Weighing in on the Donald Sterling affair

Published On April 29, 2014 | By Alice Cook

Wonder how Donald Sterling is feeling about right now?  Banned from watching his team play, fined over 2 million dollars, and told he is going to have to sell his team.   NBA Commissioner Adam Silver came down hard on Sterling in the wake of the LA Clippers owner’s  ignorant and racist remarks.

The 2 million dollar fine isn’t going to make a dent in Sterling’s wallet- but it sound good to most of us commoners.   The big dagger is taking away his team.  Sterling will go down fighting on this one.  The guy never met a court room he didn’t like,  and he can hire the best attorney’s his money can buy.

In 1980 Sterling bought the Clippers. (the in San Diego) for 12.5 million.  The team is now worth 575 million.  Why wouldn’t he just take the money and run?

I heard the tape for the first time on Saturday night.  I had just returned from covering the Bruins Game 5 elimination win over  the Red Wings.  On the way home I listened to  radio reports about the story brewing in LA with Clippers owner Don Sterling.  One report said the Clippers were considering boycotting their next game with Golden State.

Whoa, this is really serious I thought.  What did the guy say?  So far I had only heard the words “racists remarks.”   Then I learned he said them in a taped phone conversation with  his girlfriend.  Or was she already his “ex” girlfriend by then?

When I  got home and opened my computer and saw that TMZ had the “exclusive.”   I knew it had to be juicy.  So I listened to the conversation, which came complete  with subtitles.   My first reaction was that it was some kind of hoax.

As I listened to the tape, I starred at the photo of Donald Sterling and V. Stiviano standing on what looked to be court side at a game.  OK, classic case of super rich dude with absolutely no sex appeal having an affair with an exotic looking beauty more than half his age.

Gross.  It’s just gross to begin with.

As the conversation went on, it went from fairly rational, to Sterling falling apart at the seams.  It reminded me of a really good prosecuting attorney just breaking down the witness until he falls into the abyss of his own words.

I know as a long time reporter it’s illegal to record any phone conversations without the permission of the person on the other end of the line.  What happened to that law?

Sterling is a racist buffoon, no question.  How did this guy ever have the smarts and savvy to become an owner of an NBA team?  Now I understand why the Clippers were a laughing stock for so long.   How did the other owners deal with this guy?  Was he so stupid they figured they would never have to worry about his team winning anything?

Better question.  Why would someone like Doc Rivers  ever agree to work for Don Sterling?  Doc is the smartest coach I have ever covered.  He also understands people and personalities.  Doc didn’t need the money- but I understood when he said he wanted a chance with a younger team full of potential.

Poor Doc, his house was burned down when he was a player in San Antonio, now this.

There was more  juicy information coming out on this today just hours before NBA Commissioner Adam Silver was about to address the national media in New York.

We have learned that Sterling’s wife Rochelle sued  Stiviano back in March, claiming that the girlfriend received more than $2.5 million dollars in lavish gifts from Sterling, which she wanted “returned.”  I don’t know how easily one returns a house worth $1.8 million dollars. Did she save the receipt?

Reality TV writers and producers couldn’t have made this up.  Sterling’s racist remarks are disgusting, hurtful and hateful.  He has to go.  Now.

The Clippers players don’t deserve this, neither does the NBA.  Neither does a person of color, or anyone who has been victimized by bias.

I don’t care what the legalities of the tape are, and what happens to Stiviano, or Rochelle Sterling.   As for Don Sterling, good luck to you.  Your so called girlfriend has already gotten the last laugh.  You should take the first flight to Bora Bora and remain there the rest of your life.  Enjoy paradise where you can’t hurt anyone- just remember you will be around people of color.

Your money doesn’t matter this time Mr. Sterling.  We’re about to find out how forgiving people can be. And you can’t be sorry enough.



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About The Author

is a veteran television sports reporter and Olympian. Her experience includes 25 years of sports reporting for WBZ-TV, the CBS and former NBC affiliate in Boston. Cook has worked for ESPN, Turner Sports, and WTBS. Cook is a feature writer for She's Game Sports and Boston.com. She is also President and Founder of She's Game Sports LLC.