by Matt Daniels
Clash Daily Guest Contributor
Recently, Donald Sterling—owner of the NBA team the Los Angeles Clippers—has come under fire for what are inarguably racist comments towards African Americans. In a recorded phone conversation with his girlfriend V. Stiviano, Mr. Sterling reportedly made remarks about his desire not to have black people attend his games, specifically to sit in his seats as guests of Ms. Stiviano, who just so happens to be his mistress as Mr. Sterling is married. Whether or not the recording was obtained legally is currently under investigation, but regardless the damage has been done, as you’ll see.
On Tuesday the 29th of April, NBA commissioner Adam Silver brought down a hammer of justice, fining Mr. Sterling $2.5 million dollars and issuing the team owner a lifetime ban from the NBA for the recorded comments mentioned above. Kudos, right? Absolutely—overt racism is revolting and thankfully (contrary to what many in the media will report) it’s a fading ideology that carries only disgrace marks with those who assert themselves as racists.
Interesting then that Jay-Z, who is a part owner of NBA team the Brooklyn Nets, and Carmelo Anthony, who is currently a player in the NBA, for the New York Knicks respectively, can participate in very similar viewpoints to Mr. Sterling openly—without even being taped by a spurned ex-lover—and find themselves without any kind of backlash or fallout.
The Five Percent Nation, an organization founded as an off-shoot of Islam, promotes a great many things, one of which is purportedly teaching that people of European decent—essentially white people—are inferior, even that “white people are devils,” as stated by scholar Michael Muhammad Knight, a member of the Five Percent Nation himself, who wrote about the group in his book, The Five Percenters.
It’s pendants of the Five Percent Nation that have been on more than one occasion seen around the necks of both Jay-Z and Carmelo Anthony.
Where is the fine, Mr. Silver? Where is the ban? Are these too not examples of overt racist leanings? And if not, can they not be construed as such? In the very least one could assert that the wrong message could be inferred by those wearing such trinkets. Or perhaps, sadly, the right message, depending on who is wearing the necklace.
People are discussing this, in various articles and in homes and offices and every other place where discussions take place, but it seems safe to assume that the most important place this subject could be discussed—the office of Commissioner Silver—is oddly silent on the matter. The only proof we have is that nothing has been said, and that there is no indication anything will be said either.
People are allowed to believe as they will. There are thousands of incredible men and women—of all colors, races, creeds, beliefs—fighting for and defending our rights to openly believe whatever we’d like, without oppressive condemnation. Those protected include Jay-Z and Carmelo Anthony. And even Mr. Sterling. Yet only one of the aforementioned is no longer allowed to be a part of the NBA.
I do not defend Mr. Sterling’s comments or viewpoints. But I vehemently defend his right to say these things without having to face a nation of monster-hunters demanding his head—or his property—to be removed from him; it is, after all, his property.
This is not a black and white issue (what a perfectly timed pun!) and as the public we have less information on the matter than those appropriately in the know. Yet so many have jumped to the conclusion that Mr. Sterling is guilty, that he has no rights and that racism is a gigantic problem that keeps all of us chained to the earth in shackles of guilt or wrong-doing…which is odd, because I know many, many people and not a single one of them is racist. Maybe it’s an LA and NY thing.
Image: Courtesy of: http://redsarmy.com/tag/carmelo-anthony/
Matt Daniels is a proud husband and father from Salt Lake City, who when not writing about politics or social issues spends his time writing comedic articles for various publications under the moniker Gary the Unicorn. Matt is also an accomplished musician, rabid Utah Jazz fan and supporter of the arts.