Clippers the Real Victims in Sterling’s Racist Rant
While the Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling will live the rest in disgrace, and rightfully so after his disturbing comments became public over the weekend, one has to wonder about the timing of its release. Was this something that really couldn’t wait until after the Clippers season was over? It’s not like this news would be any less or more disgusting in a couple of months. Whoever released this did a huge disservice to a lot of people.
They did a disservice to the Clippers players and coaches. This team had a legitimate chance to win the NBA Championship this year. They had won Games Two and Three and were looking as good as anyone in the West. Now, they have little chance to survive to force a Game Seven. They have had little time to prepare for the tough and heated rival in the Golden State Warriors. That showed in Game Four as they were blown out right from the beginning.
But not only do they have no time to prepare as they field questions from the media, friends and family about what they will do about this, they have to wonder whether or not they should be out there giving their all for the Red and Blue, knowing they are owned by a man who does not like them because of their ethnicity. Part of wanting to win is the pride you feel about wearing the colors of your team. That has been stripped of the Clippers players. As long as Sterling owns them, they will not get that back.
Now add the additional burden on them of being a target by their opponents. It was clear from the tip-off that the Warriors not only wanted to beat the Clippers to tie the series back, but they wanted to send a message to the pig that signs their paychecks. They were all over the Clippers defensively and on offense they looked like they could not miss a shot if they wanted to. This is patently unfair.
What this has done has affected the outcome of games on the floor. There is not a lot of difference between this and fixing games. What happens if the Warriors win and then lose in the next round to whoever they play? Would that team have won had the Clippers been their opponents?
But perhaps worst of all is the blow delivered to the long-suffering Clippers fans who have endured decades of being the “little brother” to the Los Angeles Lakers. If this situation is handled wrongly, they could lose everything they have built in the last three or four seasons. They could see Doc Rivers, Chris Paul, Blake Griffin and anyone else who another team finds valuable all abandon ship. And who would blame them?
The NBA needs to cut ties with Sterling for the good of the league, but also to be fair to the players coaches and fans of the Clippers, who are the innocent victims of this dastardly plot to derail their season. What Sterling said was clearly wrong and disgusting. But the Clippers did not have to be thrown under the bus because of this.