How sad is this?
A man gets publicly exposed for being a transparent racist and is universally vilified on every media and social platform known to man. He is forced out of the NBA by a commissioner who seemed to take unbridled pride in initiating the process of removing the owner from the league. The man then seemingly makes a larger fool of himself by refusing to defer to the hate surrounding him (that his hate produced), and now is on the verge of being rewarded with one of the largest windfalls in professional sports history.
The Los Angeles Clippers, the same team that just six months ago Forbes valued at $575 million (13th on the NBA Team Valuation list), now has an offer for almost four times the worth of its January value (which is also four times higher than the most money ever exchanged for an NBA franchise). All because of the recent attention to Donald Sterling's racist comments and a deadline set on when controlling interest of the team would be lost.
And they say racism has no value -- or place -- in America.
On the surface there's almost no other way to look at this. Somehow Donald Sterling's comeuppance became a come up. Yes, there are other factors that should be taken into consideration, but once it is all said and done the final conclusion can unarguably be drawn that financially this situation is the best thing that could have happened for the Sterlings.
I'm not saying that other NBA owners will look at this situation and use it as a template drive up the value of their teams. But what can't be ignored is that if none of this Sterling B.S. had ever happened, the value of the Clippers if sold today might have been "around $900 million," as ESPN business reporter Darren Rovell said on "Mike & Mike." How did the consequence of the public's disgust over the racist comments, beliefs and feelings of an owner become an upgrade to the value of a business by $1.1 billion in less than 30 days?
What precedence does this set? What example beyond just the sale of the team does this leave?
Yes, the situation was unique. Yes, there was a deadline in place that drove the interest in the team to a whole other stratosphere. Yes, Steve Ballmer desperately wanted a shot at getting an NBA team (he'd attempted it in the past and the deal fell through), so he was willing to make sure he overbid on the market value to keep other interested buyers away. Plus he has money to burn and didn't have to seek outside partners for the deal at first. True, this is L.A. we are talking about, not Milwaukee, where the recent $550 million sale of Bucks was often used as a comp for the going price of non-championship-caliber NBA franchises. Now that the sale of the Clippers is approved and the termination hearing by the NBA Board of Governors has officially been canceled (removing any further public humiliation for the Sterlings) what have we really learned?
The punishment for being outed as a racist against blacks and other minorities in this country still pays dividends. And true, Sterling himself may never see or be able to personally do anything with the money, but his family will benefit greatly. Generation after generation of Sterlings will reap the extra estimated billion-dollar benefit from the sale of the Clippers because it was discovered their patriarch felt about blacks the same way as a plantation owner. Similar to the financial benefits still reaped today off the business that was slavery.
The sale of the Clippers is just another reminder of how America at the core works. Money over everything. Not black, not white, but green. Money first, and everything else in second place.
Damn the message we were supposed to learn. Damn whatever we were supposed to take away from the activities and behavior that yes, took away his team, but gifted four times the original business's worth. Where is the expected justice -- now that the country could no longer deny who Sterling really was -- that he would be made to pay? In a free, predominately white male-owned and operated enterprise system, if a dollar can be turned into $2 billion, more power to the person who can do it.
Which means the only thing more American than Donald Sterling is America itself.