Donald Sterling’s Cancer Revelation Is Suspiciously TimedBy: Toni Matthews-El - May 2, 2014
Did Donald Sterling release his medical condition to the press in a bid for sympathy?
With the negative publicity surrounding him, the announcement on Thursday that Sterling is battling prostate cancer is seen by more cynical observers as almost conveniently timed.
The revelation of Sterling’s racist opinions via secretly recorded audio had resulted in a serious backlash against his Los Angeles Clippers team. The franchise has been the subject of staged protests and experienced the loss of a number of sponsors.
Under the leadership of Adam Silver, the NBA responded to the Sterling controversy by issuing a life-long ban from the sport. Sterling was also fined $2.5 million, the maximum amount the NBA constitution would allow Silver to charge.
Silver is also looking for the board of owners to make a decision that would force Sterling to sell the Clippers team. This final act would serve to completely remove Sterling’s presence from professional basketball.
With the NBA’s commissioner having dropped the hammer on Sterling to the satisfaction of many, it seems bizarre that suddenly we have all been made aware of Sterling’s cancer diagnosis.
Unless he himself just learned of his health condition within days of the audio leak (which would be truly unfortunate timing), it’s hard not to wonder what the purpose of such a revelation might be.
Cancer is a terrible thing; it has cost many people their lives and devastated thousands upon thousands of families. This is inarguable and no doubt those close to Sterling are concerned about his health.
However, such a revelation does nothing to change his history of racial discrimination or the multiple lawsuits against him for that reason. His diagnosis also does not change the fact that he was kicked out of the NBA for actively confirming his discriminatory behaviors and opinions towards ethnic minorities.
Sick or not, there’s simply no room for a man like Sterling in the NBA in the 21st century.
Anyone genuinely concerned for Sterling can take comfort in knowing he will likely get the best care that money can buy. He will also die a wealthy and powerful man.
In the meantime, is it too much to hope what this really means is that he will go away quietly and taking his racism with him?
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