Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Donald Sterling: the Opprobrium of the NBA and America.


When I heard the comments that 80 year old Mr. Sterling made through the tape below, I said to myself, “We have heard and seen this before.” I am always befuddled by the hypocrisy that bedevils America. Those who are happy that Sterling has been banned for life do not see the bigger picture. There is a gloomier picture than the caricature painted by Donald Sterling. The first is that of a man whose heart is very dark, the second is the untrustworthiness of many, and the third is the culture of racism and prejudice entrenched in America.

It is not the first time that Mr. Sterling has been embroiled in racism issues. It is an open secret that in 2006, the Justice Department sued Mr. Sterling and his wife for discriminating against blacks in which he refused renting his apartments to them. As if to show remorse, he made so many donations to NAACP, and they took them despite knowing well his views on the Dark Skinned people. They were even about to honor him with a lifetime achievement before the story broke out. Mr. Sterling did not like his mixed girlfriend to associate with blacks, worst still take pictures with them. To Sterling, Dark Skinneds are inferior beings as he defended his position with the analogy about the black and white Jews. He admonished his girlfriend to adhere to his principles of discrimination, or he was going to replace her and get someone who will apply his discrimination principles. That would be his undoing. The NBA commissioner is unhappy about the content of the leaked tape, so the NBA Commissioner: Mr. Silver banned Mr. Sterling for life with immediate effect. However, that is not all we learn from this Sterling Saga.

The girl at the center of all of this is 32 year old, Maria Vanessa Perez. She changed her name to V. Stiviano in 2010 and has kept the name until date. What is internecine about her too is that she is dating a married man who is still legally married, and  through her a recorded conversation became public with or without her knowledge. Revenge has no equal to a harridan. Perhaps she has a better defense that Mr. Sterling had asked her to tape him because he always forgot what he said. However, what about making it public too? Did he tell her or her associates to make it public? She says she is saddened. If you don't want vultures to eat you or your beloveds, then neither you nor them should die. By making a private conversation public, the conversation loses its privacy and the onus falls back on her since she was the only one who knew about the tape. Hilarion Nguema once sang that, “Quand la femme se f√Ęche, le secret est dehors.”

It is not only Stiviano that we see with this behavior; it is a common practice amongst Americans, especially women.They are building a society without trust. Linda Tripp did the same thing to Monica Lewinsky and ruined the life of that poor girl for political gain and filthy lucre. Ginger White also revealed a long tryst with Herman Cain that destroyed the latter's presidential hopes. Is Ginger White better than she was when she threw Cain under the bus? Stiviano had a better way of fighting Mr. Sterling than bringing the tape to the public eye because Mr. Sterling’s punishment is now disproportionate to his mae culpa. Stiviano can get another man, and Mr. Sterling was not the most important person in her life. She was dating a married man. Sterling on the other hand had the Clippers as his seul enfant cheri and now it is gone. Where he tapped his lebensfreude is now the source of his schadenfreude. How do you really do this to a man you repeatedly call “honey”? Where did she keep her heart? Where did she keep the good days she had with Sterling? Does she remember all the gifts she received from Sterling? It would have been better for her to leave and let time deal with Sterling. In a hypocritical lachrymosity, she will tell the world that she feels bad for Sterling's demise. V. Stiviano, in the words of Donald Trump is “a girlfriend from hell.” Notwithstanding, this saga is not just about Sterling and Stiviano, it is about the society in which we live. 

In the tape, Sterling is overheard arguing that the friends who used to call him (Sterling) told him what they saw. Here is where the problem actually lies in this excerpt, “Admire him, bring him here, feed him, f**k him, but don't put (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.” While what he said is despicable and unacceptably repugnant, one cannot help but point to those whose schadenfreude prompted them to call Sterling and tell him, “Hey Sterling, what is this we are seeing. Are you now associating with black people? We see black people plastered all over your girl’s Instagram.” It tells you racism is a culture; it is ingrained in the American culture and children were raised up in that culture. Sterling himself confirms it, “When he says that, racism “…is a culture… It’s been that way historically.” It is neither Bundy nor Sterling who are the only racists in America; those who benefit from the windfalls of racism are racist. Those who see racism and acquiesce are racist, and those who actually perpetrate it are much more racist. That culture is very deep-rooted in the dendrites of the American brain.

 The systemic practice of racism in America goes to show that it is a culture that most of the older white males do not want to let go. They believe it has been historically like that, and they want it to continue that way. Until the Americans do not feel uneasy to talk about racism, racism as exhibited by Sterling will continue for a long time.

Nevertheless, I still think that the punishment of banning him for life outweighs his peccadillo. A man should not be punished to that extent for his opinions, no matter how offensive they are. Many feel the same way, act the same way, but they say nothing. They are more dangerous than Mr. Sterling because they catch people by surprise. Many who know and knew Mr. Sterling, knew what he thinks and how he thought that they knew that they had to avoid him if they wanted their peace. Let each and everyone strives to treat every human being right, and the world will be a better place.If the Dark Skinned players in LA Clippers feel that what Mr. Sterling really said was that repugnant, they should quit playing for him, else it is just hullabaloo. Surprisingly, almost everyone wants Sterling's heart, everyone wants him banished, and everyone feels so sanctimonious that they have left no room for forgiveness. Sterling is abandoned in a corner like a rotten apple; not even his friends who cheered him to stay away from black people are coming out for his public defense. What a world we live in! Alone we came into the world, alone we face the future, and alone we will depart from the world.

Until then, I wish Mr. Sterling well.

St Arrey of Ntenako.


“Bonyfish beware because the same net that caught the jawless fish, caught the cartilaginous fish” (Hamilton Ayuk). Beware earthly paradise seekers because there is a serpent in every paradise"(Hamilton Ayuk). "It is not how well you know a person; it is how well you treat them that they will live longer and happier with you." Idle people write, idler people read, and idlest people read and whine that idle people are taking their time (Hamilton Ayuk).

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