The Donald Sterling story is perfect for our times, since it involves sex, big money, racism, sports, celebrity, social media, gossip, a wealthy villain cut down to size, and even the opinion of the President of the United States.
Super sports agent Leigh Steinberg said on KABC that “every sentient being in the United States” has an opinion on the matter, but what’s not being said about Sterling is even more important.
Let’s stipulate that he is a dinosaur with repugnant views on race, shielded from most forms of retribution by his awesome wealth.
But beyond that, there’s more to Sterling than what’s being discussed.
First, organizations that serve underprivileged communities in Southern California have been cashing Sterling’s checks for years.
Good PR? Sure. But since it isn’t new news that Sterling’s a creep, why is it only now that the morality police have struck and struck hard?
Sterling was to receive a Lifetime Achievement Award from a major race-related organization this month, bought and paid for, no doubt, with all those charitable donations.
So either that group failed to do its due diligence about the nature of the man they were poised to honor, or more likely, for all these years they just held their noses and took the money.
The biggest complaint about our local Donald is that he was never willing to invest in his team. Well, he has lately, and the team is fun to watch.
But if he was such a scoundrel, then how could people like Chris Paul and Doc Rivers, who had other options, come to work for him every day?
As a society, we love hating. And now we have a perfect, guilt-free target, a billionaire buffoon who is guilty of dating younger women and saying very stupid things.
But something else people are forgetting about Sterling is his legendary litigiousness. He files suit about as often as the rest of us check our email.
His approach to real estate can be summed up in a single phrase: never sell anything. Whatever he buys, he keeps forever. It’s not for nothing that he’s the NBA’s owner of longest standing.
Combine those last couple of facts and I would be truly shocked if Sterling took this insult lying down. Why not tie up the NBA in litigation for years?
The NBA threw him under the bus, and rightly so. But why would anyone expect Sterling not to return the favor?
All the focus today is on the various individuals interested in buying the team. Magic. Oprah. Larry Ellison. The folks who bought the Dodgers.
But you can’t have a buyer unless you don’t have a seller.
And in Donald Sterling, you don’t have a seller. Now or ever.
So now that Sterling has been taken down almost Khaddafi-like, and his public humiliation is complete, it’s time for this particular circus to leave town.
He’s already lost his reputation, whatever that might have been.
He’s never going to sell his team, at least not without a fight.
But who cares? The games will go on, coaches and players will cash their mondo paychecks, and the sponsors will go back to sponsoring.
It’s not that we’re a forgiving society. It’s that we’re a society with a short attention span.
The question at TMZ this morning surely isn’t “What else can we say about Donald Sterling?”
No. You can stick a fork in Sterling. The real question at TMZ, and throughout the rest of our celebrity loving/reviling culture is simply this: