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Sterling words to learn from for all of us

Last Modified: Tuesday, April 29, 2014 11:51 AM

By Jim Gazzolo / American Press

The words attributed to him are despicable, indefensible.

There is no way to get around it. Clippers owner Donald Sterling’s privately taped comments by his so-called girlfriend a third his age show the ugly side of an aging man and an even older belief.

For that, the NBA must act as swiftly as possible to distance itself from Sterling, who at 81 has long since past his usefulness to the league.

While it is unlikely they can make the man sell his team, the free market system will likely do that.

I fully expect that by the end of today new commissioner Adam Silver will suspended Sterling indefinitely, fine him to the maximum and try and get him to give up the team.

Magic Johnson, who heads a group that owns the Dodgers, has already said he is willing to look into buying the club just a day after saying he would never go to another Clipper game.

These big business guys play fast and rough.

Not sure making Sterling sell a team he bought for $12 million for roughly $600 million, which is close to what is was reportedly worth, is much of a punishment at all.

Maybe making him watch his wife receive the fruits of his cash as the main Clipper exec would be greater punishment.

Either way, the NBA can’t have one of its 30 owners on the record with such words. So Sterling has to go.

But let’s remember, before we all jump all over this aging guy, he was clearly set up. This isn’t about anything more than a battle over money.

The girlfriend is being sued by the family over gifts Sterling gave her. After listening to the tapes, and assuming that was Sterling’s voice, you have to wonder what state of mind he is in.

Just like I don’t blame all of the NBA when one of its players says he feels like he’s been treated like a slave, even when making $10 million a year to play a game, I don’t think the entire group of executives are like old plantation owners because one aging man got caught on tape by somebody who claims to love him and quickly lets the tape out.

I hope never to be loved so much.

What I do find interesting is how quickly everybody jumped on Sterling.

Kobe Bryant tweeted that he should not be allowed to own the Clippers as of right now.

Funny, I remember Bryant once begging for us to wait for due process to take its course before we judged him on his sexual assault charges a few years back.

None of us want to be remembered for our worst moments.

Charles Barkley, also quick to jump on Sterling, doesn’t want to be remembered for when he spat on the young girl during a game when he was trying to hit an older fan.

Maybe I’m a little more understanding because I don’t think of Sterling as the norm but rather more of a dinosaur, born out of a different time and culture.

I would hope that my thoughts have evolved over the years from those of my parents and grandparents, and that I continue to see my children and their generation evolve even more.

I would like to think of this as yet another chance for us to teach the difference between right and wrong.

The beauty of sports has been that it plays out in the face of race.

Over the years it has been sports to lead the charge of change in race relations.

Sports brings us together better than anything else.

Donald Sterling’s words are just a reminder of how far we have come and how far we still have to go.

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