A Defense of Sterling

I will start this post off by saying I have not listened to any audio of what the Clippers' owner said other than what was on PTI or shows of that ilk. Generally speaking, I could care less what jerks have to say, and the basketball community has known Sterling to be a jerk for a long time, so I have not really gone seeking information on this story.

The second thing I will say is that I don't like him. I don't sympathize with any of his racist positions or enjoy how he horribly ran his team for the past several decades.

All that being said, I tend to fall on the Mark Cuban side of things here. I'm not sure how private statements in this guy's house are going to end up losing a privately owned asset for him, however horrible they may be. That's all fine and there's really no reason for me to subject you all to my thinking. But after seeing LeBron (a harsh critic of Sterling's) say something (in my mind) equally bad on national tv I have to share my thoughts.

After the Celtics get eliminated, the playoffs hold less intrigue to me but I still enjoy watching good basketball. After the draft lottery, I watched a bit of the heat v pacers. I see a marginal foul called on a heat player (maybe DWade, not positive) and the camera pans over to LeBron. He looks up at the replay, looks back down and I read his lips clear as day saying "that's f****** gay".

Now, I am not a LeBron fan, admittedly I think him teaming up with other stars in Miami goes against the spirit of competition. Also, as I mentioned, I don't know exactly all of what Sterling said. So on the scale of insensitivity, I'm not sure how that comment compares to Sterling's. Still, this is the player who was reportedly working back channels to organize a possible work stoppage over Sterling's ownership, in a public setting (unlike Sterling) using a word that describes a minority perjuratively.

Have we heard of companies pulling sponsorship from LeBron? Are people refusing to play in games that he participates in? Is ESPN running "LeBron the Hypocrite" on their front page? No, no and no.

Do I think those things need to happen? No I do not. It just illustrates to me that certain kinds of perjoritives by certain people are less hated and railed against.

Why is a bigger deal made out of Sterling's comments?

1) People already didn't like Sterling. He's a well documented jerk and racist and the NBA community wanted him out long ago. People love LeBron. Sure, there may be a large group of fans for whom he is a villain, but the NBA community loves him. He has made a lot of money for the NBA and the people who cover it. "LeBron the villain" brings eyes to tv screens and clicks to ESPN's website.

2) Nobody is waiving LeBron's comments in our faces. Sterling's comments broke as a piece of news. It was very easy to miss what LeBron said. If you weren't paying attention at that moment, you probably didn't know he said it.

3) The LGBT community is still not as accepted in our society as other minority groups. There wouldn't be a strike about what LeBron said because nobody would be stepping up as a current NBA player to say they were gay and not play. Certainly not whole teams of people. What LeBron said is also less taboo as a perjoritive because of the small foothold the LGBT community has socially as a minority group. Many more people find it acceptable to call something gay in a derogatory fashion.

So my thinking has not changed since before LeBron's statement, I don't think Sterling should be forced to sell his team, although I don't really care too much if he is.. he'll be making millions. After LeBron's statement (and more importantly, the lack of reaction to it) my only added thought is, let's call this what it is, everyone hates this Sterling guy.

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