Some people are so poor
October 16, 2014 11:09 AM   Subscribe

When I knew the Clippers were drafting me, the first thing I did was type Donald Sterling’s name into Google. The first hit that came up was “Donald Sterling is a racist.” I read an article on how he didn’t want minorities to live in his apartment buildings. My first thought was, Wow this guy is really, really a racist … how is he an owner of an NBA team? My second thought was, Wow, these articles are from 2003 and 2008. I guess everybody already knows about this stuff and just doesn’t care. As players, we’re not supposed to really care about anything but basketball. We’re just supposed to perform. To be honest, I didn’t ever really think about bringing up Sterling’s past. What was I supposed to do? Just picture me at the press conference my rookie year. “Uh … hey, guys, before we talk about today’s game, did you happen to see that investigative report on my owner?” -- The Boss. An Essay about working for the NBA, by Blake Griffin.

Introducing The Players’ Tribune, a new media platform that will present the unfiltered voices of professional athletes, bringing fans closer to the games they love than ever before. So far featuring: Russell Wilson on Domestic Violence and Danica Patrick on dating.
posted by Potomac Avenue (33 comments total) 27 users marked this as a favorite
 
Chris Kluwe is a pretty great writer & relentless advocate for that which needs advocating. I hope he turns up there as well.

Oh, 12 days to Wapner.
posted by Devils Rancher at 11:17 AM on October 16, 2014 [4 favorites]


yall should check out the champs podcast episodes w/ blake aka "Pretty Red"... he comes off as a good dude + the champs in general are really funny
posted by jcruelty at 11:23 AM on October 16, 2014


Wow. These are really good.
posted by leotrotsky at 11:25 AM on October 16, 2014


It’s little bit ironic to me that the media has tried to turn Ballmer into a meme when they turned a blind eye to Sterling for years. Steve is a good dude. He’s like a cool dad who gives you candy. Donald was like a weird uncle.

I guess anything's an improvement over Weird Uncle Donald, but Cool Dad Who Gives You Candy?
posted by Rock Steady at 11:27 AM on October 16, 2014 [1 favorite]


i'm loving the players' tribune so far.
posted by nadawi at 11:31 AM on October 16, 2014 [1 favorite]


To be honest, I didn’t ever really think about bringing up Sterling’s past. What was I supposed to do?

Okay, there's this thing called personal integrity and it involves at the very least taking responsibility for the choices we make. You felt you needed to go work for the guy? Fine. But don't pretend you were forced.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 11:32 AM on October 16, 2014


You felt you needed to go work for the guy? Fine. But don't pretend you were forced.

That seems like an extremely uncharitable interpretation of his statement.
posted by skewed at 11:35 AM on October 16, 2014 [61 favorites]


most of our ceos are terrible shitheels. we are sort of forced, in our current socio-political systems, to set aside our integrity to make a living. i mean, if he had quit basketball and got a job at a mega-corp he'd have a lot of the same dilemmas.
posted by nadawi at 11:36 AM on October 16, 2014 [32 favorites]


Not that I was/am a big supporter of Sterling, but when the drumbeat of "STERLING IS A RACIST!!!?!?!?!?" started taking over Twitter, I couldn't have rolled my eyes any more. I refuse to believe that his behavior was news to anyone who was (or should have been) paying attention.

Kareem sums it up nicely:
What bothers me about this whole Donald Sterling affair isn’t just his racism. I’m bothered that everyone acts as if it’s a huge surprise. Now there’s all this dramatic and very public rending of clothing about whether they should keep their expensive Clippers season tickets. Really? All this other stuff I listed above has been going on for years and this ridiculous conversation with his girlfriend is what puts you over the edge? That’s the smoking gun?
posted by sideshow at 11:40 AM on October 16, 2014 [6 favorites]


You felt you needed to go work for the guy? Fine. But don't pretend you were forced.

Dude, they drafted him. His choices were play for Sterling, or don't play pro basketball.
posted by DGStieber at 11:42 AM on October 16, 2014 [49 favorites]


I refuse to believe that his behavior was news to anyone who was (or should have been) paying attention.

This was news to casual fans, who payed attention as soon as it appeared somewhere they were likely to see it.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 11:44 AM on October 16, 2014 [1 favorite]


I guess anything's an improvement over Weird Uncle Donald, but Cool Dad Who Gives You Candy?

I didn't notice that until you pointed it out, and it's weirding me out. Maybe "Granddad who gives you candy" would have been better?
posted by discopolo at 11:52 AM on October 16, 2014


Dude, they drafted him. His choices were play for Sterling, or don't play pro basketball.

I'm reminded of a story some years back about a guy who was drafted for major league baseball just out of college and turned it down because he had always hated baseball, only did it because his father made him. (IIRC, he did take the signing bonus.)

I expect there are plenty worse team owners out there, if we expand the definition of loathsomeness beyond mere racism. Out-sized pay is often concomitant with crappy bosses and dubious industries. We all make choices in life. What's your trip-wire, and how sensitive is it to big money?
posted by IndigoJones at 12:02 PM on October 16, 2014


Isn't this exactly the sort of thing the leagues fine players like crazy over? (Also, I love this.)
posted by Navelgazer at 12:19 PM on October 16, 2014


Why do people still believe that Professional Sports Owners are not ALL reprehensible human beings (and totally dishonest businesspeople)? Didn't they realize that Seinfeld's Steinbrenner was actually toned down from his real-life awfulness to avoid a lawsuit?
posted by oneswellfoop at 12:21 PM on October 16, 2014


> Why do people still believe that Professional Sports Owners are not ALL reprehensible human beings (and totally dishonest businesspeople)? Didn't they realize that Seinfeld's Steinbrenner was actually toned down from his actual awfulness to avoid a lawsuit?

I'm confused about what you're asking. Are you asking why most people still carry a presumption of decency toward other human beings, absent any specific evidence to the contrary?
posted by savetheclocktower at 12:30 PM on October 16, 2014 [7 favorites]


QFT:
The incident didn’t make SportsCenter. It didn’t even make the local papers. If you’re wondering how a known racist can own an NBA team without anyone batting an eye, first ask yourself how the owner of an NBA team can scream at his team’s best player in front of thousands of people and hundreds of cameras without anyone even caring.
posted by the painkiller at 12:51 PM on October 16, 2014 [8 favorites]


I loved this. There was an earlier piece that he wrote that touched on a lot of the same issues.

But to nitpick, I remember reading about the Baron Davis incident the day after it happened and that being the point where I was like "this dude (Sterling) is probably mentally ill". Sterling's awful behavior was something of an open secret. You can't exactly take away a team or even reprimand an owner (remember, it's a club of only 30) for being a jerk. That's why I'm sure the commish was somewhat happy when it all leaked. It gave him a line to point at with the other owners and say "look, he's crossed this line a long time ago, and I think we can all agree that he needs to go." Nobody could say no at that point, even though Mark Cuban gave a half-hearted plea about setting a bad precedent.
posted by thewumpusisdead at 1:06 PM on October 16, 2014


Other topics worth discussing despite clichés about groups:

Bad lawyer does a very bad thing
Bad politician does a very bad thing
Bad terrorist group or dictator or whatever does a very bad thing.

Yes each group has a stereotype and it's still worth discussing the extreme cases when they present themselves, however that may be.
posted by aydeejones at 1:06 PM on October 16, 2014 [1 favorite]




Wait, Deadspin doesn't like something? And that something is a source of writing about sports? This is shocking news!
posted by dersins at 2:11 PM on October 16, 2014 [6 favorites]


most of our ceos are terrible shitheels.

You don't usually gain money and power without a driving passion to gain money and power. Most people with a driving passion to gain money and power are assholes and/or sociopaths. Q.E.D.
posted by Steely-eyed Missile Man at 3:43 PM on October 16, 2014 [2 favorites]


Wait, Deadspin doesn't like something? And that something is a source of writing about sports? This is shocking news!

While I totally agree with your assessment, if you read the article you'll realize they have very valid criticisms. For one, the Blake article is a bit recycled.

The Players' Tribune wants you to believe Russell Wilson is doing the work of a senior editor during an NFL season when his team is a Super Bowl contender while Danica Patrick also is a senior editor during her second full-time NASCAR season and Blake Griffin is senior editing as the NBA season nears.

None of it makes sense, and yet none of that matters so long as the press releases get lapped up—which they do.


It goes a little further article to call Blake Griffin only in quoted form, "Blake Griffin", making a not very subtle jab that they don't believe any of these people are writing this. I know ghost writing is not a new concept, but that doesn't mean I have to like it. At least give the actual authors a co-writing byline. "Senior editor". C'mon.
posted by mcstayinskool at 3:58 PM on October 16, 2014


At least give the actual authors a co-writing byline

... what evidence is there that he didn't write it?

(Also, everyone needs a good editor. There's no shame in that.)
posted by mrgrimm at 4:04 PM on October 16, 2014


... what evidence is there that he didn't write it?

I am speculating that he didn't write it, as is Deadspin. I think it's pretty reasonable speculation, but whatever. I agree with Deadspin's analysis that these come off like carefully crafted athletes-are-just-like-us press releases.

The articles are fine and entertaining, I just think they read with a ghost writer voice.
posted by mcstayinskool at 4:17 PM on October 16, 2014


I never thought that. I don't doubt there was editing, but I think Griffin can write.
posted by Lesser Shrew at 4:32 PM on October 16, 2014


Danica Patrick on dating.

"Do not be late and say you were stuck in traffic." she didn't say.
posted by srboisvert at 4:46 PM on October 16, 2014


I love this sentence at the end of the piece.
Steve is a good dude. He’s like a cool dad who gives you candy. Donald was like a weird uncle.
but I would have used "creepy" instead of "weird."
posted by TMezz at 6:31 PM on October 16, 2014


The Players' Tribune wants you to believe Russell Wilson is doing the work of a senior editor during an NFL season when his team is a Super Bowl contender

Well, Russell found time to do stuff when his team was a Super Bowl contender last season. It worked out pretty well.
posted by The Hamms Bear at 8:55 PM on October 16, 2014


I'm really impressed by what Derek Jeter's doing with The Player's Tribune so far, and it's great that now that he's no longer a Yankee, I can actually root for him to succeed.
posted by tonycpsu at 9:33 PM on October 16, 2014 [1 favorite]


Blake Griffin is turning into something of a Renaissance Man. Here he is doing stand up at the Laugh Factory open mic night.
posted by PenDevil at 12:39 AM on October 17, 2014 [2 favorites]


Don't click that though its awkward as heck.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 5:22 AM on October 17, 2014


Blake Griffin's a dim bulb. He's a young earth creationist, which should dissuade people with four or more brain cells from ever reading a word he writes. The piece displays rather a lack of serious insight and thought. Griffin's a good enough stand in, though, for most sports fans who are lazily or willfully ignorant of the tremendously horrible people owning their teams.

Perhaps Griffin can turn some of his vaunted Google skills on Steve Ballmer to see why he's being "turned" into a meme, which is most assuredly a new thing that has not happened before.
posted by aureliobuendia at 6:32 AM on October 17, 2014


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