Raise your hand if you’ve entered into a discussion about Donald Sterling’s alleged racist comments over the past week.
If your hands up, then your like me and a majority of bros out there who get their sports news from ESPN’s SportsCenter, and who have reluctantly had to engage with this storyline despite the fact that it has absolutely zero affect on our day-to-day existence.
This isn’t the first time SportsCenter has stirred the national conversation and raised an issue to the level of hysteria (see: Brett Favre’s return to the NFL, Michael Vick’s dog-fighting scandal, or any baseball player’s steroid trial); and I can promise you that it won’t be the last (see: Michael Pineda’s pine-tar episode just last week).
The problem with these stories is that they’re transformed from something that is actually important and newsworthy into something entirely different. I like to call it media spin and over-saturation; some call it the SportsCenter Syndrome (the disease of turning something meaningful and serious into an overblown spectacle that you want to avoid at all costs, yet can’t help yourself from commenting on).
Let’s get some fact clear here: Donald Sterling has been a racist is entire life, and nobody can deny it. He didn’t just switch from being a normal, everyday person to a bigot over night. From my perspective, and I don’t think I’m missing anything here, the call to have him step down as Clippers owner is strictly coming from the intense media blitz over the recently leaked tape to TMZ.
I’m not trying to defend him whatsoever; his alleged statements in the video are heinous, ignorant and intolerant, but I would like to know a few things as the media continues to burn him at the stake:
- If Sterling’s prejudices are really as big of an issue as SportsCenter has made them out to be over the past five days, then why haven’t they covered them this intensely before?
- More importantly, why should a media company dictate what happens to a man’s life? Last time I checked, that responsibility belongs to our judicial system — in this case, the NBA’s judicial system, and falls nowhere close to the realm of journalists or basketball analysts.
If ESPN’s analysts want Sterling to give up his team, then that is their opinion; it’s not a fact and shouldn’t be presented as such.
What all bros should realize is that Sterling’s not going to up and sell his team because of this “scandal”; rather, he will bring the league to court over what suspension is levied against him.
Again, I’m not saying it’s right, but what I’m trying to get across is that at this point there isn’t going to be an actual “news” headline until the day that the NBA and Sterling settle in court, which could be years from now. Everything else surrounding this situation is white noise, pure and simple.
Obviously the issue of race is not something that should be ignored or taken lightly, but in this particular case it doesn’t affect us as much as ESPN’s over-the-top, incessant coverage leads us to believe.
Why not you may be asking? Because we’re not: a) billionaires who own basketball teams; b) professional basketball players; c) a part of any group that can actually impact or change the situation; or, most importantly, d) people who hold views anywhere in line with Sterling’s alleged comments.
Instead, we are casual fans of the game who just want to see the product on the court and this story is hijacking us from enjoying what has been one of the best NBA playoffs in recent memory.
The extremist viewpoints being lashed out by the media, SportsCenter specifically, hinder us from maintaining level of interest we should have and replace it with suffocating headlines, such as Golden State Warriors head coach Mark Jackson asking for fans to boycott Tuesday night’s game…in Los Angeles.
Mhm, Mark, I wonder why you’re suggesting that; it wouldn’t have anything to do with the fact that your team is currently playing Sterling’s Clippers in the first round, would it? Can this really be classified as news or even journalism? I’d hope that we have a higher standard as fans and media consumers, but maybe we don’t.
Lastly, SportsCenter played a clip the other day that said we, the fans of the NBA, should call Sterling a Neanderthal. The Webster’s definition of the word is as follows:
“An extinct species of human that was widely distributed in ice-age Europe between 120,000-35,000 years ago, with a receding forehead and prominent brow ridges. The Neanderthals were associated with the Mousterian flint industry of the Middle Paleolithic.”
Sounds exactly just like Donald Sterling. Spot on analyst, ESPN.
And this is news, why?
From here on out, I’ll be making my own opinions toward the situation without being warped by an organization that alleges to be a news company. I suggest you do the same.