Finally, a compelling issue to bring me out of hiatus. I probably would've been too indolent to write anything about it but this Donald Sterling news is getting in the way of me enjoying the NBA playoffs. And nothing ruins a run to the NBA Finals more than a social issue of this magnitude. So for the benefit of those who are still in outer space or is not in tune with sports altogether, current Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling is in the hot seat for some racial allegations he made coming from an audio tape that was publicly sent out by her girlfriend V. Stiviano. In the recording, which Stiviano's lawyer claims as legit, clearly airs Sterling's racial remarks towards African-Americans. Not surprisingly, this has caught the NBA world by storm and the outrage from all walks of life has been overwhelming.
There is no room for such behavior in professional sports, or anywhere for that matter. This has an undeniable effect to the players, the organization as well as the growing Clipper fans. On a social standpoint, it mirrors the same communal issues in any typical workplace. And like any racial-related case, it must be addressed. Confident enough that NBA Commissioner Adam Silver will ensure such actions are dealt with accordingly. On a professional standpoint, how do you see the Clippers deal with this situation? Do you win to play for an owner who does not respect you as a player? Do you win just for you, your teammates or for the team but essentially still winning for the owner? Or do you lose, and as an athlete, give up all you have worked for just to prove a point? As a person, I would understand if each and every one of the Clippers have a different take on this in terms of playing to win or not playing in protest. The problem is, deny it all they want, the Clippers are affected by this one way or another. I think it showed clearly on Sunday's loss to the Golden State Warriors. Not to dismiss the efforts by Mark Jackson's team, but it sure had something to do with the Clippers' lack of focus. As the Clippers go back to Los Angeles, what would the atmosphere be like? Should the Clipper fanatics not watch at Staples? Should they boo or cheer? All of which are distractions if you are making a push for a championship.
As a Laker fan, I almost feel sorry for the Clippers (in fact I actually do) because this came totally from left field. I felt like this year the team would go deep into the playoffs but now I truly have my doubts. Blake Griffin is a monster, Chris Paul is his usual dynamic self and the supporting cast can truly pose a challenge in the Western Conference. However, this kind of predicament has, and excuse my naivety if historically there was a similar incident, is unprecedented. This is not an injury to your star player, not a coach getting suspended, not a loyal fan missing out on a game. This is an owner who runs and benefits from a team that is comprised primarily by African-Americans but ironically is racist. This is not something that a team can easily adjust to. Nobody can just step up and take over the game. This is beyond basketball and should not be tolerated.
Ultimately, as a fan of the game, I wish the Clippers win it all. Not for Sterling but win as a sign of protest against racism. I understand that in the end, if Sterling still owns the Clippers, then he technically wins as well. But Chris Paul and co. still owe themselves, after all their hard work, the sweet taste of victory. I mean if this is in an office setting and you are in the verge of completing a major project, a once in a lifetime opportunity and something you already have worked hard for that would catapult your career to great heights, only to find out you are being discriminated by your boss, would you not go for it and deal with the racial issue later? It is not exactly setting aside a very important issue but rather putting professionalism a step ahead of derogation. After all, being professional would clearly say a lot to being socially profiled right? Perhaps it is the more gallant way to deal with it as a Clipper. But regardless how they show a sign of protest, Clipper or not, Sterling does not deserve to be an NBA owner. Not a chance, not even a sliver.