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Donald Sterling Might Be A Huge, HUGE Douchebag

Running a professional sports franchise for years and years with no intention of fielding a competitive team would make someone a douchebag. Owning a bunch of properties and refusing to rent apartments to black people, that puts him in a whole different stratosphere. That makes him basketball’s Marge Schott.

Of course, he hasn’t been found guilty of anything. But he’s being sued for those things, including housing discrimination, for refusing to rent to black people and families with children. And there are two things that indicate that this isn’t just some frivolous lawsuit filed for flimsy reasons: 1) the lawsuit was filed by the U.S. Department of Justice, who probably doesn’t do this thing for just no reason, and 2) it’s not the first time something like this has happened.

He was sued in 2003 for trying to “drive out” tenants, tenants who happened to be black or Hispanic. Just this past November, he was ordered by a federal judge to cough up about $5 million in fees to the plaintiffs’ attorneys.

This story’s been flying under the radar a little bit. Maybe I’m wrong, but I’d think it would be a pretty big story if a high profile owner of a sports team was found guilty of something like this. As you may have noticed, there are several black players in the NBA, a couple of whom are even on the Clippers roster. There’s Elton Brand, Shaun Livingston, Corey Maggette, and Sam Cassell is probably considered black back on whatever planet he came from.

I’d think things could get a little uncomfortable for those gentlemen at upcoming team functions. Sterling might want to move from courtside up to the luxury boxes.

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Matthew J. Darnell

26 Comments

  1. How much involvement do you thing he has in renting these properties? Do you think he actually meets potential tenants himself?
    The guy has nothing to do with the process. Granted he is still responsible for the actions of his management companies and should be held accountable, to insinuate that he personally may be racist is a stretch.

  2. It’s time for people stop reducing these types of actions to simply racism. Like New York City cab drivers, Sterling and his companies are in the business of making money. Period.

    And, just as NYC cab drivers have valid reasons for not picking up “certain” people, so must Sterling and Co. Often these decisions are not grounded in racism but rather in data, observation, and experience.

  3. “And, just as NYC cab drivers have valid reasons for not picking up “certain” people, so must Sterling and Co. Often these decisions are not grounded in racism but rather in data, observation, and experience.”

    No, in fact, that’s the very definition of racism. You are making a judgement about a person based upon their ethnic or racial background. You know very little about the person other than their name and race and you decide to discriminate against them because of their race. That IS racism. In fact, if the allegations are true, it is pretty clear cut racism, if not the very definition of racism.

    here, from Merriam-Webster:
    Main Entry: rac·ism
    Pronunciation: ‘rA-”si-z&m also -”shi-
    Function: noun
    1 : a belief that race is the primary determinant of human traits and capacities and that racial differences produce an inherent superiority of a particular race

  4. Telly,

    I appreciate your passion on the subject but let me make one thing clear. People discriminate for a reason and sometimes it’s a good one.

    If I’m a NYC cab driver and my earnings depend on tips, you damn well better believe I will discriminate against a “certain” group (a group with a well-deserved reputation for not tipping).

    Sure you can counter and say there are exceptions. But, exceptions just prove the rule.

    The fact is certain stereotypes (not all) are justifiable. And, in life or business, people play percentages all the time and why shouldn’t they?

  5. Yeah Cantina, and If I think certain people are suited only for physical labor and aren’t smart enough to do other stuff (see: The Bell Curve) then why should I let them get into a college or hire them for anyhting other than manual labor. Let’s face it what your saying is just a statistically justified attempt to say the sort of thing Mel Gibson did. Dude, don’t be a racist fuck.

  6. “The fact is certain stereotypes (not all) are justifiable. And, in life or business, people play percentages all the time and why shouldn’t they?”

    ummm, because it is wrong. Clearly, you and I have very different views on what is justifiable behavior. Stereotyping individuals based upon race, gender, sexual preferences, religion, etc. is simply wrong. That goes for NYC taxi drivers and multi-millionaire housing mogels/basketball franchise owners (a fairly tenuous comparison if you ask me.) In my view, we, as a society, should, wherever possible, do everything in our power to stop such stereotyping from taking place. It is in the best interests of our society, and in the best interests of the country as a whole, to strive for an equal footing for every American, however utopian that might sound.

    And, since you used the phrase “certain stereotypes (not all) are justifiable” perhaps you would enlighten me on which stereotypes are justifiable, and which are not.

    Now, if you will excuse me, I have a fantasy football draft to attend to.

  7. I agree you sound utopian. You also sound self-righteous and idealistic. Do you live in a box?
    Have you ever worked with the general public?

    Whether you want to believe it or not, you stereotype all day long. Everyone does. It’s in our nature.

    Get a sales or customer service job. Drive a taxi. Go to the DMV. You might learn a thing or two about people. You might also stop living in your utopian bubble.

    You also don’t understand the United States. This is a country founded in competition. The equality you are searching for resides in smaller Socialist countries, and was attempted in Communist countries. What you are hoping for will never happen in our competitive system.

    Again, I admire your passion and utopian idealogy but I’m not sure it works on this planet.

  8. The average black person is better at playing basketball than the average white person.
    The average white person is a better swimmer than the average black person.
    Am I racist? Is that stereotyping?
    The sooner we get over all this PC BS the better off we’ll be.
    Accusing someone of being a racist because they’ve drawn their own conclusions about a group of people is ridiculous. It’s called free thinking and it’s what any utpoian society should strive for.
    Acting on those conclusions is a whole other issue. It’s usually hateful and in alot of cases illegal.
    I truly believe that old Asian women can’t drive worth a shit. IT doesn’t mean I won’t hire an old Asian women to drive my limo, bus, truck, etc. She could be different so she gets her opportunity.
    For me to believe this stereotype isn’t very difficult, I see it every day. For me to act upon it by not hiring an individual old Asian woman based on this belief I have about the group is wrong.

  9. You didn’t answer my question, but allow me to retort on your larger points.

    “Whether you want to believe it or not, you stereotype all day long. Everyone does. It’s in our nature.”

    Yeah, that’s probably true, I’ve got a pretty good idea what you’re all about.

    “You also sound self-righteous and idealistic. Do you live in a box?”

    ummm, quite the contrary. I live in Arlington, Virginia… but hey, I guess I don’t understand the real world.

    “Have you ever worked with the general public?”

    does meth dealer count? I kid, I kid.

    “You also don’t understand the United States. This is a country founded in competition.”

    Well, this country was also founded on slavery, what is your point? I mean, yes, good old fashioned capitilist “competition” does shape our Republic, but the competition that you speak of hasn’t always been “fair competition” and, I would argue, clearly still isn’t.

    My point isn’t that our nation strive for some sort of socialist utopia (you are quite simply putting words in my mouth) but that a level playing field encourages the “competition” that you mention. And by “level playing field”, I’m thinking about things like eliminating racism in housing policy and striving for an educational system where our poorest have some chance of bettering themselves in the classroom and such. If you have a system that systemically ensures that a certain percentage of people don’t have a chance to do better than their parents, you end up with a terribly inefficient society.

    Now, back to the original point of MJD’s post… if the allegations made regarding Donald Sterling are true, then how can anyone justify them, comparisons to NYC cab drivers not-withstanding?

  10. Some of you are an absolute joke. Your little Utopia where everyone is equal is a charade.

    Look at you. You can’t even allow someone to have a different opinion without a vicious attack (ej. “greedy racist fuck” or “racist fuck”).

    I guess everyone is equal unless they have a different opinion.

  11. you are entitled to your opinion sir, but your opinion says that you are a rascist.

  12. Your opinion says you are an ignorant fool and an apologist.

    Try supporting a family in NYC on a cab driver’s salary which depends on tips. I wouldn’t survive if I picked up certain people. Why? Because they don’t tip. If that’s racist, then so be it. I don’t have a choice but to discriminate, I have mouths to feed.

    And, these people do not tip. There is no other way to put it. A super high percentage of them DO NOT tip. So don’t call me a racist and stop siding with the source of the problem.

  13. Well, I was calling Donald Sterling a greedy racist fuck, but if the shoe fits…

    I’m not living in a utopia where “everyone is equal,” I just believe it’s wrong to assume that someone is inferior because of their skin color. I’m sorry you can’t see the difference.

  14. The bottom line is that it is illegal to discriminate against certain groups when it comes to providing housing whether or not “statistics” show you’re better off discriminating against that group.

    So even if you want to subscribe to stereotypes you can’t use those to reject someone for housing, loans, jobs, etc.

  15. Matt,

    “I just believe it’s wrong to assume that someone is inferior because of their skin color. I’m sorry you can’t see the difference.”

    Either you’re a fool or you have the memory of a fish. I never mentioned anything about assuming anyone to be inferior.

    Bottom line: everyone gets discriminated against…vietnamese, whites, blacks, fat people, skinny people, gangsters, country club kids, cops, basketball players who can’t jump, soccer mom’s…the list could go on forever.

    So stop fucking crying and deal with it. Is Sterling & co. wrong? I believe so.

    But I would like to know why they discriminate, because contrary to popular belief, not renting to black people has deeper reason than just skin color. Any ideas?

  16. In the current case, Sterling is being sued for not renting apartments to non-Koreans in a part of Los Angeles called “Koreatown.” If you know anything about Korean culture, they are very clannish and generally don’t mix with other races (particularly blacks and Mexicans). Koreans have had bad experiences in LA with these people (remember the 1992 riots?). Sterling is only interested in making money. He KNOWS Koreans won’t live next door to blacks so it makes good business sense for him not to rent to them. If you’re going to blame anyone for this, blame the Korean community, not Sterling.

  17. Can you really blame the Koreans? Why do you think Koreans don’t want to live next store to blacks? Hmmmmm….

    It’s not because of their skin color.

    It’s because they care about their schools, family, community, safety, education, and culture.

  18. Well, at least we’re no longer pretending we aren’t huge racists… just coming right out with it. Bold.

  19. I live in LA (ok, a town bordering the city of LA). I went to school for three years in Koreatown. I went to school with Koreans. I work with Koreans. I deal with Koreans in Korea at work. Koreans are no different than anyone else in that many of them prefer to live around other Koreans. The reasons are obvious. LA has many towns. Off the top of my head there is at least Chinatown, Koreatown, Little Tokyo, Thai Town, Little Ethiopia, not to mention areas heavily concentrated with Armenians (near Hollywood), Persians (Westwood), and of course Whites, Blacks, and Mexicans. But you know what, if someone wants to live in any of those parts of town they can, or should be able to, or at least it is illegal to prevent them from doing so based on the color of their skin and other reasons. There is this little thing called the law that says, “Hey Donald Sterling, we don’t care if you love or hate black people, white people, Asians, Mexicans or anyone else, but you can’t tell people they can’t live in your building for that reason, we don’t care if their neighbors don’t like it.”

  20. First of all I want to say that I am truly delighted to see that most people seem very passionate about this subject.

    I am as white as someone can get and I am married to a Thai woman who I adore. Believe me when I say I despise racist remarks. However, I have to admit that living in Chicago has taught me a few lessons in this regard.

    One of the worst inventions of human kind are projects. I don’t think blacks are born less intelligent, but they sure don’t try very hard to make a living. It seems all they do is commit crimes, deliver the worst customer service possible, and make tons of babies. I can’t stand the idea that my little daughter has to go to school with those kids.

    Now we ask ourselves who is to blame? Not those poor blacks. They are victims. WRONG! They have made themselves victims by allowing themselves to be at the bottom of the food chain. They terrorize entire neigborhoods. Has anyone been to Gary, Indiana? I am fed up with making excuses for them. Come clean!

    I know a lot of people from different countries who really appreciate the opportunities giving to them. They pursue education, foster strong communities and families. Why can’t Blacks do it?

  21. LOL@ Wiilliam. You despise racist comments but then proceed to enlighten us with a diatribe on how lazy, violent and destructive black people are? **Priceless hypocrisy**

    Chicago is one of THE most segregated cities in this country so its going to provide a stark example of racial disparities in neighborhoods…just the nature of the beast. But you’re sweeping generalities offend even the most stunted intellectual sesibilities. Go back to the drawing board buddy and try again.

    Anywho. In the last suit it came out that Sterling said this to his staff: “Hispanics smoke, drink and just hang around the building,” and “black tenants smell and attract vermin.”

    ummm… racist much?

    Although there is a capitalistic element to all his business his actions, here it seems to be injected with a good dose of plain ol prejudice. If he is found guilty I hope they actually HURT his pockets so that next time he’ll think twice about breaking the law.

  22. Interesting comments on this subject. But once again the bottom line is that Donald Sterling only cares about making money. But it will be interesting to see how the black players on the Clippers react to all this. My guess is they won’t care (because they will not stand up for principle and jeopardize their multi-million dollar contracts, and I doubt any of them would demand a trade).

  23. ****How much involvement do you thing he has in renting these properties? Do you think he actually meets potential tenants himself?
    The guy has nothing to do with the process. Granted he is still responsible for the actions of his management companies and should be held accountable, to insinuate that he personally may be racist is a stretch.****

    Wrong!!!! Sterling is and always been an extreme ‘hands-on’ owner. First off, there is no ‘management company’ per se. His ‘Beverly Hills Properties’ doesn’t even have a California DBA. In fact, I doubt that there’s even a formal Sterling Corporation. It’s basically he and his wife who took their whip-lash commissions from his then tiny law firm and started buying prime real estate back in the ’60s. Where he WAS/IS smart is that he never sold anything. I think we all would have liked to bought Beverly Hills apartments when $150,000 or less would have gotten you a nice 35 unit building. Hold on to it, re-fi when the price goes up, buy another. And another. And another.

    Sterling on-site managers live in fear. They are brow-beaten at the monthly breakfast meetings and wonder every day when he’s going to get pissed at them and they lose their free apartments. It’s not unusual to receive a phone call from him at 10pm asking WHY THE HELL did you authorize $85 for a new garbage disposal in unit 407 last month? Seriously.

    Add to the fact that he usually gets in the office around 2pm and starts drinking from the bar ten feet from his desk until midnight (has for years)and you’ll understand some of his strange ways.

    Don’t ask how I know, but anyone reading this that knows him will concur with the above.

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