Some people should just stick to sports

by

After Adam Silver’s emphatic and decisive action against Donald Sterling for his racist remarks towards minorities, many people were celebrating. There was a relief that after decades of being run by David Stern, the NBA was only interested in generating revenue and had lost sight of the power it had to truly initiate and empower social change. The faith in humanity was restored… or was it? The reaction we saw was the majority of people of all races celebrating the decision to ban this hypocritical bastard for life and begin the process to remove him as an owner. But then began a predictable undercurrent of question of the punishment. The majority of this second guessing came from Jason Whitlock and Bomani Jones, who are both employees with ESPN (a company which over recent years, has built a tradition of being obsessed with creating talking points rather then legitimate analysis of sports). And whilst Bomani Jones took to twitter to rant on about how “we” as a society missed the point (which is something that I can’t hold ESPN responsible for at all), Whitlock posted an article which was featured on the home page, and upon reading it, it became clear to me that some people should just stick to sports.

The entire article can be read in full here: Removing Sterling won’t fix our culture

I will be taking the unprecedented step here at OTH to actually go through each section and respond to all of the hyperbole and disgusting attempts to guide and manipulate the audience into not addressing the issues at hand.

And before I proceed, I have no idea what Whitlock’s motivation is exactly with his article. Perhaps it was to regain relevance here, which is so juicily ironic considered that he accused Kobe of doing the same thing when Bryant had the audacity to say he wanted to see a colourless society when he happened to be injured. But I do not care what his motivations were. The end result is horrific example of exactly how haughty certain individuals in the media have become.

So let us begin with the very first paragraph.

In our zeal to appear righteous or courageous or free of bigotry, a ratings-pleasing mob hell-bent on revenge turned Donald T. Sterling — a victim of privacy invasion and white supremacy — from villain to martyr.

Donald Sterling, despite these claims, is not a “victim of white supremacy”. The Hispanics and Blacks that were refused housing because of his racism and stereotypes were a victim of his ignorant and hateful views. And the public’s outrage was not an attempt to appear righteous. It was them being disgusted with his point of view. Don’t you dare attempt to twist this around and try to make Sterling into a victim of some sort.

In a society filled with impurities, the owner of the Los Angeles Clippers committed the crime of speaking impure thoughts in the privacy of a duplex he apparently provided for his mistress. And now an angry, agenda-fueled mob provoked NBA commissioner Adam Silver into handing Sterling a basketball death sentence.

Talk about about a truism (“in a society filled with impurities”). Well duh! We’re not perfect. Does that mean people cannot be punished for their actions? And, no, this was not an “angry, agenda-fueled mob”. I was disappointed in what Sterling said. And if we want to be childish about it, which is exactly what Whitlock has reduced this serious topic/ discussion to, every action can be labelled as “agenda-fueled” at the core. Me getting lunch was agenda-fueled because I was hungry. If something is “agenda-fueled”, doesn’t make it any less legitimate. I wonder how “agenda-fueled” Whitlock’s article was? We’ll get to that shortly…

On Tuesday, just 72 hours after the release of Sterling’s Pillow Talk Tapes by TMZ, a rookie commissioner imposed a lifetime ban on a flawed man whose rights were violated.

What rights were violated? The right to free speech? This right carries freedoms along with responsibilities. Just because it was said privately does not excuse it from any responsibilities. And what difference does it make if Adam Silver is a rookie commish? I didn’t think was possible, but the maturity level is dropping here.

Mob rule is dangerous. Well-intentioned, TV-baited mobs are the most dangerous. They do not consider the consequences of their actions, and they’re prone to take a simple-minded, instant-gratification approach to justice rather than a strategic one.

This was hardly a mob rule, nor was it a TV-baited one either. It was driven by social media (a platform that big media, such as ESPN, absolutely despises because it goes completely against the dominance they want to establish). The notion that people were pissed off so they could gain “instant-gratification” would be hilarious if he wasn’t serious. Do you really think people worked themselves into a frenzy so they could gain “instant-gratification”? Yes, that was precisely my motivation when I boycotted the NBA from the moment I heard the comments until Silver’s press conference.

You can probably hear me shaking my head through the keyboard.

Removing Donald Sterling from the NBA solves nothing. It sets a precedent that will likely boomerang and harm the black players and coaches who are shocked and outraged that an 80-year-old man with a documented history of bigoted actions also has bigoted private thoughts.

It actually solves the individual situation at hand (of Donald Sterling) and has the potential to be a catalyst for social change, as Kevin Johnson eluded to in his press conference. But I am unsure how this could potentially only harm black players and coaches (because Whitlock has only mentioned black players and coaches, no other ethnicity) when it is a white owner that has been banned for life so far.

Everyone is being held to account here, so perhaps that is what Whitlock is afraid of? Let us continue…

Let’s be careful here. From the owner’s box to the locker room, professional sports are overrun with wealthy men in complicated, volatile sexual relationships. If TMZ plans to make “pillow talk” public and the standard is set that “pillow talk” is actionable, it won’t be long before a parade of athletes joins Sterling on Ignorance Island.

This reeks of professional jealousy of TMZ, which is just hilarious. The issue at hand is racism, not”wealthy men in complicated and volatile sexual relationships”.

And can someone please inform Whitlock what the definition of pillow talk is? Thanks.

A right to privacy is at the very foundation of American freedoms. It’s a core value. It’s a mistake to undermine a core value because we don’t like the way a billionaire exercises it. What happens when a disgruntled lover gives TMZ a tape of a millionaire athlete expressing a homophobic or anti-Semitic or anti-white perspective?

Finally we’re getting to the point of his article here. Jason Whitlock is petrified that if Donald Sterling is going to be held responsible for his ignorance and racism, and so is everyone, and that includes black athletes (which explains his odd boomerang point about this ruling hurting black athletes and coaches). This is a pathetic attitude to have. Let’s look at the hypocrisy on display here by Jason Whitlock:

  • First he insults the intentions of people that are offended by racist comments, and even says that Sterling is a victim in all of this (which implies that the true guilt lies with those that are insulted by the racist remarks that Sterling spat out)
  • He then says that the reason people were so pissed off was so they could fight for “instant-gratification” with a result.
  • He then questions the competence of Adam Silver because he is a “rookie commissioner”
  • He then tries to redirect the topic from racism to the issue of sexual relations of wealthy men.
  • Then, after that rollercoaster ride of topics, we finally get to where Whitlock wants to go. He is fearful that he will be held account for any racist comment (made publicly or privately)

What a coward. I don’t want to continue, but I will.

Warriors coach Mark Jackson, who called for Clippers fans to boycott Game 5, seems quite vulnerable to mob rule. Jackson is super-religious. He’s previously been extorted by a stripper he kept as a mistress. And some of the LGBT community views Jackson as homophobic.

Uh, no. LGBT targeted Jackson as being “homophobic” because of his religious beliefs. Jackson is on record saying that he has no problem coaching openly gay player Jason Collins. In addition to that, the team president (and Jackson’s boss), Rick Welts, is openly gay.

How about reporting the facts and backing up opinions with textual evidence, Jason?

The conversation revolving around Donald Sterling is unsophisticated, and so was the heavy-handed punishment. They’re driven by emotion rather than logic. It does not serve the greater good of the offended black community. Sterling is a scapegoat. He is an easy target, a decoy so that we do not address the elephant he walked into his mistress’ bedroom.

It wasn’t just the black community that was offended. Look at the NBA owners that openly condemned the comments. This situation is not a decoy. The continued attempt by Whitlock to bring the sexual component is. Nobody was offended by that element, but Whitlock seems thoroughly obsessed with it.

“We don’t evaluate what’s right and wrong,” Sterling is heard telling his black-and-Latina mistress when she asked if it was right to treat black as less than white. “We live in a society. We live in a culture. We have to live within that culture.”

Absolute bullshit. We as individuals are the foundation of society and our culture. We shape it, and have the ability to change it.

Sterling adheres to a pervasive culture, the hierarchy established by global white supremacy.

“I don’t want to change the culture because I can’t,” Sterling says. “It’s too big.”

This was Sterling’s one moment of clarity. The culture of white supremacy created Donald Sterling. He did not create the culture.

Sterling was an active and willing participant in this culture! He wasn’t dragged along. Nobody forced him to refuse housing to Blacks or Hispanics. Nobody forced him to berate his girlfriend for associating with blacks. Society didn’t make him do that. He did that. And it’s a fucking cop out that he’s blaming culture for those thoughts and actions. I’m a part of the same society, and so is Whitlock. I have made the conscious decision to not judge people by their skin colour. It’s absolutely outrageous for anyone to blame society and culture (which rightly or wrongly, condemns bigotry) for forcing them into being ignorant.

People are responsible for their actions. It’s a complete cop-out to blame society and culture.

Much of what Sterling said on the tape is a rambling mess that can be interpreted many ways by sophisticated, mature and objective ears. To my ears, he doesn’t care that his mistress has black friends. He doesn’t care if she has sexual relationships with black men. He’s married. They’re not in a monogamous relationship. He simply does not want her extracurricular activities, particularly when they might involve black men, flaunted at his basketball games or all over Instagram.

There may be some truth to theory of Sterling being pissed off, but how does Whitlock contradict himself in the matter of sentences? “To my ears, he doesn’t care that his mistress has black friends”, then “particularly when they might involve black men”

If race is not an issue, why does he keep alluding to it?

This conversation, while grotesque and abhorrent, is not remotely unique or limited to old white men. My father was hood-rich, good-looking and a playa who enjoyed the company of a younger, kept woman. Many of his friends had similar tastes. Their private conversations about dating could sound every bit as abhorrent and grotesque as Sterling’s. I’ve heard young black men and women engage in equally grotesque and abhorrent private conversations, particularly when their feelings are hurt or they feel betrayed.

Whilst hilarious, this quote proves that Whitlock is completely subjective (which seems to be a prerequisite to work at ESPN)

No. The substantive meat of Sterling’s Sex, Lies and Audiotape is his point about the culture that created his worldview. He is adhering to the standards of his peer group. He is adhering to the standards of the world he lives in. It’s a world inhabited by all of us. It’s a culture that shapes everyone’s worldview on some level. It fuels the black self-hatred at the core of commercialized hip-hop culture, and is at the root of the NAACP’s initial plan to twice honor an unrepentant bigot with a lifetime achievement award.

No no no. As I said before, it’s a complete cop-out to blame society for racist and ignorant thoughts. We are all capable of critical and active thinking. I refuse to accept “well he is adhering to the standards of his peer group”, especially when his peer group condemned his comments are about to vote him out of the league.

White-supremacy culture is created, maintained and run by rich white men, Sterling’s peers. He is the longest-tenured owner in the NBA. Former commissioner David Stern had multiple opportunities to run Sterling out of the league for his bigoted actions. Sterling’s peers have always protected him … until he had the audacity and stupidity to be caught on tape explaining the culture they maintain.

This is the only accurate part of the Whitlock’s article. David Stern has a lot to answer for in regards to Donald Sterling still being in the league.

It’s comical to watch the well-intentioned mob circle around Sterling as if his unintended transparency says nothing about his peer group.  It’s equally comical seeing this issue framed as a “black issue,” with black people running to suggest ways to clean up Sterling’s mess.

White people should be wearing black socks, turning their T-shirts inside out, protesting outside the Staples Center. This is their culture, their Frankenstein. Or maybe they agree with Donald T. Sterling.

Jesus Christ. If anything, this entire article makes Whitlock sound like he agrees with Sterling. Enough with the cheap shots already. What Sterling said was not only offensive to black people, but all people with a hunger for equality. It wasn’t just “black people running to suggest ways to clean up this mess”. Remind me: what ethnicity is Adam Silver again?

“I don’t want to change the culture because I can’t. It’s too big.”

It’s also too beneficial. It’s too comfortable.

Well-intentioned white people should be holding nationally televised panel discussions focusing on ways to lessen the damaging impact of white-supremacy culture. Well-intentioned white people who work within or support the NBA should be demanding that the NBA power structure cede some of its governing power to men and women who look like the overwhelming majority of the league’s players.

So “well intentioned white people” should be pushing for black people to have jobs just simply because they are black? That is just as ignorant and asinine as preventing black people from employment opportunities. People should earn their opportunities regardless of race. Plain and simple. Equality is equality. You cannot promote equality through inequality.

Instead, the mainstream fanned the flames, enraging the angry black mob looking for a quick solution, a sacrificial lamb — and now, by the end of the week, we’ll be back to business as usual, pretending the stoning of Sterling harmed the culture that created him.

Absolutely incredible. Stop playing games and trying to scare people into questioning their thought process when they are offended about racism because you are the one that is afraid, Jason Whitlock. You’re the one that is afraid that if Sterling is held accountable for ignorant and racist comments, then everyone else is (including you). The people that have nothing to fear, the ones that aren’t racist, the ones that want to see racism abolished and equality created, they applauded the decision and stance by Adam Silver. These people included Kareem, Magic, Michael Jordan, LeBron James, Chris Webber, and Kobe Bryant.

Obviously, Adam Silver’s decision will not instantly end racism. But it is a stand that had to be taken. And perhaps Whitlock’s motivation was just pure shock that Adam Silver (a white man) actually acted upon the powers bestowed to him and held Sterling accountable for his actions. So Whitlock went from complaining about inaction from a white man in power in regards to addressing racism, to complaining about a white man who did something about it.

If Sterling’s comments were not acted upon, one can interpret that as a form of condoning by the NBA. Perhaps ESPN should learn from that before they publish such idiotic and subjective articles like the one Jason Whitlock posted. And instead of lecturing people who are pushing for progression and equality, you stop try to let your ego shift to the side and applaud the actions of a “rookie commissioner” who was prepared to make a stand.