Half the world wants Clippers owner Donald Sterling’s head on a platter after a recording was leaked of him purportedly spewing all kinds of vile against Magic Johnson and the black and minority communities. LeBron James doesn’t want him to be a part of the NBA. Charles Barkley and the TNT Halftime crew are outraged. His own players have even protested him by turning their pregame uniform inside-out. At the moment, NBA commissioner Adam Silver and the rest of the league brass are investigating the recording, and if verified, would decide what type of punishment Sterling deserves. If his criminal past is any indication, it should be much more severe than a measly fine.
Here is a brief rundown of Sterling’s past abhorrent dealings:
1. In 1996, a former female employee of Sterling’s sued him for sexual harassment. The two ultimately settled for a confidential sum, but not before Christine Jaksy, the former employee, detailed how the old man touched her inappropriately, suggested she sleep with his associates, and asked her, rather explicitly, to book “happy ending” massages for him.
2. 2003. He’s sued again for sexual harassment. This time, the case also comes with the accusation from the employee that they were also wrongfully terminated from their position.
3. More grievances in 2003. Sterling admits paying a former employee for sex. He later sued that mistress during which he openly expressed his disdain and little regard for women in court.
4. He’s known for hiring “hostesses” for Clippers events and his sordid private parties through demeaning hiring practices which involved the evaluation of a person’s attractiveness. Some of those hostesses have confessed that Sterling would pressure them for nude pictures.
5. A federal lawsuit accuses the Clippers owner in 2003 of “unfairly evicting minorities from his properties.”
6. After the Justice Department went after him for racially discriminating against Koreans, Mexicans, African-Americans, and families with children when it came to renting his properties, he was forced to pay $2.7 million in a public settlement the NBA was surely aware of.
7. His former GM, and NBA legend, Elgin Baylor sued the real estate mogul for age and racial discrimination.
8. And perhaps the biggest one and that has garnered the smallest retroactive attention: He was accused of trying to intimidate and influence peddle Los Angeles Police officers after his son shot a childhood friend in their Beverly Hills mansion.
9. The list goes on.
Donald Sterling is a man without conscience, sensitivity, modern context, and humanity, but not one without precedent. He’s proven, time and again, that a man of his power, influence, money, and standing, takes monetary slaps on the wrist like they were hotel mints. Without going at length into the NBA’s decades-long coddling of his many grievances–he’s the league’s longest tenured owner–it’s clear to see that a fine, however big, won’t be punishment enough for this man. Either he leaves his seat as the Los Angeles Clippers owner or NBA fans leave to a league that doesn’t condone a man of his ilk.
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