This post has nothing to do with the Spurs. I still feel very good about our chances, even though we came up short in yesterday's minor classic. (Somebody had to lose that one, and Half-Amazing hit a tough shot) No, the topic d'jour involves a billionaire octogenarian NBA owner with retrograde beliefs, a wife, and a vicenarian ex-girlfriend. ("Vicenarian" means "in one's twenties", as I learned just a moment ago)
First of all, let's be clear: there are no heroes in this story. The undisputed villain is the aforementioned bigot, Donald Sterling, has a rapsheet filled with bigoted/racist comments for...well, I might break the internet if I reproduce them again. I'll just link this here. The whistleblower, Vanessa Stiviano, is not exactly a paragon of virtue herself. I assume a good majority of observers are disinclined to sympathize with a gold-digging mistress, but even if one's personal life choices are beyond judgment, surely we cannot abide such an illegal and unethical practice as recording a phone conversation, can we? It's not like she did this to foil a terrorist plot; she did it to expose an old stupid racist. Having racist thoughts isn't a crime, but recording a phone conversation without consent is. The ends don't always justify the means.
This is especially true in the present case. Donald Sterling is a racist jerk? Well, gee, thanks for the friggin' news flash. Here's another one: Donald Sterling is in his 80s and will be dead sooner rather than later. People who think like him are a tiny cult that shrinks with each passing year. The complete and total irrelevancy of Donald Sterling is inevitable, and it is important to react in a manner which demonstrates this irrelevance.
I don't mean to suggest he shouldn't be expelled from ownership. The NBA is a private organization, and they are under no obligation to protect Donald Sterling's rights as they pertain to league interests. If Donald Sterling is an embarrassment to the league (and he is), then they should cut him loose. Of course, let's acknowledge that the NBA allowed this embarrassment to fester, and the league should punish themselves for having done so. My solution to the Sterling problem is for the NBA to say, "Sterling, you're gone. You're gonna sell your ballclub, and we're going to pay you to do so because we screwed up by keeping you around for thirty years. That was our fault, and we're putting a stop to it now. This is our league, and we don't want you in it. That's all the justification we need for throwing you out." And, as wealthy as Sterling is, the NBA can match him lawyer for lawyer and then some. Stupid as he is, he'll get the message. Or he won't, but he'll lose in court and drop a boatload of money in the process. Problem solved.
That's how the league deals with the Sterling problem. What the players should have done is send the message that Sterling is a moron unworthy of taking seriously, and this is how they should have done it: in today's Warriors-Clippers game, all five starters on both teams would have gone to center court with their warmup shirts still on, then taken them off simultaneously to reveal a #32 purple-and-gold Magic Johnson Lakers jersey. The players would have gotten a standing ovation, the refs would have issued offsetting techs for a delay of game, and the players would pull off their Lakers jerseys and started the game. The message here being: This is all the response you deserve, you horse's ass. And again, problem solved.