Did the NBA in effect punish L.A. Clippers 80 year old owner Donald Sterling because he is fighting prostate cancer?
The NBA has voted to force L.A. Clippers owner Donald Sterling to
sell his team because of a secret recording
in which he told his black girl friend he didn't want her to be seen
in public, such as at Clippers games, with black men such as former
basketball star Magic Johnson. He said he didn't mind her
going to bed with such men. He just didn't want her to
be in public with them.
I don't know the specifics of the current status of Sterling's
prostate cancer, but it is possible his condition or treatment
caused his comments to his girl friend V. Stiviano. I
don't know if Sterling was undergoing chemotherapy at the time
of his comments or whether the condition known as "chemo
brain" might have affected his statement.
Prostate cancer can adversely affect a man's sexual abilities which
could be particularly frustrating for a man who associates with an
attractive young woman. NBA players have a reputation, at
least among some comics, of being very sexually active. This
reputation is due in part to former players such as Magic Johnson
bragging about their sexual activities. I suspect that the
reputation is exaggerated and based in part on racist beliefs about
black men, but Sterling could have been especially frustrated
seeing Stiviano with men whom he believed could easily do what he
might be unable to do because of his cancer.
We aren't always consciously aware of why we feel a certain way or
say certain things. The reasons may be locked in our
subconscious. People sometimes hire professionals like
tv's Dr. Phil to learn why they feel the way they
do. Sterling may not have been consciously
aware of why he said what he did to Stiviano and may have a
mental block that prevents him from understanding why some people
are upset by the statement.
Sterling's statement to Stiviano sounds more like frustration and
jealousy than racism. He said he didn't mind her being with
black men so long as he didn't see her with them. He was saying
he didn't want her reminding him that someone else might be
able to satisfy her in ways he would like to but cannot
because of his cancer. He was probably too embarrassed
to talk about his frustration to Stiviano directly. He
was asking her in an intimate conversation to not do something that
hurt him without explaining why that action hurt
The NBA's action against Sterling might be justifiable if he had
made a public statement. However, the NBA had no business
punishing Sterling for an intimate statement made to a close
personal friend that may have been misrepresented by sensation
seeking journalists who think everybody is as motivated by so-called
"racial" differences as they are. It is the media that
continues to push the myth that differences in skin color constitute
racial differences by referring to Americans of different
complexions as being of different races.
Stress can cause all of us to say things we don't really mean.
We may even say things that hurt those we would not think of
hurting in normal circumstances. Fighting cancer can be an
extremely stressful situation.
Many of us were raised to believe that you shouldn't kick a
man when he is down. America's media sharks seem to
believe that is the best time to attack because the victim is less
able to defend himself.
It would serve the NBA right if cancer survivors and those currently
fighting cancer would boycott the NBA for mistreating a cancer