There’s an old saying that, unfortunately, never grows old, and that is “There’s no fool like an old fool.” Donald Sterling should have his picture in the dictionary beside that quote. He has been banned from the NBA, and Adam Silver, new commissioner of the NBA, has informed the other owners he wants them to force Sterling to sell his interest in the Los Angeles Clippers.
His defenders can say what they will, but it is quite obvious Donald Sterling is a man of his age and a man of his prejudices. The lady of his life, V. Stiviano, is 38 years old and claims to be on Mr. Sterling’s payroll as an archivist. I wonder if she can explain what that is, or if she can spell it.
Grandpa used to say, “If it looks like a duck, has an orange bill and webbed feet and quacks like a duck, it’s a safe bet it’s a duck.” Ms. Stiviano is around for other things rather than the history of Donald Sterling. In her most recent interview with Barbara Walters, she showed her “tell” and it was so blatant one could see it, even on TV. I’m sure if Leroy Jethro Gibbs (NCIS) were on the case he could see those eyes moving and make the assumption the lady is a liar.
You can have private thoughts and even private conversations and, in America, you can still be a racist. But, you cannot be a racist when the people in one of your enterprises are nearly all African-American.
One of the big fears of plantation owners of the old South was the fear of a slave revolt. There were a couple of these that were put down harshly, so it was a fear of the men who owned the slaves that a rising up would get them and their families killed in their sleep. The NBA owners are afraid of a mass walkout of these talented African-American basketball players and they (the NBA owners) would be left holding an empty bag.
Sterling is not the first old man to buy affection from a much younger, attractive woman. And he won’t be the last. But what the NBA owners are facing in the worst scene scenario is these players will rise up in revolt in the only way they can: not to play. The owners are on a slippery slope anyway because a good many of the franchises lose money every year and a total walkout might do the league in. Also, the owners know the bar they raise against Donald Sterling can be used against them.
They say Sterling has prostate cancer. He isn’t going to get too much sympathy. And if there is any sense out of this entire mess it is that Donald Sterling, in spite of all of his wealth, is simply not smart enough to run and own an NBA franchise in this day and time.
Ronn Mott, a longtime radio personality in Terre Haute, writes commentaries for the Tribune-Star. His pieces are published online Tuesday and Thursday on Tribstar.com, and in the print and online editions on Saturday.