Sinking Clipper Ship
Sinking Clipper Ship
By Andrew Fish Fain
You knew with all that is going on surrounding Clippers owner Donald Sterling, that I had to weigh in. But then the question came, what can I add to this story that hasn’t already been said?
I mean, by now we all know what he allegedly said. We all know that the tape is yet to be authenticated and his ex-wife said to him just prior to the release of said tape that she would “get you, you son of a bitch”. We all know he was scheduled to get an award from the NAACP, but now that has been cancelled (I guess they don’t do due diligence before deciding to hand out awards). We all know he has been sued over and over again for being a slum-lord.
In spite of all that, I think that until we know it was his voice on the tape, we need to be very careful on how we proceed. We live in a country where people are presumed innocent until proven guilty, however everyone has already jumped on the guilty bandwagon.
Now, I am in no way defending what was allegedly said on that tape. In this day and age, there is absolutely no place for the visceral hate speech that he is accused of. Especially from someone in the position that Sterling has. But, if we jump to the conclusion that he is guilty before all the evidence is in, we all could be eating some serious humble pie before all is said and done.
Clippers head coach Doc Rivers has already said he recognized the voice on the tape to be that of Donald Sterling. Let’s assume for a minute that Rivers is correct, the next question that needs to be answered is, what can and should be done?
This is the kind of incident that will make or break Adam Silver’s legacy. It is interesting that an event of this magnitude would take place within months of Silver taking over for David Stern. But this will be able to tell the world what kind of commissioner he is.
Of course, a lot of the decision making is taken out of his hands. . That’s because back in 2005, then Commissioner David Stern and the 30 NBA Owners signed a constitution that allows for the league to force an owner to sell their team if they do something so egregious that it causes irreparable harm to the brand that is the NBA.
Even without that moral turpitude clause, think of it this way, how many free agents or players are going to want to sign with or play for the Clippers as long as Sterling owns the team? Head Coach Doc Rivers, who signed a 3-year $21 million contract prior to this season, has already said he would leave the $14 million on the table and not coach for Sterling next season or beyond.
If no players would sign there, or play for the team, then they would not be able to field a team and have to forfeit every game. That would be to the detriment of the league.
I think the answer here is much easier than people are making it out to be. IF, and it is a big if, IF Sterling is found to have really made those statements and the tape is not doctored at all, Sterling is gone and the league will have to find a new owner.
Sponsors like State Farm and Car Max have already pulled their sponsorship from the team, so it won’t be long before nobody wants anything to do with the Clippers.
This Clipper ship is sinking, and sinking fast and unless Donald Sterling gets a bail-out in the form of a doctored tape, he will more than go down with his ship, he will be forced to abandon it.