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What Would You Do If You Played for the Los Angeles Clippers and Donald Sterling?
Los Angeles Clippers in Protest
Worst Possible Timing
Imagine being placed in the unenviable conundrum as members of Los Angeles Clippers are currently in. In a time where the franchise is finally riding high, no longer having to take a back seat as the little brothers of the Lakers, the bad franchise does what a bad franchise usually does: shoot itself in the foot to eliminate any momentum and progress that has been made. It started off in the 1970’s with the Buffalo Braves selling their playoff team that had such greats as Hall of Famer’s Bob McAdoo and Adrian Dantley. Next they move from San Diego to of all places “Show Time” Laker City to try and compete for their fan base. And now they have to deal with an ignorant owner mouthing off and getting caught spewing racist remarks about Magic Johnson and all African American fans.
April and the NBA Playoffs pick up where the greatest sporting show on earth known as March Madness leaves off. Many great legends have chased the Larry O’Brien trophy their entire careers only to be left at the altar year after falling for its visions of grandeur. Your window of
opportunityis only available for brief finite time. Once you put all of the pieces together to make a run at the championship, everyone in the franchise must have a laser-like focus to achieve this goal. The coaching staff puts together a scouting report and game plan for you to use and execute. The one scenario the coaches don’t draw up a scheme for is to put damage control on your owner’s bigoted comments towards the race that many of team’s players belong to. With so much attention being placed on Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling ‘s comments towards Blacks, the question remains: What would you do if you were a member of the Los Angeles Clippers?
Forms of Protest
How would you have protested the Donald Sterling situation
The Perfect Response?
How would you handle the situation? Would you refuse to play for Donald Sterling as long as he is the owner of the Clippers? You would not get paid for the games that you sit out. The fans would miss out on the exciting product that you and your teammates put on the floor night in and night out. Would you and your teammates “tank” a game, giving less than your all just to get back at the owner? Do you leverage a trade at the end of the year if Sterling does not sell the team? Would you publicly speak out against your owner knowing that other potential employers are watching to see how you handle tough situations like this? How would you proceed if the NBA Commissioner gives Sterling a smack on the wrist for his conduct (One million dollar fine and suspension for the rest of the playoffs)?
There have been opinions given as to how the Clippers should handle the situation, the most notable being former New York Knicks coach, Jeff Van Gundy. He suggested that the player stage a silent protest for 15 minutes on the bench or give a statement as a team before the game saying there is no room for racism in the game of basketball. Van Gundy said the worst action would be inaction. There are some things that are more important than “pursuing a championship”.” Making a stand on something that will impact society is even more important.”
The Clippers’ players ultimately decided to take off their warm up shirts and place them at center court, warming up without wearing their team name on their chest. They also wore black socks in protest. What will they do next in protest?
What would I do if I were in this situation? I think you’ve shed blood, sweat, and tears in the off-season and during the 80 games to get to the reward of the playoffs and possible NBA Championship. I would almost play to spite the owner, to show him that it doesn’t matter what race you are when playing this game. A champion doesn’t come in a particular color. I would try to band together with the rest of the team to win the championship and dare Donald Sterling to come up on stage with us. That is one of the proudest moments in a franchise when the coaches and players are given the opportunity to present their owner with the championship trophy as reward for their dedication to the franchise. What better way can you dig your finger into the sore than to ban him from the celebration.
I guess there is no right or wrong way to handle the situation. Only time will tell how the rest of this soap opera unfolds.