Thank You Adam Silver

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We got what we wanted and he got what he deserved. Adam Silver had possible his defining moment very early into his career as NBA commissioner suspending L.A. Clippers owner for life and fining him 2.5 million dollars, the maximum amount allowed by the NBA owners agreement, and donating that money to charities that fight racism. This came a few days after the racist remarks made by Sterling in a private conversation were released to the media by his girlfriend/archivist V. Stiviano. Along with the fine and suspension Adam Silver also said he would recommend that the NBA Board of Governors move to force Sterling to sell the team in which two thirds of the owners would have to vote yes on.

Silver handled this situation as well as he could and did what the people, players and fans wanted. He stood up and made his mark clear that racism of any kind will not be tolerated in his league. This punishment may have been a little harsh and legally could cause some problems since it was based off of a private conversation the Sterling had and there is no doubt that Sterling will fight back. Again Sterling has done this before. Look back at the mind 1980s when sterling moved the team from San Diego to Los Angeles he did so unilaterally in response the NBA tried to fine him 25 million dollars and Sterling countered by suing them for 100 million dollars.

This may be the just the begging of the Sterling saga but it’s a good start for Silver. He did what he needed to do and I completely agree and believe that his punishment is fair. It’s 2014 there is no place for racism anywhere especially in today’s sports.
According to The Huffington Post 66 percent of Americans supported fine and 71 percent supported the suspension of Sterling. A forced sale was supported by only 47 percent of Americans. Thirty-one percent opposed the idea, and 22 percent said they weren’t sure. When breaking this staticatic down it showed that democrats supported a forced sale by 68 percent to 16 percent, and independents were also more likely to support the idea, by 42 percent to 34 percent. Republicans, on the other hand, were more likely to oppose it, by 48 percent to 26 percent.

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar asked why Sterling’s actions have been tolerated for the last 30 years. He thought that he should have been gone a long time ago. “Even people in the Clippers corporate structure are happy that Mr. Sterling can no longer dictate how the franchise is run, and there’s light now at the end of the tunnel” said Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.

It’ll be interesting to watch the rest of this story play out. It’s apparent that the players of now and then want Sterling out of the league and most coaches and hopefully owners will want him gone and will get him gone, but it won’t be easy. The only thing that Sterling wants is to own the Clippers he has made enough money to last him five lifetime and support a small countries economy the only thing he still wants in the world is the fame and prestige that comes with being an owner of a major professional sports team in Los Angeles
I predict a long and unnecessarily painful process for the NBA and Sterling trying to completely resolve this problem but I hope the sake of humanity and the NBA that the owners find a way to get Sterling out of the owner’s box and make him give up those court side seats. But how will take over as of now it’s looking like Magic Johnson ironically a Laker great and one target of Sterling’s remarks will be the one to take over and there will be another minority owner in the NBA.

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“You Chickensh*t MotherF%cker”

Let’s talk politics. Let’s talk religion. Let’s talk race. With this story we got all three. By now I am sure we have all heard or at least heard of the remarks made by the L.A. Clippers Owner Donald Sterling which make him sound more like a pre-civil war plantation owner or he’s still stuck in 1978 small town Odessa, TX than that of an owner of an NBA basketball team in a 21st century metropolis.
TMZ first broke the story with an audio tape recorded by V. Stiviano, Sterling’s “girlfriend” or sugar baby, of the two arguing because The Donald was upset that she posted pictures on Instagram of herself and two black athletes Matt Kemp and Magic Johnson. What’s ironic about V. is that she too is black and Mexican who had apparently changed her name because “fully accepted because of my race.”
Donald Sterling’s is publically known for being racist. He had to settle a multimillion dollar lawsuit that he got himself in by not letting anyone but Koreans live in an apartment complex he owns in L.A.’s Koreatown. Then in 2009 he was sued by former longtime Clippers executive Elgin Baylor, who is black, for employment discrimination on the basis of age and race. The lawsuit alleges Sterling told Baylor that he wanted to fill his team with “poor black boys from the South and a white head coach”
So it’s not surprising that there is tape of Donald being racist and then some, he even brought Jews into it. Nor is it surprising that a million possibly billionaire has a “girlfriend” or archivist as she labels herself who is half his age. Nor is it surprising that the players in the NBA are protesting Sterling. Nor is it surprising that Snopp Dogg called Donald Sterling a “bitchass redneck white bread chickenshit motherfucker”, fair.
What is surprising is that Donald Sterling is still a Los Angeles Clippers owner. What is even worse is that there isn’t a whole lot that the new NBA commissioner Adam Silver hasn’t done anything about this yet. There is an investigation ongoing but does Sterling really deserve due process? NO! He’s been a known racist who’s already had multiple lawsuits filed against him because of discrimination. Clipper sponsors have been dropping at the rate of one every thirty minutes since the tape was released and his comments made public. Twitter has been set ablaze with current former and future NBA players and other pop culture icons dissing Donald and calling for his head.
There is no doubt that Donald Sterling won’t be an owner for much longer and if he still is at the beginning of next year good luck Clipper’s trying to find anyone who will play for someone like Mr. Sterling. There is no place in today’s society for someone like this especially in the NBA where 78% of its players are black. If it weren’t the playoffs I really doubt that you’d be seeing Lob City running up and down the court.

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Marxist Masters

Every April golf fans everywhere start to get giddy and excited for the Master’s tournament. Chills run down your back when you see those first few commercials on ESPN with the azaleas and dogwood trees in bloom and the tall Georgia pines towering over Amen Corner.  It is the first major of the PGA’s season; it marks the beginning of spring and reminds the rest of us amateur golfers that it is time to brush the dust off the clubs in the garage. For the participants of the tournament it gives them a chance to start their year off on a great foot, it gives the armatures in the field a chance to prove that they have to game to hang with the big guns on tour. Everyone in that field is playing for a chance to slip into a customized green jacket on Sunday night and become a member of the most exclusive clubs in the world. Some might say that it is too exclusive.

Augusta National has always been scrutinized for being behind the times when it comes to gender and racial equality along with many other things. Augusta invited Ron Townsend to become its first Black member in 1990 and the first two female members of the club are Condoleezza Rice and business executive Darla Moore. They weren’t invited until 2012. Still today the rules on the grounds of Augusta are very strict during the Masters Tournament. For example there is a strict no running policy and a no electronics policy that spectators and media members alike must abide by. You also need to watch your mouth around this tight upper lip traditionalist change resistant micro society within the club and Gary McCord, a very colorful commentator for CBS, learned this the hard way after he was politely asked to not return to Augusta after saying that the greens look like they have been “bikini waxed” and the mounds around the course look like “body bags”.

In today’s need to know everything society dominated by social media Augusta is somewhat of a hidden gem, literally. The club remains extremely private not much is known about the inner workings of it but they do understand how to use the Master’s Tournament as a great business adventure. In the latest issue of Golf Digest they estimated that the club makes hundreds millions of dollars off of ticket sales, television and licensed goods. That type of revenue along with membership dues which cost between 10 and 30,000 dollars annually makes Augusta one of the richest clubs in the world. The club has also slowly been buying up property immediately surrounding the area of the golf course. There has been no official word on what they plan to do with it but many speculate that they intend to use it simply as a buffer zone to keep the rest of the world out of Augusta.

Augusta is obviously one of the most upper class conservative clubs you’ll find anywhere and my golf coach the other day brought up a very interesting question to us, a group of middle to upper middle class liberal arts college student, “why do you guys like the Master’s?”  The answer I thought was simple, because it’s the best golf tournament held for the best golfers at one of the best courses and was created by arguably the best golfer of all time.

But the answer I realized is not so simple. Why do we like the Master’s why do we support a club that didn’t let women in until less than two years ago? Why do we support a club that only let a black man in 20 years ago? Why do we support a club that kicks a TV commentator out for exercising his right to free speech? If you take a Marxist approach by, using Guilianotti’s Sport a Critical Sociology article, to the Master’s Augusta is the bourgeois has all the power, they have the product and only use the Master’s tournament to make money.

So why have we, the proletariat, not started to protest Augusta yet? Will we ever? I don’t know if we will and that question might not ever get answered but is interesting to see how traditions of sport can still stand in today’s society as is the case with Augusta. It will be interesting to see how Augusta National Golf Club and The Master’s tournament will be viewed in the years to come and weather it will be still so heavily supported of will people open their eyes and see that Augusta needs to catch up with the times.

 

 

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