Opinion: Columnists

Donald Sterling, the media and the race card

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Opinion,Sports,NBA,Larry Elder,Columnists,Race and Diversity,Basketball,Racial Discrimination

A secretly taped conversation between long-time L.A. Clippers owner Donald Sterling and his then-girlfriend was released. The NBA has now banned Sterling from the league. The commissioner recommends that Sterling sell his team.

Goodness, what happened?

The old guy had a quarrel with his girlfriend, which she recorded. The most eye-raising parts have to do with Sterling, 80, telling his less-than-half-his-age girlfriend that he doesn't want her attending games with black people, specifically with Magic Johnson. She can "f---" anybody, he said, just don't bring "them" to the games.

His reasons appear to be that his girlfriend, who describes herself as black and Mexican, would look — to others — more white if she sat next to white people. I guess. I really don't know. He probably doesn't.

Despite his obvious anger, Sterling never says the "n" word, let alone calls her a "c" word. He expresses admiration for Johnson. He says to the girlfriend, almost in disbelief, "You think I'm a racist!" The now-ex-girlfriend is currently being sued by the Sterling family for allegedly embezzling almost $2 million.

The tape released contains about 15 minutes, although reportedly there are many more hours. He sounds jealous and insecure — an old guy asking his girl not to make him into a bigger, behind-the-back joke than he already is. She sounds shallow and manipulative, clearly trying to get him to say some really bad stuff to retain what she has — or to cash in for more.

For this Jerry Springer stuff, Sterling is deemed unfit to own a team?!

Move over Cliven Bundy, who moved over George Zimmerman. Meet America's Next New Great White Defendant (the Tom Wolfe term from Bonfire of the Vanities). He can be savaged in the media. No special interest group is going to come forth and defend a white male. This time it's Donald Sterling.

This "racist" hired an expensive, championship-winning black coach, who happens to be married to a white woman. He pays his black starting point guard $18 million annually. His payroll is the sixth most expensive out of 30 teams. Oh, and the "racist's" girlfriend is a black Latina.

If Sterling is unfit to own a team now that he's expressed racial animosity, what about superfan Spike Lee's racial animosity? Should Lee be banned from games? A courtside fixture at Knicks games, Lee once said he dislikes interracial couples: "I give interracial couples a look. Daggers. They get uncomfortable when they see me on the street." Should the NBA investigate the suitability of an expressed hater of interracial couples to have such a prominent perch at the Garden?

What about Bill Maher? He is a part-owner of the Mets — that is when not calling Sarah Palin the "c" word or Michelle Bachman "a dumb t--t," or when not joking about Palin's son Trig, who has Down syndrome. Should MLB investigate his stand-up for foul language?

Did Johnson call for a Clippers boycott when, for years, its owner mistreated Elgin Baylor, stiffed players and twice settled housing discrimination lawsuits? Or when, in 2000, Sports Illustrated named the Clippers the "worst" franchise in North American history?

About racism, consider this. A 2013 Rasmussen poll found that as between blacks, whites and Hispanics, blacks are the most racist — even according to blacks. Should we screen players and fans for racism before they enter the stadium?

Meanwhile, non-racist media ignore 234 kidnapped Nigerian schoolgirls. Once again, we aren't talking about the worst economic "recovery" in 80 years or the broken promises of Obamacare. Scandals like IRS, Benghazi or Fast & Furious have long left the front pages.

Black unemployment went up last month from 12 percent to 12.4 percent. We have sky-high teen unemployment, especially among blacks. National debt is up substantially. Entitlement programs remain on an unsustainable path. Fifty years of welfare state policies have de-stabilized families and created fatherless homes -- all of which exacerbate problems of crime, school dropout rates, under-education and government dependency.

Even President Obama said, "Children who grow up without a father are five times more likely to live in poverty, nine times more likely to drop out of schools and 20 times more likely to end up in prison."

Can black and white victicrats take a day off from being "offended"? Dolts — whether Bundy or Sterling — who are incapable of harm, say stupid things. The real issues — under-education, lack of jobs and irresponsible breeding and parenting — have nothing to do with Sterling's jealousy and will not be resolved by his public flaying.

Wave a magic wand. Remove racism from the hearts of the Bundys, Sterlings and Zimmermans. The effect on these problems is what? But no, let's talk "income disparity" or "climate change" or that "racism remains alive and well in America."

Let's talk Sterling.

LARRY ELDER, a Washington Examiner columnist, is nationally syndicated by Creators Syndicate.
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