I debated whether I should comment about Donald Sterling. After listening to the purportedly racist tape twice, I resolved I can’t sit by silently while we are bamboozled by the unholy trinity of ESPN, Magic Johnson, and the NBA.
This is a seamy affair. The very married octogenarian Sterling had a very young, very beautiful mistress. Who knows the nature of their relationship? Maybe she was his arm candy, his status symbol, or maybe he was in love with her. At any rate, in the leaked tape of the lovers’ quarrel, he says he doesn’t care who she hangs out with, or whether she sleeps around. His grief was with her pressing the flesh with high-status men, like Dodgers outfielder Matt Kemp and Magic Johnson, who happen to be black, and posting the photos on Instagram. Sterling felt it gave the public the impression she was fooling around behind his back, and he asked her to stop.
Most of the recorded conversation revolves around a misunderstanding of image and reality. The mistress, V. Stiviano, represented her pure intentions, while Sterling represented what they looked like.
She defended the dignity of minorities and protested racial hatred. Sterling didn’t argue. He repeatedly affirmed the equality of minorities. “I love the black people,” he said. “I’ve known him [Magic Johnson], and he should be admired,” he said.
She pointed out Sterling’s associations with high-status minorities, such as his black basketball coach and his black basketball players (whom he pays a lot of money). Double standard? No. Simply different standards for two completely different individuals. “I’m not you, and you’re not me,” he said. “Maybe you don’t know what people think of you.”
What do people think when she posts photos of herself with high-status men? They think she’s a climber. They think she’s using him. They think she’s not Sterling’s girl. This left the adulterer feeling cuckolded, and the feeling was made worse when she accused him of racism for addressing it to her.
She’s either naïve or a great extortionist. “Why bring the black people to the games...” she misconstrued him, when skin pigment is not the issue. She could take a black or brown average Joe to a Clippers game, and it wouldn’t matter. Billionaires aren’t threatened by average Joes.
Since she kept conflating Sterling’s objections with abject racism, he got caught trying to communicate so she would understand. Engaged in a private conversation with his mistress, he wasn’t guarded in the way you would guard your language while being interviewed by the New York Times. Steve Sailer summarizes:
Her lawyer coaches her to make “blacks” synonymous in their conversations with the concept of the men her boyfriend objects to her being seen with outside of his company. So, she then gets him in the illegally recorded conversation to talk about how society sees “blacks.”
V.’s density is even more suspicious considering she recorded the conversation in order to extort money from Sterling. Out of nowhere she defended Magic Johnson’s character and reputation from Sterling’s phantom hatred of minorities, throwing the proverbial alley-oop pass to Magic, which he dunked Sunday:
“I had a friendship with him. So for him to then make these comments, or alleged comments, about myself as well as other African-Americans and minorities, there’s no place in our society for it. There’s no place in our league, because we all get along. We all play with different races of people when you’re in sports. That’s what makes sports so beautiful.”
“He’s got to come down hard,” said Johnson, adding that Sterling should also come forward and say he no longer wants to own a team. “This is bad for everybody. This is bad for America.”
This is how Magic treats a friend: browbeating the NBA to throw him out for “alleged” comments. His reaction was scripted from the beginning, regardless of what Sterling said, regardless of whether he said it. Like Todd Akin, the quote and the context are lost in the hype. “Racist comments” uttered over and over becomes its own reality, overshadowing the truth. In this nullifying parlance, a euphemistically racially tinged argument between a billionaire and his gold-digger mistress becomes a civil rights issue. NBA players, who are too busy preparing for playoff games to have any idea as to what’s really going on, wear black socks in “solidarity.”
Today, Adam Silver, who’s been NBA commissioner for all of 88 days, banned Sterling for life and will force him to sell the Los Angeles Clippers. And who better to sell the team to than the racially aggrieved Magic Johnson? He’s already part owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers. The Clippers are worth $575 million, up over 450 percent in the last 15 years under Sterling’s reign of terror, but being named Magic “Do-Right” Johnson should knock a fraction off the price tag.
But, before the NBA does that, they should vet the other NBA owners for sympathies for marriage traditionalism. As the Brendan Eich affair taught us earlier this month, that’s not allowed in polite society either. There may be a team out there that Magic is more interested in than the Clippers.