Dick Hall of Fame, Entry #9: Donald Sterling

22 Dec

Donald Sterling was mentioned in our last Dick of the Week update as a runner up for just that award.  In truth, Donald Sterling may very well have been worthy of being last week’s Dick of the Week, but we made the executive decision to demote him to an honorable mention simply because we couldn’t wait to do a Dick Hall of Fame entry for him this week.

Since Donald Sterling is not exactly a household name,  we will give you a little background information on who this tremendous dick really is.  A quick perusal of his Wikipedia page will tell you that Mr. Sterling rose to fame and fortune as an attorney and a real estate mogul.  He quickly amassed a fortune in real estate and, in 1981, decided to purchase an NBA team.  Los Angeles Clippers fans rue this day, for it was their team that he purchased and it was their team that he has been busy running into the ground ever since.

To be fair, it is not exactly right to say that Sterling ran the team into the ground.  The Clippers have never won more than 49 games in a season, and even that record was established when the team was still known as the Buffalo Braves.  47 wins is the Clippers record since moving to California, and that was accomplished under Sterling.  And while that might seem like a step in the right direction, Clippers fans will take it as little comfort as they must, year after year, watch the owner of their team shell out millions of dollars for the corpses of players like Baron Davis and Elton Brand, hand out massive extensions to people like Mike Dunleavy Sr., probably simultaneously the worst GM and coach in the league, and wait way, WAY too long to fire people, like the aforementioned Dunleavy.

The average Clippers fan.

Honestly though, the worst part is probably knowing that their owner is an absolute, tremendous dickhead.  The humor and sports blog Deadspin has done an excellent job cataloging Sterling’s transgressions over the years, such as in this lengthy and deeply informative post.  A simple skim of that entry will give you a nice, broad overview of why Sterling is, as they say, “the most evil man in sports.”  However, we at Dick of the Week would like to delve a little deeper into a few of the more specific skeletons in Sterling’s closet.

Sterling’s own Wikipedia entry calls him a “known racist.”  With Sterling’s racism generally accepted, it begs the question: why on earth would he want to own a basketball team?  I mean, let’s be honest: outside of Larry Bird and John Havlicek, the list of talented white basketball players is pretty short.  If he was so racist against blacks, why would he buy a team where he would be forced to pay them millions of dollars as well and interact with them on an almost daily basis?

Well, Elgin Baylor can shed some light on that.  Elgin was the Clippers’ General Manager under Sterling for 22 years.  We know what you’re thinking–“but guys, Elgin Baylor was black. How can Sterling be racist if he hired Elgin Baylor as GM?”  And a good point that is.  Or rather, would be, if Sterling hadn’t been such an idiot that he actually said things to Elgin like “‘Personally, I would like to have a white Southern coach coaching poor black players.”  Elgin, who naturally had no idea how to react, was no doubt even more floored when Sterling followed that statement up by sincerely asking “Do you think that’s a racist statement?”  Certainly it’s one thing to be a racist, but it’s something else entirely to make statements like that and then (supposedly) not even recognize their racist nature.  Nor was it the first time that Sterling was reported to have made such statements.   Elgin further noted that during negotiations with Danny Manning, the #1 draft pick in 1988, Sterling looked over Manning’s numbers and responded with “Well, that’s a lot of money for a poor black kid,” prompting Manning to storm out of the negotiations.  Baylor classified Sterling’s ideas regarding how a team should be run as a “plantation mentality.”

Pictured: Basketball

Maybe he’s just an idiot, though. Right?  Let’s face it, Donald Sterling seems to have been a sheltered white man.  Maybe he really DIDN’T know that his statements were racist; maybe he just didn’t know how to interact with black people like Elgin Baylor.  After all, Elgin did say that he was “never the target of racist statements.”  Besides, it’s not like Sterling is a horrible racist in other areas of his life, is it?  Is it?  Oh no.

Yes, as far back as 2003, Sterling was sued for housing discrimination in Los Angeles, where he reportedly refused to rent apartments that he owned to blacks and Latinos and actively attempted to drive them out of the area.  Somehow this case largely escaped public attention (Dick of the Week is inclined to agree with Deadspin’s take that, were Sterling a player rather than an owner, we would still be hearing about it), despite the fact that a judge called the eventual settlement “one of the largest” settlements ever for a case of this type.  In fact, Sterling had to pay $5 million for the plaintiffs” legal fees alone.

2006 say Sterling faced with a similar lawsuit for housing bias.  Between the 2003 and 2006 cases, a number of disturbing statements and practices of Mr. Sterling came to light.  During the 2003 investigation, it was revealed that when he first bought the building in question, Sterling had disliked its smell, on which he had remarked, “that’s because of all the blacks in this building, they smell, they’re not clean.”  Which he then followed up with, “and it’s because of all of the Mexicans that just sit around and smoke and drink all day.”  Which he THEN followed up with, “So we have to get them out of here.”

Sumner Davenport, one of Sterling’s property supervisors and the source of the above quotes, stated in her testimony that Sterling had attempted to evict a elderly, blind, medicated, half-paralyzed black woman whose apartment had flooded.  Sterling’s response was, “is she one of those black people that stink?”  His follow up to her request for compensation was, “I am not going to do that. Just evict the bitch.”   Ummm.  Gosh.  We’d really like to make a joke about that, but honestly we’re not sure how.  We really aren’t sure how that statements are even remotely defensible, nor are we sure how Sterling has somehow avoided repercussions from the NBA which is, as we have pointed out, a predominantly black league.  Hell, how have Sterling’s own players not risen up as one to slay him?

Oh, right.

Honestly, how much more evidence do we need to induct Sterling into the Hall of Fame?  It’s not like there’s a shortage of additional evidence.  How about the time he promised a $1,000 prize to the winner of a free throw contest, then refused to pay up until the winner actually sued him for fraud?  Seriously?  Donald Sterling went to court over $1,000?  Is he really just the cheapest man in existence?  Oh wait.  This is the same guy who spent the entire 80’s and 90’s never signing a single free agent of note.

And it really doesn’t end at racism.  Sterling is a man of the ladies.  Well, the paid ladies, that is.  Yes, Donald Sterling loves him some whores.  And not even real whores, mind you.  According to testimony that ESPN obtained, one of Sterling’s female assistants (who he also allegedly sexually harassed, by the way) testified that he repeatedly ordered her to find him massage therapists of a certain persuasion: “I want someone who will, you know, let me put it in or who [will] suck on it.”  Classy, Donald!  And that was just the beginning.  Alexandra Castro, another associate of Sterling’s, engaged in a very intersting relationship with him.  We could paraphrase, but in this instance we think it would just be easier to show you the direct exceprt from the ESPN article:

“The woman wanted sex everywhere,” Sterling said. “In the alley, in her car, in the elevator, in the upstairs seventh floor, in the bathroom.” And he paid her for it. “Every time she provided sex she got $500,” he testified in 2003. “At the end of every week or at the end of two weeks, we would figure [it] out, and I would, perhaps, pay her then.” “When you pay a woman for sex, you are not together with her,” he further testified. “You’re paying her for a few moments to use her body for sex. Is it clear? Is it clear?”

You know, this is another one of those times when we really want to make a joke, but we just can’t bring ourselves to do it. That is just so far outside the realm of anything we ever thought we’d hear in real life.  Seriously, is Donald Sterling a movie villain?

Answer: Probably.

The man hates minorities.  He loves women (aren’t they lucky).  He it awful at running his team.  He hates his own players (as we mentioned last week).  He’s possibly the cheapest man alive.  Is there anything redeeming about Donald Sterling, other than the fact that he’s made it very easy for Los Angeles residents to decide which team to root for?  We at Dick of the Week say no, there is not.  As a result, Donald Sterling is the ninth entry into our Dick Hall of Fame, and damned if he doesn’t belong near the top.

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