A racist NBA team owner hits the jackpot

BmZJSRQIYAADSwCYou know about Donald Sterling, right? The Los Angeles Clippers owner who chastised his mistress … (Can we call her a mistress? I mean, she wasn’t his wife. He’s ancient and she’s definitely old enough to be his great granddaughter. And every major media outlet describes her as “his girlfriend.”) … sorry, I got distracted. Who chastised his mistress … who’s half black and half hispanic … for taking pictures with black men and bringing black people to basketball games.

Because if you don’t want to be seen with black people, the first place you want to be at is a basketball game.

The tape, of course, is a tour de force on how to claim you’re not racist as you say the most racist things you can think of. Then when your mistress (girlfriend?) says you’re being racist, call her a racist.

Wow!

So the NBA today did this:

Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling was banned for life from the NBA, Commissioner Adam Silver announced Tuesday, because of an audio recording in which he made racially charged comments to his girlfriend.

Silver said he would urge the Board of Governors to force the sale of the team and fined Sterling $2.5 million, the maximum Silver can levy under the NBA constitution and bylaws. The money, the league announced, will be donated to anti-discrimination and tolerance organizations that will be jointly selected by the NBA and the Players Association.

Now let’s consider the real impact of this ruling.

Donald Sterling has to sell his team. He bought the team in 1981 for $12.5 million. The team is currently in the NBA playoffs.

Now, a bad NBA team was sold just a few days ago (via ESPN.com).

Longtime Milwaukee Bucks owner Herb Kohl announced Wednesday that he has reached an agreement to sell the team to hedge-fund billionaires Wesley Edens and Marc Lasry for about $550 million. The deal is subject to approval by the NBA and its board of governors.

In January, Forbes valued the Bucks at $405 million, last among the league’s 30 franchises.

Kohl, a longtime U.S. senator who bought the team for $18 million in 1985, made keeping it in Milwaukee a condition of the sale. It’s also believed Kohl, while relinquishing majority control, will retain a significant percentage of the team.

Los Angeles isn’t Milwaukee. It’s a major media market. And the Bucks aren’t in the playoffs. The Clippers are.

So current estimates are that the Clippers will sell for more than $1 billion. And that money goes to …

Donald Sterling.

He owns the team. He gets the paycheck.

I’m sure he’s in agony right now because the NBA won’t let him be involved in a sport that features a race of people he doesn’t want to associate with.

I think the Northwestern and Princeton professors in the news recently will agree that there is merit to living in an oligarchy. If you’re an oligarch.

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Baby’s first curse

A couple of days ago, Nate Silver’s new Five Thirty Eight site posted a piece called Baby’s First Profanity, in reference to an academic study that looked at the first time parents remember their children using a word that parents shouldn’t use in front of children.

Here’s a chart that tracks swear words from ages 1-12:

chalabi-curse-words

According to the post:

A study published last year in the American Journal of Psychology collected “data about the emergence of adult like swearing in children.” The authors, Timothy Jay and Kristin Jay, recorded observations of children ages 1 through 12 and adults using taboo utterances, which “were described as offensive words and phrases (e.g. fuck), insults or name calling (e.g. douchebag), and clinical terms (e.g. penis), as well as abusive expressions (e.g. I hate you).”

The study found that, overall, boys had a slightly larger repertoire of bad words than girls (95 compared to 80). But that repertoire varied by age. By age 3 or 4, girls were using 40 taboo words while boys were using 34; but among 7- and 8-year-olds, boys were using 45, and the number of bad words girls were using slipped down to 25.

Naturally, it made me think back to when I heard my son use his first word that must be censored. He was so young, there’s no way he remembers this happened.

It happened in the car. He was tiny. Probably wasn’t yet even 2 years old, and didn’t have the most expansive vocabulary on the planet. But he always paid attention to what was going on around him. And one thing I didn’t realize was he was paying attention to me.

Let’s just say, I’m not the calmest driver in the world. I tend to be colorful about drivers who do stupid things, and though I’m considered an extremely low key person, I go into “HULK SMASH!” mode when I’m behind the wheel.

Now, I didn’t realize how bad I was at the time, until the boy made his profound remark.

I was on a road in New Jersey, not far from our home at the time. The kid was in the back seat, in his car seat. I’m driving along, and then all of a sudden, some clown speeds up from behind me, moves to pass and cuts in front of me with zero room to spare. I hit the brakes, no accident happens, but it’s an abrupt move.

I quickly look in the rear view mirror to make sure the kid is OK, and then from the back seat, a little voice yells, “FUCK!!!”

Now, here’s the thing. My first thought wasn’t, “where did he learn that?” The answer was obvious.

No, my first thought was, “Wow. That was exactly the right thing to say at exactly the right time.”

Then I knew I had to clean up my act when the kid was in the car.

And I did.

And I think the next time I heard him swear was when he was in high school, many years later.

Return to D.C.

Travel from New York to Washington D.C. is a pain to figure out. Flying is too expensive and not very efficient because it puts you miles away from Midtown. The bus is cheap, and plants you in Midtown, but it offers cramped seats and the constant possibility that you’re trapped for hours in gridlock on the New Jersey Turnpike.

That leaves the train, which is like paying to fly, but the accumulated time it takes to get from the middle of D.C. to Midtown Manhattan is slightly less.

So I’m blogging from the train. On the Acela Express, which is faster than the regular train, but still takes 2.5 hours.

I kill time by turning on my mobile device, opening Google Maps in a satellite view or Google Earth and watching a representation of myself flying overhead along the tracks looking down.

This Acela Express, by the way is really flying. But I also like hovering over the train station when we stop to pickup and let off passengers. A virtual representation of being Superman.

(But my X-ray vision doesn’t work when we go underground in New York, Philadelphia or Baltimore. Gotta work on that.)

And now, the right wing’s favorite rancher, Cliven Bundy!

So, yeah, I’ve been trying to ignore this “rancher agin’ the gubment” TV orgy. But honestly, when you see a story about flag wavin’, tax hatin’, Stetson wearin’ defenders of the Amurkin’ way bearin’ arms to protect FREEDOM!!! … Do you REALLY expect their inevitable discourse on race to be all …

And as for the conservative politicians and pundits who all were featured entertainers in the Cliven Bundy Travelin’ Salvation Show only a few short days ago … well let’s just say I never saw roaches scatter as fast when the lights came on.

For some reason, this whole circus has been like watching Maximus Decimus Meridius in the Colosseum: