Now that it has been over three days since the entire country was rocked by the latest example of old, white racism, and we’ve had a little time to digest and start to heal, it’s time to think about where we stand. I, for one, have been totally fascinated by the drama. It has kept my attention in a way that most things cannot. (I’m sure I’ll be over it in a couple days, but for now I am enthralled).
So before the national ADHD has set back in and we are no longer interested in having productive conversations about race, privacy, and how we ought to treat each other, let’s further turn this trainwreck into a game and investigate the winners and losers of the whole situation, shall we?
- The Los Angeles Clippers. Obviously. For a team whose entire history is built on being a laughingstock, it must be nice having the nation behind you. As thousands of people chanted “We are one” in the Staples Center there was a feeling that hasn’t been associated with the Clippers in practically forever — pride. Who knew all it would take would be a historic meltdown and a swift punishment that probably still came 10 years later than it should have?
- Cliff Paul. Nobody likes being associated with the kind of foolishness perpetrated by Donald Sterling. So obviously sponsors began pulling away from the Clippers left and right. Still, State Farm stuck by Chris Paul and let his twin brother continue to have life. And thank goodness. Where would we be without more of those marginally entertaining commercials?
- Regular level racists. Look, this is America. As much as we might pretend to be a giant melting pot, we are often more like a TV dinner. As long as the peas and carrots don’t spill over into that Salisbury steak, everyone can just get along. Don’t you even think about touching my apple crumble, peas! For all of the people who are fine with living in your same colored bubble, you were just given a warning of what can happen if you push it too far. Keep your blatant shit in check. Turn off the tape recorder. And for the sake of Christmas, don’t poop on Magic Johnson; he should always at least be your token acceptable brother.
- Donald Sterling. Either DS will get to keep his team and collect money from his exile while doing absolutely nothing , or he will sell them and make 20-50x what he paid for it. In between that, he may hold the entire process up in court for years. For a slime-faced, no good litigator with nothing but time and money on his hands now, that doesn’t sound like a bad way to spend his platinum years. It’s too bad that we don’t get to excommunicate him to a tenement in South Side Chicago, but as I said before, we can take comfort in the fact that he’ll be dead soon and no amount of money will buy DS any more happiness, peace, or perspective.
- The Los Angeles Lakers. With Kobe Bryant a feeble shell of his former glory, a keystone cop attempting to coach the team, and fresh off one of the worst campaigns in history, the Lakers have a lot of issues on their hands. Not to mention, they have been locked in a fierce battle with the Clippers for the heart of the city over the last couple years. With the cloud of Donald Sterling lifted and an entire league and fan base eager to show that they are a) not racist and b) ready for real progress, the wave of Clipper sympathy is at its crest. Just imagine what would happen if Magic Johnson actually bought the team — a man with a statue in front of the building (in a Laker uniform no less) as the savior of the Clippers and Los Angeles (again). The tide is turning and I think this will ultimately speed up that process.
- The Washington Redskins. It’s certainly not my original idea but I am firmly on the bandwagon that there’s no place for a mascot like this in 2014. With the nation still in outrage mode, hopefully now NFL commish Roger Goodell can put the proper pressure on the team and its ownership to stop being so blatantly racist too. I get it, we killed basically all the Native Americans so the protests aren’t as large; but should our nation’s capital really boast a racial slur about its indigenous people?
- Vinny Del Negro. I’m sure VDN is a good guy, but does anyone really think that he could’ve handled this situation with the grace and leadership of Doc Rivers? Whatever sympathy (none from me) that he had for the way he was let go after proving himself to be a good coach has basically all been evaporated.
- Donald Trump. Going on Fox News full of piss and vinegar, defending Donald Sterling, and just being Donald Trump is an impressive strikeout. In fact, if I were a rich old white dude named Donald, I would probably just keep my mouth shut for the time being altogether.
- Leon Jenkins. I’ve gone back and forth for days thinking about what I wanted to say about the director of the LA NAACP chapter that is trying to honor DS for the second time. But honestly, I can’t get past the 1984 hairdo and mustache. It’s like the man is a walking stereotype. You can imagine how hard it is for a black man like me to fathom how an organization that allegedly supports my advancement is so easily and shamelessly bought off. The time is now, Leon. Get your life together. Go to the barber and then go to church and then stop taking blood money you loser.
Only time will tell the ultimate winners and losers. How will we grow from this incident? How can we demand that something like this doesn’t happen again? Is that even a reasonable demand? I’d love to hear your perspective on the whole debacle.