At this point we are all aware of what the owner of Los Angeles Clippers has said. We are all aware of the recorded conversation between him and his “girlfriend,” and if you’re someone who has the most basic of common sense, you were offended and/or appalled by his racist remarks. Could it be the comments he made about black men towards his “girlfriend” were out of his own insecurities? Or were they just racially fueled? For me, it doesn’t make a difference – he said it, and the message was clear.
What isn’t clear is the racist views of the Clippers owner. The argument between these two stemmed from the girlfriend taking pictures and associating herself with black men in public. The Clippers’ owner even told her she should be loving these people privately and not for the world to see. He didn’t want her bringing these people to his games and seemed to be a bit more aggravated with the fact that she had taken a picture with Magic Johnson. His “girlfriend” even had to remind him during the conversation that she was “Black and Mexican,” because it seemed to slip his mind.
It was a very weird conversation to say the least and she was definitely setting up the man who is worth somewhere in the area of $1.9 billion by recording it without his knowledge.
The matter at hand is that in the middle of the NBA Playoffs with the Clippers being a team with a legit chance to represent the Western Conference in the NBA Finals, news like this comes out leaving the basketball players and the fans not knowing what to do. Some thought the Clippers shouldn’t have played at all, but what would that have accomplished? Chris Paul, DeAndre Jordan and the rest of the Clippers team have played hard all year and have been trying to get to the top of the NBA mountain together. If they did not play – the racist would’ve won. Spirits would’ve been broken by ignorant words spoken by an ignorant man. I’d like to believe today’s athlete can appreciate the struggle set forth by legends like Jackie Robinson who endured far worse and rose above it all. I feel for the fans as well. Especially the loyal Clippers fans who have stood by this team for whats been for most, a lifetime of insignificance in the basketball world. This was their time. The Lakers were a joke, they have one of the most exciting stars in the league in Blake Griffin and one of the best point guards the NBA has seen in a decade in Chris Paul. This was their time to wear their team colors with pride and cheer loudly for the team that’s given them more grief than joy – but now how loud will those cheers be? Sure if you’re a fan, you can’t stop loving the team you love but there has to be some kind of apprehension in being a fan now knowing that the owner is a racist. I’ve been there as a fan. I’ve been a lifelong Penn State football fan and when the child molestation charges came up against a former Penn State football coach, the college football world that I knew, crumbled. I’m still a fan because of the players I’ve rooted for in the past and present, but I remember having tears in my eyes watching this broken program fight to re-establish pride in the football team itself and not things that were out of the players’ hands. I’m still a Penn State fan and that will never change and I doubt the fans of the Clippers will stray either.
What do you do though, when you’re cheering on a team who is owned by a racist? What if the Clippers win the NBA title? What kind of celebration would that be for the league and it’s players? Unfortunately for head coach Doc Rivers and his Clippers players it would be a travesty. Or would it be a triumph? Not for the Clippers owner, but for the players. The players themselves have already had a silent protest on the court by covering up the team name during warm ups. They don’t stand for the team name – but they stand as a team and as representatives for what’s good in the city of Los Angeles.
So how should this be handled by NBA Commissioner Adam Silver? Very carefully.
Most people have already shouted to strip him of team ownership or force him to sell the team, but hold on. Although we don’t like what the man said. Although because of his remarks and what he stands for we may not like the man himself – doesn’t he have the right to say and believe whatever he wants in this country? Isn’t that what makes this country what it is? Freedom of speech? What right do we have to remove a man from this league because of his beliefs? This is a fine line people tend to cross in society. Celebrities have to watch what is said in social media, music artist get criticized for obscene or violent lyrics, sports players have even been threatened to watch their own language during play. When does it stop? The media are the first to jump all over a story about what a man has said – and the hypocritical nature of the media is to exploit it (I’m very well aware this too is example of the hypocritical nature).
As stated before you can’t expect a fan to stop loving a team that they’ve loved or learned to love for most of their lives – so it’s impossible to ask fans to boycott Clippers games and merchandise. It starts with forces outside of the NBA to get the wheels in motion and that has already happened. State Farm, Red Bull, IKEA and other companies have pulled their sponsorships / advertising with the Clippers which will no doubt affect the bottom line. That’s how commissioner Silver and the other NBA owners can work the Clippers’ owner out of the league. Silver represents the owners and if the majority of owners all think the Clippers current ownership will affect the financial bottom line of the league then there is their case. The league can tell him, you can believe what you want, say what you want to say – but those very beliefs are affecting all of us in this league and you staying here is a detriment to the league’s progress.
Should it be that elaborate and difficult? No. In the end though, this is America and I will always say freedom of speech should be protected to it’s highest degree – I also believe that somehow someway, the Clippers owner needs to go. The quicker this is dealt with, the better, because the longer his name is said, the longer he is still an issue. Eliminate the issue, quickly, swiftly and effectively. Attack it as you would a cancerous tumor, remove this man’s name from the league and move on.
Back to the recorded conversation though, a gold digger and a racist. Match made in heaven actually. I hope they get over this rough patch in their relationship and work things out. . .