While it remains impossible to open a window into a person’s soul to see whether the poison of racism resides there, it is possible to screen those whose words and actions suggest that they harbor such beliefs.
Donald Sterling’s words and actions suggest that he does. And the evidence existed long before TMZ published its tape of his voice.
According to the Los Angeles Times, Sterling agreed in 2009 to a $2.765 million settlement of charges that he discriminated against African-Americans and others at an apartment building he owned. The Times also reports that a lawsuit filed in 2003 accused Sterling of saying “Hispanics smoke, drink and just hang around the building,” and that “black tenants smell and attract vermin.” The case was resolved with a confidential settlement, but Sterling reportedly paid $5 million in legal fees to the plaintiffs.
Amazingly, those claims and the settlements of those claims generated little or no publicity or scorn of Sterling. If an NFL owner were accused of such conduct, the mere allegations would become major national news. If an NFL owner ever settled a case involving such allegations, the league office undoubtedly would be forced to take decisive action or face strong contentions of the existence of a double standard.
It’s all the more reason for the NFL to treat this occasion as the catalyst for ensuring that its house — specifically, its 32 houses — are in order. Existing owners should be warned clearly about the potential consequences of such conduct. Potential owners should be screened even more carefully to determine that they have done or said nothing that would suggest that their hearts are rotten with racism or other qualities that could result in their wealth and power being used to violate the rights of others.
Per a league source, NFL owners already expect Commissioner Roger Goodell to address the situation in some way at the next ownership meetings in May.
It’s often impossible to get to the truth of a person’s attitudes regarding matters of race. But the Sterling situation underscores the importance of taking all reasonably available steps to ensure that the country’s biggest sports business is doing business with people who have not only the wealth to assume such an important responsibility, but also the character.
The Saskatoon Blades won one game this entire post-season which is one more game than they won last post-season. It’s not exactly out of the ordinary for Mollekan, the Blades almost always flame out quickly in the WHL playoffs as you can see in the table below. The team motto could be, “If its spring, we are golfing”.
Regardless of whether or not we have home ice advantage or not, the Blades lose in the playoffs. Even this year where we went all in, traded young players and draft picks away, we still managed to get swept in the playoffs and only win one game in the Memorial Cup. Mollekan’s teams don’t win the in the playoffs or when the games matter.
Despite having one of the largest teams in the WHL, a profitable team, lots of resources at his disposal, and a city where people want to play in, we still can’t win in the playoffs. After a while it’s time to look at the coach.
The upcoming season, the cupboard is bare. Our top taken is playing elsewhere, we have no draft picks (although that can change with the need to ship out so many overage players), and we have ask, if Mollekan the right guy to do this again. He can coach us to the first round of the playoffs but then what?
The Blades need to look elsewhere. They went all in this season and look at the result. A long winning streak and one playoff win. That isn’t good enough in most markets.
25 years ago the Saskatoon Blades opened Saskatchewan Place with a game against the Brandon Wheatkings. That night I got a phone call with an offer to go to the game. Later that week I watched the Canadian Olympic Hockey Team practice in anticipation of some exhibition games they played at Saskatchewan Place. It was a big deal and an amazing stadium. Over the years I have seen a bunch of concerts, hockey games, World Junior Hockey Championships, and even some curling at now Credit Union Centre. The stadium is rather sterile but it’s ours and it’s fun to go tonight with some friends to watch the Blades play the Lethbridge Hurricanes (who when they were the Calgary Wranglers, where the first WHL team I ever saw play). It should be a fun game night. Monday I have a column out about Saskatchewan Place and stadium economics today. A lot has changed although I am glad the famous Blades Pac Man logo still makes an appearance from time to time.