, though I don't think it's likely. It would make sense for a group of men who want to buy the Clippers (especially now that they've just recently become more successful) would somehow try to besmirch Sterling. But if Magic ere involved in such a nefarious plot, wouldn't he want to keep his role a secret, especially if he were to end up as one of the owners? Why would he pose for a photograph with Stiviano? And if the real motive behind Sterling's infamous instructions to Stiviano stemmed from jealousy, as some have suggested (Sterling mostly just wanted to keep up his image as a man whose girlfriend didn't need to seek sexual satisfaction from black professional athletes), then why use Johnson? Rumors about his bisexuality persist to this day. And if it did come out that Johnson had anything to do with such a plot, his public image would suffer.

John Craig said...

Cathismith --
No one is suggesting that Stiviano is not free to do with her body as she wishes. And the vast majority of attention that has been lavished on this matter does in fact center around Sterling and his words. Nor has anyone suggested that Stiviano's motivations have in any way absolved Sterling of anything.

Also, the only law which Stiviano is accused of breaking is the one against surreptitiously taping a private conversation, which she obviously did do.

But while her motivations do not absolve Sterling, nor do Sterling's words absolve her. Each is responsible for their own actions.

Also, as far as the ice factor you mention, is Sterling not allowed to do with his body -- and his money -- what he wishes, just as Stiviano is? He certainly didn't force Stiviano to have sex with him.

And as far as judging their relative morality from the taped conversation, the fact that she was secretly recording it and he thought it was private renders any such judgment there pretty meaningless. She was obviously trying to get him to say something she could use against him later.

Anonymous said...

I question the morals of any female under the age of 40 who has a "boyfriend" over the age of 60.

while 90% of men over the age of 50 would have sex with an above average female 20 years younger, it is rare because 99.99% of females would not choose a man 20 years older for a romantic fling. this is why only wealthy men over the age of 50 can "afford" to have young girlfriends. by definition any women in such a relationship is a prostitute.

while i agree prostitution prohibition should end, most women are against prostitution. This women is not only a prostitute, but she is accused of embezzling almost $2 million from this 80 year old man, who is clearly not at full mental capacity. If a young man did this to an 80 year old female he would probably be in jail already.

the real reason he did not want his girlfriend posting photos of herself hugging young athletes, was because his friends were busting his balls about it, rubbing it in his face that his young "girlfriend" was running around with other guys. She knew how to twist his words and make it sound like she objected to the photos because they were Black, but I am sure he would have had the same complaint if she was posting photographs of herself with Ryan Braun or Ben Roethlisberger.Sterling's male ego got to him, and he did not want to be reminded of the fact that any girl would prefer a young stud to an old man.

John Craig said...

Anon --
Your analysis is 100% correct. I applaud your judgment and understanding of human nature.

Anonymous said...

Sterling was exposed as a racist years ago, yet there were no demands for the NBA to suspend him or fine him.

in 1983, when Sterling was trying to recruit Rollie Massimino, Sterling asked his prospective candidate, “I wanna know why you think you can coach these n******.” The comment sent Massimino off the rails, making his decision to decline the job quite easy and allowing him to win a national title with Villanova two years later.

the accusations by the justice department against Sterling in 2006 for housing discrimination are more serious and damaging to the African American community.

Sterling has been accused of housing discrimination multiple times. in 2009 Sterling was ordered to pay a $2.725 million settlement, the largest ever obtained by the Justice Department in a housing discrimination case. Yet Obama and the media did not demand the NBA to take any action then, as they are doing now.

What is worse ? to force Black people out of their apartments or to ask your girlfriend not to bring Magic Johnson to a basketball game ?

when Sterling first bought the Ardmore apartment complex in 2003 he remarked on its odor "That's because of all the blacks in this building, they smell, they're not clean," he said, according to sworn testimony. "So we have to get them out of here." and he did get them out. The tenants eventually obtained a settlement in 2005.

The NBA could have reprimanded him years ago, but until the recent media storm they were willing to ignore Sterlings atrocious behavior.

John Craig said...

Anon --
You're right, the NBA is hypocritical.

And what you've said just goes to show the power of the media: whatever they decide should be a scandal, is a scandal, simply because of the publicity they shower on it. And conversely, whatever they decide they don't want to have as a scandal, they let disappear down the memory hole.

Anonymous said...

Media sites are reporting that Donald Sterling's wife, Shelly, has won a court battle against her husband's ex-mistress, V. Stiviano. Apparently, the two women despise each other (for obvious reasons). Good for Mrs. Sterling, being proud of her for going after a snake.


John Craig said...

Birdie --
I'm not so sure Mrs. Sterling is such an angel, but Stiviano is definitely a snake, the way she tried to entrap Donald Sterling.