TMZ.com obtained a recording of Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling making racist remarks to his girlfriend, and made them public on April 26. The reaction was swift and strong. NBA legends such as Michael Jordan came down on Sterling, and the controversy even reached the White House as President Obama also condemned the comments.
By the time our own Christopher “Mad Dog” Russo began his show on Monday, it’s the only thing anyone could discuss. Mad Dog destroyed Sterling for his ignorant remarks, but also looked at another side of the story.
Fair points made by Doggie. Not all sports fans may know the history of Donald Sterling, but his issues are well documented, including a case he settled with the Department of Justice for discriminating against blacks and Hispanics after he allegedly refused to rent his apartments to them. NBA circles were well aware of Donald Sterling’s previous actions, but everyone looked the other way, including those who were appalled (and rightfully so) when they initially heard his remarks.
The story continued to be a hot topic on Tuesday. NBA Commissioner Adam Silver banned Donald Sterling for life, and asked the NBA Board of Governors (the league owners) to remove him from ownership of the Clippers. While many praised the Commissioner’s punishment, Russo wanted to know what took so long, refusing to give Adam Silver a free pass since he was former NBA Commissioner David Stern’s right-hand man for several years. Doggie had no problems with the punishment, but it’s one that he felt should have been done years ago. He continued on his theme of hypocrisy on Tuesday, giving one of the best rants he’s had during his six years at SiriusXM.
The most interesting thing about this clip is the evisceration of Warriors coach Mark Jackson. I think Dog hits this right on the head. Jackson is an ordained minister that wants to say he is a man of God, but yet he was unfaithful to his wife. A man that wants to talk about his outrage over Donald Sterling, but in a 2009 article stated that he knew about his “reputation” but yet was willing to work for him when he tried to get the Clippers job last offseason. To top it off, Jackson called to Clippers fans to make a stand and refuse to go to Staples Center. And if a fan boycott built momentum, it would only help the Warriors in their quest to upset the Clippers in this first round match-up. You can see the hypocrisy pouring from Jackson’s brow as he continues to speak on the topic.
As we began to move past the story Wednesday and the dust began to settle, we started hearing people such as Doc Rivers and Reggie Miller use the word “heal” in terms of putting the Sterling story behind everyone. Mad Dog couldn’t disagree more with that word choice.
I don’t want to say that this argument is semantics, but it’s a matter of word choice. Dog’s anger with the choice of “healing” is that he clearly associates the word to what one needs to do after tragedy. I completely agree that the Donald Sterling story is not a tragedy. The events Mad Dog lists (such as the ferry boat and Malaysian Airlines disasters) are clearly all tragedies. I don’t believe that Rivers or Miller or anyone else is trying at all to put this story at that level. They use the word heal to get past racist comments that may indeed cut to their core. A paper cut has to heal no differently than a broken leg has to heal. Healing is at all levels, some are more difficult and take more time, but it’s all still healing.
You can’t end racism with more racism
One part of this story that has gotten little to no coverage is the response that former NBA all-star Larry Johnson tweeted when he first heard Donald Sterling’s comments.
Johnson, who is currently an employee of the New York Knicks in their business operations department, went on a public forum and suggested that black people need to form their own basketball league. Let that sink in for a second – an all-black league. A segregated basketball league.
Larry Johnson would rather go back to the way things were 75 years ago. I would love to hear a response from Rachel Robinson, the widow of the late, great Jackie Robinson, who took the first huge step towards equality in sports in 1947. These comments are despicable. The NBA has made no comment. I reached out to the Knicks, who also refused to comment.
This is a racist remark. We focus on racism against minorities, but a suggestion of segregation is racist and there is no place for these beliefs in today’s society. This type of belief is nothing new to Larry Johnson, who had a well-documented issue with Bill Walton back in 1999. At a minimum, Larry Johnson needs to be terminated from the New York Knicks and fined as well. I will continue to wait and see if the NBA responds appropriately.
Overshadowed by the Donald Sterling story has been some tremendous action in the NBA and NHL playoffs.
We’ve had six of the eight first-round series in the NBA go to a minimum of six games. For the first time in the NBA’s history we are going to have three Game 7s on Saturday.
The Wild and Avalanche gave us a thrilling overtime in Game 7, and the Bruins and Canadiens kicked off their second round match-up Thursday night with a double-OT thriller. This is shaping up to be a tremendous weekend in sports. Fellas, order the flowers for your wives and girlfriends now for a Monday delivery, because its must see TV all weekend.
Stream of Consciousness
I’m still waiting for the Bulls to score a basket in the fourth quarter. … I’m not buying the Brewers. … I am buying the Oakland A’s. … Will Adam Silver protect Joey Crawford as much as David Stern did? … Blacklist is the best show on television, and it’s not close. … The White Sox might only win 75 games but Jose Abreu is going to make it a fun season. … The Lakers haven’t had three straight seasons of a losing record in over 50 years, but that’s going to change in two years. … Did anyone actually think John Tortorella would work out as coach of the Canucks? … The Dodgers franchise won their 10,000th game; is there a more meaningless milestone than franchise wins? … How many “Jameis Winston has crabs” jokes can we hear this week? … The NBA TV studio coverage with Dennis Scott and Rick Fox is unwatchable. … “Child of the Moon” by the Rolling Stones. … There is nothing better than overtime in a Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, unless you are a fan of one of the two teams involved. … I’ve never pulled more of a 180 on a player in the span of one season as much as I have on Roy Hibbert. … The 13 MLB teams that passed on Jose Fernandez in the 2011 draft will kick be kicking themselves for the next 15 years. … Quote from the Oklahoman’s John Rohde that sums up an athlete perfectly: “James Harden loves him some James Harden.”
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Next week on MDU
Plenty next week on Mad Dog Unleashed. First, we will be presenting a special SiriusXM Town Hall event with Nolan Ryan. The legendary pitcher will sit down with Mad Dog for an entire hour talking about his great career. You can hear it Tuesday, May 6th at 6 pm ET.
Thursday, May 8th, we will be at Radio City Music Hall for the first round of the NFL Draft. We will do an extra hour, going until 7 pm ET. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell is scheduled to sit down with Chris Russo in the 5 pm ET hour.
Legendary broadcaster (and Mad Dog Sports Radio listener) Larry King will stop by next week to chat with Chris.
Friend of the program Bill Madden will also join the program in studio to discuss his new book.