If you thought Donald Sterling was going to eat that lifetime ban, $2.5 million fine and be strong-armed out of his LA Clippers team, then you don’t know the power of "wealth privilege." It was previously known as a sickness called "white privilege," but contemporary minds tend to feel race isn't as big a factor in determining who sits at the top of the capitalistic food chain anymore.
If this was a street fight, Sterling took his beating, went to the hospital and came out gunning for the perpetrators with no remorse for the many, many victims of his own culture of bigotry and social and economic oppression.
Don’t ever expect Sterling to reflect on his misdeeds and accept the fact that it’s time for him to hang em’ up. He’s uninterested that his ideologies and style of billionaire bully ball doesn’t play in today’s NBA, where players are more educated, finance savvy, unforgiving of racism and outspoken. And based on his actions it appears that to Sterling, the circumstances that have transpired are akin to a slave revolt. He's willing to burn it down with him.
Donald Sterling has filed a new civil lawsuit in Los Angeles Superior Court, seeking damages from his wife Shelly, the NBA and NBA commissioner Adam Silver in their attempt to sell the L.A. Clippers for $2 billion to former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer.
Court documents filed Tuesday call the potential sale "unlawful" and "fraudulent," and ask for an injunction to block the sale.
The biggest fear that pessimists across the athletic landscape had when Adam Silver spoke so eloquently and forcefully in that press conference in denouncing Sterling’s secretly-recorded racist comments and ensuring that he would not own the Clippers for long—was that much of it was much-needed and coerced “tough talk.”
When Sterling’s comments surfaced, they hit the NBA like a Tsunami blast and occurred right in the midst of a lucrative NBA Playoffs. Players and coaches were unified in standing against Sterling’s racist comments, with some even threatening a boycott if Sterling wasn't booted out of The League and terminated as an NBA franchise owner, regardless of the fact that he spoke in intimate settings and with the belief that his comments were totally private.
In the streets and through the media Silver was credited with being an advocate for civil rights and taking a strong stance against Sterling’s comments. Throughout NBA offices and those who benefited most from the multi-billion dollar NBA machine; players, owners, executives, arena workers, etc, Silver saved their bacon so they were most definitely serving up his props.
In any event, he came up roses, but players and coaches warned that they’d be watching how this situation unravels and at this point, they can’t be satisfied. Clippers coach Doc Rivers surely isn’t.
What's up Doc? What you got?
According to Richard Parsons, interim CEO of the Los Angeles Clippers who testified Tuesday at the trial to determine whether Sterling's wife can sell the team for $2 billion to former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, Rivers told him he would quit if Donald Sterling remains the owner.
"Doc is troubled by this maybe more so than anybody else," Parsons said. "If Mr. Sterling continues as owner, he does not want to continue as coach."
Parsons, a former chief executive at Time Warner and Citigroup who took over leadership of the Clippers in May after the Sterling drama hit the point of no return, said it’s very possible there would also be an exodus of key players, including team captain Chris Paul, who heads the NBA players union.
Under questioning by Ballmer's lawyer, Parsons said the departure of Rivers would "accelerate the death spiral" of the Clippers.
If this litigation is not handled swiftly it could lead to some highly-respected African-American NBA power-wielders (Rivers and Paul) refusing to work for the Clippers. We could be on the cusp of the most compelling saga in NBA player-owner-league relations history, and probably the most important. The Sterling drama involves so many lightening-rod topics and issues that slice deep to the core of the most obvious historical flaws in American society.
His comments were so brazen, hate-filled, and shocking that African-American members of the NBA Family in particular, now have an obligation to not only themselves, but the extended family, friends and communities that look up to them as heroes, to stay true to their prior threats.
Rivers is a brother. He’s a rich one, but his blood still bleeds African black. He has NBA sons and enough cash and cache stashed to live a great life as an analyst or travel the globe racking $100,000 a pop on the lecture circuit. The NBA needs Doc more than he needs the NBA at this point. And the respect the players have for him makes it very likely that if Doc decides to put his clipboard down, you will see more shiznit hit the NBA fan than a busload full of babies on ex-lax.
Remember, after Silver’s historic press conference in April, Rivers was optimistic but cautious with his words.
“Adam responded,” Rivers said at the time. “And I thought that was the sigh of relief we needed. Is this over, no, but it's the start of a healing process that we need."
Sterling’s lawyer Bobby Samini says that healing process could take a while because this latest trial may not even begin until next year. With so much litigation flying around, Sterling will still be in the NBA’s hairs and defiantly standing his ground when the 2015 season rolls around. That won’t sit well with Rivers, who I gather will turn up the pressure and make his threat a reality as camp draws near.
Shelly’s lawyer Pierce O’Donnell cautions Clippers fans not to flush their season tickets down the toilet just yet and is dismissing the suit as "a frivolous, last ditch act of desperation by a delusional, bitter man.”
“This action shows once more how obsessed he is with ruining a record-setting $2 billion sale of the Los Angeles Clippers,” O’Donnell lamented. “A sale that would solve the problems his racist rant started three months ago."
A Fallen God's Last Stand
Sterling has never fully grasped why people are so offended by his comments and despite his racist rants, the elite businessman in him, the oppressor in him, the capitalistic predator in him and the ancient, stubborn ideology that comprises Donald Sterling won’t allow him to just jump off the sinking ship, take his $2.5 billion dollar life preserver and call it a great run at 80 years of age.
In fact, Sterling says he can get $4 billion for the team if he sells it. We have come to see that such comments are typical Sterling. He always has to be in control and pulling the strings on the puppet. If he is forced to sell the team then he wants to be the one to orchestrate the deal.
There’s no real reason for him to prolong the ordeal. Even as an NBA outcast, he can still bang all of the 30-year-old gold diggers he wants. In pure business terms, if the sale of the team actually goes through, Sterling will be credited with having masterminded one of the greatest profit flips in pro sports ownership history. Despite the loss of stature and public humiliation, he goes out a winner in the bread game that’s most important to him – crushing cats and finishing in the green.
However, Sterling’s not having it. He’s like a punch drunk boxer who just doesn’t know when to hang it up. His family and the NBA threw in the towel for him, but he’s jumping into the middle of the ring and picking it up and imploring the referee to keep this brooh hah hah going. He’s so use to licking shots and watching cats disperse that he still doesn’t realize that his paper can’t save him this time.
Sorry to disappoint Sacramento mayor Kevin Johnson, blacks rights leaders, anti-hate groups and the demands of Doc Rivers and LeBron James, but dethroning an old king doesn’t happen overnight and winning one battle certainly doesn’t secure a takeover of the castle and ultimate victory.
Sterling asked for an injunction to freeze the $2 billion sale, arguing that his wife had no authority to sell the franchise because he is the sole owner and shareholder of the corporation which owns the Clippers, after he revoked the Sterling Family Trust on June 9. He’s claiming his estranged wife Shelly and Adam Silver defrauded him and violated corporate law in attempting to sell the franchise.
An ongoing court hearing in Los Angeles will determine if Shelly Sterling properly seized control of the franchise from her husband, but Sterling’s lawyer says she tried to hit him with the okey-doke.
"The new lawsuit states the seller of the team is not Donald, and it's not Shelly — the seller of the team is the corporation that owns the team, and that's LAC Basketball Club Inc.," Samini, said Tuesday. "When Donald bought the team, the shares of the corporation are only in Donald's name. They were only issued to Donald, so Donald owns the shares of the corporation. He's the sole shareholder. He put the shares up into the trust in 1989, and when we revoked the trust, the shares go back down to him."
Donald Sterling was removed as a trustee from the trust when two neurologists examined him and determined he was mentally unfit to finesse his legal and business affairs. Sterling has since objected to the sale and also filed a federal lawsuit against the NBA seeking $1 billion in damages.
Many people equate Sterling’s aggression with an addiction to power and greed. It’s not. It’s about Sterling defending the lasting principle of wealthy privilege. Something he had the fortunate circumstances of enjoying at its most glamorous levels, for most of his life.
"He's worth more than $2.5 billion without the team," Samini said. "If he was greedy, he would take the money and run. It's not about the money. It's not even about wanting the team. It's showing everybody: If I have a conversation in my living room that's inappropriate, that's not a good thing. I shouldn't be awarded the man of the year award, but at the same time, my private conversation, and on top of that my medical records, shouldn't be OK to release that to the world and use that to hang me with."
A lot of people, including myself agree with Sterling’s stance on that issue, but it’s just one part of the puzzle. He used his wealth privilege and status as a job provider and billionaire to basically keep minority workers down.
Now, instead of accepting his fate and showing some kind of genuine love and respect for the NBA and the sport and the players who helped fill his coiffeurs and finance his sexual deviance and plantation mentality, he attacks his former family like hated enemies unwavering in his capitalistically-anointed right to be an asshole.
Stay tuned. This is just heating up.