Ken Lipshez

Sterling situation stresses journalistic downside

The Donald Sterling outrage that has spread like a prairie wildfire across the realm of sports has another side to which the impetuous pay little heed.

Before anybody even slightly misconstrues what I’m about to say, I was mortified by the comments that apparently express Sterling’s true feelings. How dare he evaluate another human being based on skin color? How ignorant could he be to belittle the very people who are the heartbeat of his business’ existence?

What he said was despicable, and the eloquent message that new commissioner Adam Silver delivered was right on target.

I feel for Doc Rivers, Chris Paul, Blake Griffin and the rest of the Los Angeles Clippers, who presently are competing on the NBA’s biggest stage with a knot in the pit of their stomachs. I feel for the team’s fans, wondering whether they should boycott the games as a response to Sterling’s hypocrisy or root for a gallant group with a legitimate chance to win the NBA championship.

Is there truly a person on the face of the planet who feels any remorse for Sterling? If there is, he or she better express themselves carefully, perhaps in the middle of a desert or a rocket ship to Mars, which brings me to the point made by Hall-of-Famer Kareem Abdul-Jabbar among others.

Something is truly amiss when people in the comfort of their own homes can have their innermost thoughts recorded clandestinely and broadcast across the face of the Earth.

From what I’ve read, it sounds pretty obvious this V. Stiviano set Sterling up like a bowling pin. Evidence seems to suggest that she engaged in embezzlement and subsequently blackmail. It’s said that Sterling is, or was, an astute, calculating businessman, but the temptation of a beautiful woman and the egotism that comes with having her on his arm in public reinforces his image as a doddering 80-year-old buffoon. Jabbar forcefully noted in a column for, “She was like a sexy nanny playing ‘pin the fried chicken on the Sambo.’ She blindfolded him and spun him around until he was just blathering all sorts of incoherent racist sound bites that had the news media peeing themselves with glee.”

Our news sources are tripping over themselves, procuring quotes from the basketball cognoscenti all the way to the White House, on how contemptible Sterling’s comments were.

I feel such coverage is an insult to the intelligent reader. We know that most everybody is mortified by Sterling’s blather. The best stories I’ve read clued me in about who and what V. Stiviano appears to be and the messages Sterling sent out long ago that established him as being racially insensitive.

What journalism has become makes me sick. I refuse to mention the two sleaze-driven websites that thrust this “news” into the public eye, and speak to the contradictory nature of our contemporary culture.

People from liberal think tanks like the ACLU were up in arms when it was suggested that surveillance cameras be used on public streets to help law enforcement identify potential troublemakers. But recording somebody without their knowledge and using it to expose their frailties is fine in satiating our society’s clamoring for celebrity dirt.

Here’s what I choose to take from the episode.

Sterling, after publicly apologizing to Magic Johnson, Doc Rivers, the Clippers and their fans, should be forced to sell the team. A portion of the proceeds should be earmarked for organizations that sincerely promote diversity without prejudice.

As Silver said, the NBA is in the midst of one of the most exciting postseasons in its glorious history and its integrity must be upheld. It has long been my belief that NBA players are the finest athletes in the world, and the league has been very progressive in bringing together people of all races, colors and creeds.

The garbage that gets passed off by amateurs in the social media can never replace honest journalism, for if it is accepted by the mainstream as such, it will shake the very foundation and principles upon which our great nation was founded.

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