Angelo Cataldi: Lifetime banishment long overdue for Donald Sterling

Donald Sterling
Donald Sterling has a history of racist comments.
Credit: Reuters

The NBA banned for life Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling yesterday, one of the boldest moves in the history of professional sports. There is no question that the decision by new commissioner Adam Silver was the correct move — the only move. But save your applause, please.

Sterling didn’t become a racist when tapes surfaced a few days ago of him demanding that his girlfriend not bring African-Americans to Clippers games. By every reasonable measure, Sterling has been a racist from the time he purchased the Clippers 33 years ago. Why did it take so long for a major American sport to rid itself of such a contemptible man? That’s the question fans should be asking today.

The case against Donald Sterling has been building from 1983 – two years after he purchased the Clippers – when he met with Rollie Massimino at the height of the Villanova coach’s success and asked him: “What makes you think you can coach these n——?” Massimino has made no secret of his disgust at that remark, nor of his abrupt departure from that job interview.

Even more outrageous was the $2.7-million settlement Sterling made in 2009 on a housing-discrimination charge stemming from allegations that he refused to rent to African-Americans at his Los Angeles housing complexes – the largest such payment in American history. According to the public record of that hearing, Sterling claimed that the blacks in his buildings “smell; they’re not clean.”

That same year, NBA legend Elgin Baylor filed a wrongful termination and discrimination suit against Sterling for the “Southern plantation-type structure” the owner had created in the team’s front office. Baylor ultimately lost a jury verdict on his lawsuit, but his litany of racial allegations – also documented publicly – was impossible to ignore.

Somehow, however, that is exactly what the NBA did. As case after case, incident after incident, piled up against Sterling, everybody who could have done something did nothing. For example, David Stern, who was commissioner for most of Sterling’s tenure, chose to run a league built on the skills of blacks while protecting an owner whose biases were blatantly apparent. Why?

It’s painfully simple, really. Sterling’s offensive feelings didn’t actually hurt business until the public heard his voice spouting his racial hatred on tape last week. Once there was no way to rationalize his irrational behavior, the NBA finally acted with a vengeance. When a dozen advertisers pulled their support from Clippers games last weekend, Sterling’s fate was finally sealed.

Adam Silver deserves none of the blame for the past transgressions – he has been commissioner for only the last three months – and most of the credit for finally taking an action that was long overdue, against a man who represents the very worst in sports. Silver is the only real winner here.

The list of losers, on the other hand, is a long one. Sterling has lost his team. The NBA has lost it reputation for racial equality. And the fans – if they have learned anything from this – have lost faith in the people entrusted with running our sports with fairness and honor.

 



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

Brooklyn man charged in roommate's stabbing death

A Brooklyn man accused of violently stabbing his roommate to death on Monday is in police custody and faces murder charges.

International

Dinosaurs could have survived asteroid strike

It turns out there is a good and a bad time for the planet to be hit by a meteor, and dinosaurs were just unlucky.…

National

OkCupid admits to Facebook-style experimenting on customers

By Sarah McBrideSAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - OkCupid, a top U.S. matchmaking website, intentionally mismatched users to test its technology, the IAC/InterActive Corp service said on…

Local

MTA fares still increasing 4 percent in newly…

The agency said the 4 percent increases, previously announced in December, will remain steady even as the MTA deals with increasing labor costs.

Movies

Interview: Brendan Gleeson on the way 'Calvary' depicts…

Brendan Gleeson talks about how his new film "Calvary" began over drinks and how his character here is the opposite of the lead in "The Guard."

Movies

'Get on Up' producer Mick Jagger on the…

Mick Jagger, a producer on the James Brown biopic "Get on Up," talks about the time had to tell the singer some bad news and his favorite JB record.

Television

'Glee' star Lea Michele to appear on 'Sons…

"Glee" star Lea Michele has been confirmed as a guest star in the final season of "Sons of Anarchy."

Television

TV watch list, Monday, July 28: 'The Bachelorette'…

See Andi Dorfman make her big choice on tonight's 'Bachelorette' finale.

MLB

Angelo Cataldi: Ryan Howard deserves better from Phillies

Just last week, Ryan Howard endured the embarrassment of a benching that was inevitable, and yet still shocking.

NFL

Larry Donnell has inside track in Giants tight…

Little-known Larry Donnell of Grambling State currently has the inside track, as the second-year player has received the bulk of the first-team reps.

NFL

Computer to Jets: Start Michael Vick over Geno…

Jets general manager John Idzik says the choice of who starts between second-year quarterback Geno Smith and veteran Michael Vick will be a “Jets decision.”

MLB

Yankees looking to trade for Josh Willingham: Report

CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman reported Sunday the Yankees are interested in Twins outfielder Josh Willingham.

Travel

Glasgow: Hey, hey, the gangs aren't here

This European city has done a good job getting rid of its more violent residents and revitalizing with artists.

Education

Babson College tops list of best colleges for…

Money magazine has just released its inaugural list of "The Best Colleges for Your Money" -- and the answers have surprised many. Babson College, which…

Education

NYC teens learn how to develop apps during…

Through a program sponsored by CampInteractive, the high schoolers designed their own community-focused apps.

Tech

The Ministry of Silly Walks app is both…

Monty Python have dug into their back catalogue for cash-ins once more, but with the Ministry of Silly Walks app, they've made something that's fun too.