There is an old saying that my former high school math teacher told me once: “Your mouth and your actions determines your destiny.” Sometimes when a person takes actions, both verbally and physically, that are against the will of others, and does it for a long period of time, eventually it comes back to haunt him. Donald Sterling, the now-former owner of the American basketball team the Los Angeles Clippers is one of those who took his actions to the limits, and is now receiving the receipt. After a taped conversation where he told his girlfriend not to post photos of her and some African Americans on Instagram and allow them to attend basketball games, it was the last drop in the already-filled coffee cup that finally spilled over. David Stern, former commissioner of the basketball league NBA, had watched Sterling discriminate people of color and background for years, since purchasing the Clippers in 1981. He had also watched Sterling turn the team into a laughing stock of professional sports during the 1980s and 90s before finally having its first winning season and playoff appearance in the 1991/92 and later from the 2005/06 season onwards. Yet he ignored Sterling’s racial behavior and turned a blind eye, all the way up to his retirement at the end of last year. Adam Silver took over the reigns and did things totally differently, as you can see in the video clip below:
Sterling’s latest racist remarks recorded on audio were his last. He’s now facing a lifetime ban, the loss of his franchise, and the loss of his face. A punishment that is so severe- one of the worst ever on record- but one that was long overdue. Discrimination has no place in society, yet there are people out there who strive for perfection at any cost, which includes selecting people based on certain figures. Yet as we strive for inclusion of people of different backgrounds and interest in society- sports teams, clubs, businesses (including boards), educational institutions, and the like, we also know about the people who still segregate others as they see fit and have been trying our best to force them aside. Rumors had it that many Americans were not ready for an African American President in 2008. Even one of my students at a Bavarian university I taught at that time, had experienced that sentimental feeling while staying abroad as an exchange student in the Midwest. We still have him as President, and he has been doing a great job in office, in spite of the circumstances that he faced when he won the elections. Many Americans in the 1940s and 50s thought that by integrating Native Americans into a White society, they would be free of their ways. Their ways of life still exist in culture and language, and have been highly regarded by many Americans today and tourists alike. Sterling’s institutional racism may have been deemed as normal to him and his closest, but to his players and the league, it was more than preposterous- it was barbaric and has stained America’s image as a multi-cultural country, where people have the right to be free and live their dream while living in harmony, regardless of background. His ban from professional basketball may not solve all problems with racism, but it is a big step in the right direction, a step towards the multi-cultural America that should be what it is today.
To close my End of the Line Commentary about this man, there is a proverb that should be considered: Perfection leads to Loneliness whereas Imperfection leads to Multiculturalism. There is no such thing as Segregation and Utopia. Not in today’s society, and not in light of a multicultural society that we have become globally. I’m hoping Sterling will think long and hard of his actions to his team, the league and America. But I’m also hoping that after the ruling, people will finally reconcile and come together, as there is a lot to do, and we need everybody and their different traits to help get it done.