This isn’t his first sex scandal. In 2004 he sued a young woman named Alexandra Castro, acknowledging in a sworn deposition that he paid her for sex, which he described in graphic detail as to type of activity, location (“all over my building, in my bathroom, upstairs, in the corner, in the elevator”) and quality (“better than words could express.”)
Nor is this the first time Sterling has been accused of racism. This is like all the misadventures of his life rolled into one, complete with acknowledgment by Sterling, according to the audiotape broadcast by TMZ–which will belong to Donald if this turns out to be a hoax.
The conclusion is inescapable: It’s as if Sterling rehearsed for this day all his life.
It should be noted that the facts in this story are in dispute. If this isn’t Sterling’s first sexual scandal or his first accusation of being racist, a million allegations don’t add up to a single truth.
In the meantime, the perception is damning. The sentiments expressed have been damned by the NBA (“disturbing and offensive”), players like LeBron James (“There’s no room for Donald Sterling in our league”) and by Sterling’s own players, who had to be talked out of boycotting Sunday’s playoff game by Coach Doc Rivers… oh, and by the President of the United States (“When ignorant folks wants to advertise their ignorance, you don’t really have to do anything. You just let them talk.”)
Rivers, asked before Sunday’s game about returning next season, said, “Don’t know yet.” His players settled for a silent protest, taking off their warmup tops with the “Clippers” logo and dropping them at mid-court… before moping through a 118-97 loss to the Warriors that tied their series, 2-2.
Game 5 is in Los Angeles Tuesday, by which time the NBA, protective of its progressive tradition in race relations, can be expected to act. If baseball could ban Marge Schott from the day-to-day operation of the Cincinnati Reds for expressing admiration for Adolph Hitler, Sterling, who skipped Sunday’s game, may not attend another soon.
How inevitable was this day? Sterling never hid anyone. Paul Silas, the coach when Donald bought the team in San Diego, walked into his office to find a young woman named Patricia Simmons sitting at his desk. Simmons was seen with Sterling after the team moved to Los Angeles; of all Sterling’s friends, she was Clipper staffers’ favorite, “a great lady,” said one of them.
The woman known as V. Stiviano sat across the court from Sterling and his wife, Shelly, in a seat picked out personally by Donald and top Clipper brass. Team staffers say three-way arguments before games between Sterling, Shelly and Stiviano, were common.
In most lives, a wife suing to to recover a $1.8 million duplex, a Ferrari, a Range Rover and two Bentleys, which her husband had given to another woman, would trigger Tabloid Hell. When Shelly filed suit in Los Angeles Superior Court on March 7, the local newspapers noted it in short items on inside pages. There was no scandal, or even reaction.
I know a lot about press coverage of Sterling, having been part of it. As an NBA writer, I lampooned him as a determinedly bumbling owner. Business writers noted the complaints against him as a landlord, the $2.7 million settlement of a federal bias housing suit, et al. Local newspapers wrote tough overviews, as did many national publications.
No one was outraged. If you hadn’t heard about the 2004 sex scandal, the court documents have been on SmokingGun.com since. With Sterling making lavish donations, the Los Angeles chapter of the NAACP was going to present him with a lifetime achievement award at its May 15 banquet although that’s off now, too.
Ride the wind, reap the whirlwind. Court fights can be as emotional as war, which, as Bertrand Russell noted, ““does not determine who is right—only who is left.”
Out of nowhere–or coming from Stiviano, the Clippers charged–an audiotape reached TMZ with someone who sounds like Sterling complaining that she posted a picture of herself and Magic Johnson on Instagram, noting: “It bothers me a lot that you want to broadcast that you’re associating with black people. Do you have to?”
The voice goes on to add: “You can sleep with them, You can bring them in, you can do whatever you want. The little I ask you is not to promote it on that … and not to bring them to my games.”… Don’t put him [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.”
The shaken Clippers issued a non-denial denial. A statement from team Pres. Andy Roeser said that Shelly sued “on behalf of the Sterling family,” but notes “We don’t know if the tape is legitimate”… leaving open the possibility that it is.
Sterling, said Roeser “is emphatic that what is reflected on that recording is not consistent with, nor does it reflect his views, beliefs or feelings. It is the antithesis of who he is, what he believes and how he has lived his life. He feels terrible that such sentiments are being attributed to him and apologizes to anyone who might have been hurt by them.”
Nowhere in the statement did Sterling claim that he didn’t say those things, emphatically or otherwise.
In another non-denial denial, Shelly Sterling, who attended Sunday’s game, told ESPN’s Lisa Salters, “I am not a racist. I do not condone the things you heard on that tape.”
Aside from his friendships, Sterling, a courtly man with a constant-sorrow demeanor, took great pleasure in the recognition he got as Clipper owner, even when the team was a plaything for “The Tonight Show” hosts. Be careful what you wish for, indeed.
Source: forbes.com by MarHeisler