Donald Sterling, from a Jewish Fan’s Point of View

Donald and his girlfriend, via Business Insider

From the beginnings of the Civil Rights era in the 1950s onward, the Jewish movement has always been in the forefront of racial equality. Jews and African-Americans have a long history of shared social justice. To this Jewish sports fan, Donald Sterling’s racist comments are particularly loathsome.

Donald Sterling, a Jew, owns an NBA team, the LA Clippers. Sterling is a racist worth about two billion dollars. For his latest racist tirade, he was fined, by Jewish NBA commissioner Adam Silver, the maximum allowable – $2.5 million. That represents about 1/800th of his net worth. If you make $60,000 a year, that’s seventy-five bucks. Beer money.

Silver has banned Donald Sterling from the NBA. Banned means he can’t hang out with his Black players any more. Banned means he can’t go to the games. He still owns the team, valued by at $575 million. In 1981, he bought the team for $12 million.

Nice growth.

The NBA is hearing calls – “Force Sterling to sell the Clippers.”

This is where the slope becomes as slick and icy as the Olympic downhill course in Sochi.

Consider Mark Cuban, the Jewish owner of the Dallas Mavericks, as he spoke about the NBA, Sterling, and bigotry.

He’s obviously racist, he’s obviously bigoted. It’s abhorrent. But in this country, people are allowed to be morons. They’re allowed to be stupid. They’re allowed to think idiotic thoughts.

Within an organization like the NBA, we try to do what’s in the best interest of the league and that’s why we have a commissioner and a constitution and I think Adam [Silver] will be smart and deal with Donald with the full extent available.

But, again, if you’re saying a blanket, ‘Let’s kick him out?’ I don’t want to go that far because it’s not about Donald, it’s not about his position, it’s about his mess — and what are we going to make a decision on?

It’s a very slippery slope if the league starts forcing owners to sell based on comments made in private.

In no uncertain terms am I supporting what Donald Sterling said, or his position. He’s obviously racist, he’s obviously bigoted. And in this day and age when you’re in the public eye you’ve got to be damn careful — if that’s your position and that’s unfortunately where you’re at — you better be damn careful what you say, even in the privacy of your own home.

But regardless of your background, regardless of the history they have, if we’re taking something somebody said in their home and we’re trying to turn it into something that leads to you being forced to divest property in any way, shape or form, that’s not the United States of America. I don’t want to be part of that. 1

Can the NBA force a man to divest his lawful property because he holds an unpopular stance? I’m no constitutional scholar, but my gut says ‘no.’ My mind says I side with Mark Cuban.

My wallet says there are plenty of other avenues.

Stop buying tickets. Stop buying Clippers merchandise.

Let the advertisers who stripped their sponsorships from the Clippers know they have your support. Let the advertisers who are still allied with Sterling that they have lost your business.

Let the NBA know that you believe in the free market and you’d gladly support another Los Angeles team at the expense of the Clippers.

The USA has a free market economy. Use it.

The NBA was once a Jewish upstart sports league. It is now populated, in the main, by very talented, wealthy Black men.

Some eighty years ago, New York Daily News sports editor Paul Gallico wrote that basketball “appeals to the Hebrew with his Oriental background [because] the game places a premium on an alert, scheming mind and flashy trickiness, artful dodging and general smart-aleckness.”

Donald Sterling, your views on race are as appalling to me as Gallico’s comments about Jews would have been to you in the 1930s. I believe it is time for you to sell the Clippers. But that’s up to you.

Do the right thing.

And the rest of us; where do you stand?


  1. LA Time Sports


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About David Stanley

Teacher & science guy, writer, musician, coach, skier and bike racer, I am interested… in everything; your story, food & spirits and music and everything in the natural world, spirit & sport. My son is 22 and still needs his Dad. I am 56 and so do I.
I blog on life and death, cancer and sports, kids and education at

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  1. The fact that Sterling is Jewish made the comments even more disturbing to me. Shame on him. It would be the right thing for him to disassociate with the league. I doubt he is the kind of guy who does the right thing simply because others want him to.

This is what I think...