published Wednesday, April 30th, 2014

5-at-10: Sterling slammed, Braves battered, Vandy issues and Rushmore

From the "Talks too much" studios, not a Sterling reputation, but a definite Silver lining and a much more Stern punishment than his predecessor likely would have dropped.

NBA bans Sterling

So the NBA has spoken and new commissioner Adam Silver has issued a lifetime ban on L.A. Clippers owner Donald Sterling and fined him the maximum $2.5 million.

In a sweeping and thorough verbal scolding, Silver grabbed control of the moment and put his stamp on the league with the announcement. He also said he wanted Sterling to sell and hoped the other owners would force him to part with the Clippers.

It was a moment that felt historic, and whether you believe it to be harsh or just is your right. We believe it was the right play for Silver and the league, which could not handle the fall out that reportedly was on the horizon, including a report that the Golden State Warriors were prepared to boycott last night's Game 5 playoff showdown against the Clippers.

  • photo
    Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling sits courtside at the NBA basketball game between the New York Knicks and the Los Angeles Clippers in Los Angeles on Sunday. On Saturday, April 26, 2014, the NBA said it is investigating a report of an audio recording in which a man purported to be Sterling makes racist remarks while speaking to his girlfriend.
    Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

Here's what Warriors star Steph Curry told the Mercury News about the entire Warriors team walking off the floor after the opening tip: “It would have been our only chance to make a statement in front of the biggest audience that we weren't going to accept anything but the maximum punishment. We would deal with the consequences later but we were not going to play.”

Wow. That would have made Twitter implode and left sports talk knuckleheads like those Press Row yahoos speechless. Or the exact opposite.

According to Fox News, Sterling has said he will not sell, and Silver and the league would need 75 percent approval — or 22 of the 29 of the other owners — to force a sale according to the league by-laws.

The fundamental truth is the NBA had to protect its brand and make sure its stars knew the league had their back. This was every bit as much a business decision as it was a social commentary. Period.

No matter how you view the punishment, this much is clear: Thank goodness that we can get back to focusing on the excellent playoff basketball that has filled this first round.

Well, excellent may be a strong word for a couple of series — we're looking at you Hawks and Pacers and you too Wizards, who bounced the offensive-allergic Bulls — but they have certainly been dramatic and entertaining.

———

NBA action

Let's recap another thrilling night in the playoffs:

• Clippers push through distraction for a 113-103 Game 5 win. L.A. got a huge game from DeAndre Jordan (25 points, 18 boards, 4 blocks) and an energized crowd — when the joint was chanting "We are one" it was a chill-bump moment for sure — to take a 3-2 lead over Golden State. It's puzzling how Steph Curry only got 10 shots. Speaking of puzzling...

• Russell Westbrook went for a triple-double, and he would have caught our wrath after the game. How is it that anyone this side of LeBron James takes more shots than Kevin Durant in a must-win playoff game? Durant finished 10-of-24 from the floor as Westbrook went 10-of-31 in yet another overtime loss for the Thunder. OKC fell 100-99 when Serge Ibaka's tip-in was ruled to come after the OT horn. The gritty Grizz hold a 3-2 series lead heading back to the Grindhouse. Wow.

Side note here: We are looking into how we were blacked out for this game. We could not find it on the dial — NBA TV said it was blacked out. Too bad.

• The Wizards advanced with a Game 5 win over the scoring-deficient Bulls. And if the Hawks manage to bounce the Pacers, who had the Hawks-Wizards in the Eastern Conference semifinals before the season? Yep, no one.

Tonight's schedule: Nets at Raptors — Game 5 in a 2-2 series — at 7:30 p.m. (NBA TV — allegedly); Dallas at San Antonio — Game 5 in a 2-2 series — at 7 p.m. (TNT); Portland at Houston — Game 5, Blazers lead 3-1 — at 9:30 p.m. (TNT).

Good times.

———

  • photo
    Miami Marlins starting pitcher Jose Fernandez throws during the first inning of a baseball game against the Atlanta Braves, Tuesday, April 29, 2014, in Miami.
    Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

Braves battered

That was bound to happen, no? Eventually, one of the starting pitchers was going to have a bad night. So it goes, and so it was that the Marlins battered Alex Wood in a 9-0 win that highlighted the brilliance of the past month and showed again that Miami right-hander Jose Fernandez has the best stuff in baseball du jour (sounds good, right?).

The good: Fernandez was nearly perfect. He went eight innings and struck out. The Braves have two losses in the last week and both are to Marlins ace, who used high-90s gas and the most dominating slider since Steve Carlton hung up his cleats to pitch 16 scoreless innings — allowing five hits and two walks whiling striking out 22 — in two wins against Atlanta.

The bad: Just about everything for Atlanta, which mustered three total hits. Hey at least the game lasted just 2:07. Wait, that should be under the good category.

The Uggla: Danny Uggla got the night off, a move predicated by Fernandez' dominance against right-handed hitters. Uggla, the Uptons and Chris Johnson each took a rotation out of the line-up so there's that. Entering the final day of April, Uggla is 18-for-86 (.209) with 28 Ks and 10 RBIs.

———

This and that

— After reading Weeds column, it sounds like there were a slew of stars present and fun stories shared at last night's Boys and Girls Club event. Good times.

— Wonder what NFL commissioner Roger Goodell and Washington Redskins owner Daniel Snyder thought as the NBA handled its business about racism from the top of an organization was handled quickly and directly. The NFL has taken the extreme step of issuing penalties for players using the N-word, but the R-word that offends Native Americans is on jackets and T-shirts everywhere. So yes Stewwie, there are countless different standards and versions.

— And go one step further. What is Mr. Goodell going to do to punish Colts owner Jim Irsay, who was charged with four felonies this winter after being pulled over for driving under the influence? Mr. Goodell to the white courtesy phone; Mr. Goodell to the white courtesy phone please.

— Trouble brewing: James Franklin reportedly contacted the alleged rape victim in the case involving several former Vandy football players. Uh-oh. More to come this for sure.

— Yet another piece of evidence that makes it nearly impossible not to like Peyton Manning. Here's video of Manning singing Folsom Prison Blues at a fund-raising dinner for the Peyton Manning Children's hospital.

— Rest in peace Bob Hoskins, the British actor from Mermaids and Who Framed Roger Rabbit. He died Tuesday at 71.

————

Today's question(s)

Feel free to offer your take on the Sterling punishment. Go. All views are welcome.

Plus, what's your Rushmore of bans? Does Prohibition make it? What about Ban Roll-on? Discuss.

And gang, remember Friday's mailbag.

about Jay Greeson...

Jay was named the Sports Editor of the Times Free Press in 2003 and started with the newspaper in May 2002 as the Deputy Sports Editor. He was born and raised in Smyrna, Ga., and graduated from Auburn University before starting his newspaper career in 1997 with the Newnan (Ga.) Times Herald. Stops in Clayton and Henry counties in Georgia and two years as the Sports Editor of the Marietta (Ga.) Daily Journal preceded Jay’s ...

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Comments do not represent the opinions of the Chattanooga Times Free Press, nor does it review every comment. Profanities, slurs and libelous remarks are prohibited. For more information you can view our Terms & Conditions and/or Ethics policy.
chas9 said...

Yesterday Marlins' whiz kid Jose Fernandez dominated our Bravos. He's 12-0 in the first 19 home starts of his MLB career, and has given up no more than two earned runs in any of the games. Only one other pitcher has ever done that, as you know if you caught the game.

Yesterday in the 105.1 Zone Jay properly scoffed at the very mention of a way-too-early top 50 college basketball list. He opined that a third of the teams listed wouldn't dance in 2015. Nobody'll check it, but I'd say the third number (17) is a good over-under mark.

Also remarked was the fact that the list included from the unbalanced SEC only #1 Kentucky and Florida near the top and LS&U at #45. Donnie Knoxville would kill to be #45. Or #75.

With most of the starters back from their runner-up team and another boffo class of recruits, UK will be better than last year, so has to be an easy #1. Early and late. Nine future lottery picks.

And the 6+1+1 is great for Kentucky, and they keep UofL as their ACC foe.

Did ol' Bob ever get lucky with Jessica "I'm not bad, I'm just drawn that way" Rabbit? Is Jessica the hottest toon ever?

What about Ray-Bans and Anne Bancroft? Shoeless Joe?

April 30, 2014 at 10:14 a.m.
Stewwie said...

A lifetime ban on Donald Sterling is outrageously unfair. Adam Silver must think that he's the p.c. police chief instead of NBA comissioner. Let's remember...no crime was committed (by Sterling), no specific league rules were broken, and he was illegally taped by his mistress. How would you like for your dirty laundry to be aired without your consent? And then get banned from your job forever?

Unfortunately for Silver and the NBA, this is far from over. Sterling will bring litigation like no other and we will see this fight continue probably until Sterling's death. Even if the owners get the 75% vote they need to force him to sell, Sterling will bring an antitrust claim or two or three.

Silver is still relatively new to the job, but he clearly has no backbone and has no desire to issue fair punishment. He looks, sounds, and acts like a robot. He's a pushover, a puppet, and an overall goof. Dude can't even read a scripted speech worth a darn. He needs to be sent back to doing what he does best...opening envelopes at the draft lottery.

There is simply no leadership at the top anymore. Once Silver found out that the Warriors and Clippers might boycott Game 5, he should have told the players that anyone who quits gets a $100,000 fine. And if they still do it, reschedule Game 5 as a winner take all game for that series. If they still refuse to play, issue suspensions and forfeit both teams from the next round. That's the backbone that Silver should have shown. Instead, he got pushed around and has now set a dangerous precedent for not only the league, but for all of sports.

April 30, 2014 at 10:26 a.m.
jgreeson said...

9er —

Ray-Bans... great call.

Stewwie —

Interesting argument about precedent, especially for Mr. Roger Goodell, who has the Redskins issue out there and the Irsay issue out there. As for the NBA, the precedent has some wiggle room because of Sterling's less-than-sterling past.

As for dirty laundry, this was the last shoe to drop in something we should have seen long before. No one wants their worst 15 minutes aired for the world, but here's think this is hardly Sterling's worst 15 minutes. This is just the 15 minutes we heard his voice.

And this is about dirty secrets or racism or what have. This about business, plain and simple.

So defending Sterling and threatening the players' boycott would be backbone? It would create a firestorm that would draw lines in the sand across the entire country and the fabric of sports. This was a pickle of the highest magnitude, and Silver was noticeably nervous.

We do agree with this is far from done and the legal fight will be long and distinguished.

As always we enjoy the back-and-forth and exchange of ideas, especially those with different views. It expands our thought process.

April 30, 2014 at 11 a.m.
MocTastic said...

I have no issue with what the NBA did. They are an "entertainment" business and their bylaws, which Sterling agreed to, allow the punishment.

Now, there is one aspect I haven't seen addressed. Did Sterling know the tape was being made? If not, from what I have heard in California the girlfriend has committed a crime that can result in jail time and/or fines. While what Sterling said was wrong on many levels, apparently this g/f committed a crime and she should be prosecuted. She is saying she didn't want it released, yeah, she was using it to blackmail Sterling and now that it is out, she has lost her hammer.

April 30, 2014 at 11:06 a.m.
jgreeson said...

MT —

We saw a report from a California newspaper — the L.A. Times maybe — that Sterling routinely asked people to record his conversations so he could remember what was said.

Not saying that happened here per se, but we remember reading that he frequently liked to have his conversations taped. And if you're into that fine. But as Pepper says in Dodgeball, "Usually you pay double for that kind of action, Cotton."

April 30, 2014 at 11:24 a.m.
jomo11 said...

Dr. Jack Ramsay and the actor Bob Hoskins, RIP. . .famous deaths come in threes, who will be next ? . . . .So Sterling gets to sell the Clippers, take $800 million and go buy more slums that he can kick minorities out of. It never ends. . .

April 30, 2014 at 11:27 a.m.
Buschleague said...

A lifetime ban is justified and probably overdue for Sterling. Forcing him to sell or assuming control of his business is not. Transfer of ownership to his spouse is equitable for all and he's out of sight out of mind. Market value on the Clips is around 1.5 billion says Bill Simmons. That's great return on investment.

April 30, 2014 at 11:37 a.m.
MocTastic said...

Meanwhile the big news of the day is Jameis Winston was cited for shoplifting crab legs at a Publix. He got a get out of jail free card for the rape allegations, don't know if he did it or not, but the kid just doesn't seem to get it.

One of the best I have seen yet: https://pbs.twimg.com/media/BmecVQgIUAAppdh.png

update: this appears to be evolving...Tallahassee police are saying they didn't arrest or cite him...I am sure the TFP will keep us updated!

April 30, 2014 at 11:50 a.m.
fechancellor said...

10 Ring, Sterling may not say so now, but with no say and no contact with team or league he'll let go well before next season. It's either that or people will soon protest at or near his homes torching effigies. He will be an remunerative target in local, state, national and international media. Sterling will be the Think this guy is welcome at the L.A. Country Club or Riviera? All them bucks and can't show his face. I don't believe a Tosh "Web Redemption" is in the cards.

April 30, 2014 at 12:09 p.m.
WilliamRscott said...

I would have guessed that the FSU athletic dining hall has all-you-can-eat crab legs (?) I guess there are some things a college athlete cannot get enough of...like free shoes...

Billy-In-Brainerd

April 30, 2014 at 12:26 p.m.
jgreeson said...

BiB/MT —

Would that flip to Free Shellfish U now?

And if Shabazz Napier hadn't already used the "go to bed hungry" and the NCAA flipping the script on free snacks and 24-hour food, this would become a "kid makes millions for his university and doesn't have enough to buy his date Dorothy Mantooth a nice seafood dinner."

FE to the C —

It will be tough for Sterling to bounce back on this one.

But we could see him fighting tooth and nail to keep the Clippers at all costs. What else does he have other than money, so another 10-figure deal is not that attractive.

Busch —

A $1.5 billion return on $12 million in 1981 is a pretty good investment for sure. Wow.

April 30, 2014 at 12:36 p.m.
chas9 said...

My friend in the precious metals biz says Silver is up and Sterling is all but worthless.

Unlike Stewie, I think the commish has a strong hand and has played his cards like a shark. Only flack likely to be stirred up is Sterling spreading dirt he can dig up on other owners. But that won't change anything.

It's been reported that he did know he was being recorded. And fec is correct.

April 30, 2014 at 12:52 p.m.
jomo11 said...

So Jameison Winston is taking Crab Legs, Taking liberties with coeds, taking The Heisman . . .dude is unstoppable !!! . . . .Who will be the first from the media to blame Mark Emmert saying the NCAA doesnt give these kids money, so they have to steal crab legs !

April 30, 2014 at 1:02 p.m.
jomo11 said...

You have to give Jameison credit, stealing crab legs is a high reward, low bisque kind of crime . . . . Ka-ching

April 30, 2014 at 1:13 p.m.
Stewwie said...

[As for the NBA, the precedent has some wiggle room because of Sterling's less-than-sterling past.]

Silver stated that Sterling's punishment was only for this latest incident. None of his past was considered for this.

[And this isn't about dirty secrets or racism or what have. This about business, plain and simple.]

Completely false. This is all about the racism. I have said before that I disagree with his comments/views, but I also disagree with a lifetime ban. As for business, don't you think interest in the NBA has suddenly picked up with it being in the news over the past week? Sponsors are freaking out right now, but with proper leadership at the NBA's helm, all could be fine after some time.

[So defending Sterling and threatening the players' boycott would be backbone?]

I never said Silver should defend Sterling. Would a 1-year ban for Sterling be considered as defending Sterling? If so, then people need to get a grip. Silver was right to condemn the comments, but issuing a lifetime ban was knee-jerk and excessive.

And what's wrong with threatening the boycott? Who's really in charge here? Players have a game to play and coaches have a game to coach. It's up to Silver to ensure that the league proceeds as it should. But again, that requires good leadership, but with Silver at the helm, it's severely lacking in the NBA.

April 30, 2014 at 1:18 p.m.
jgreeson said...

Jomo (shake our head) —

Well played sir. For at least the rest of the day, you are the King.

Way to come out of your shell.

And for those of you who did not like that one, don't be crabby.

Stewwie —

Anything short of throwing the full weight of his office at Sterling would have been viewed as in some ways as defending Sterling.

This was a business move, and fair is rarely a concern in those matters. The interest in the NBA has spiked in the worst ways possible as the best basketball to be played in recent playoff memory is overshadowed by an 81-year-old scumbag.

If you want to threaten the boycott, that's certainly a decision that could have been made. But if you are 87 days on the job as the commissioner, what's the biggest mistake possible in this decision?

Do you appear to go over the top on the scumbag for a move that is extremely popular in public perception and among 95 percent of your work force? Downside there is the rational questions about fairness and precedent that you addressed. Or do you appear to go soft with a one-year ban — and we can agree that regardless of what you nor I think, the players would have viewed that as an insult — on a guy worth $2 billion who has really been a boil on the game for three decade? Downside there is three months into your commissioning career you have the first postseason boycott in major sports history.

Interesting debate to be sure.

Side question: You have to think that somewhere out on the West Coast, Donald Sterling got up, put on his silk jammy set, his house shoes and poured himself a bloody Mary and said, "Oh all the criminal, ruthless, unethical and sinful things I've done in my life, this is what they run me fore? Now I know how Capone feels."

April 30, 2014 at 1:39 p.m.
MocTastic said...

JoMo11 is the king of theives! I retweeted this: Brian Hamilton‏@BrianHamiltonSI·3h Really wonder about Jameis Winston's decision making. This entire episode was high-bisque, low reward. and JoMo11 gets my tweets! Theif! Just like Jameis! :)

April 30, 2014 at 1:52 p.m.
Stewwie said...

[Anything short of throwing the full weight of his office at Sterling would have been viewed as in some ways as defending Sterling.]

If that really is true, that's sad and unreasonable.

Good thoughts on the pros and cons of Silver's options. But again, who is in charge here? Is it Magic Johnson and his cronies? Or is Adam Silver the head man? I can't tell at this point.

Silver should have made clear to the players that they need to focus on their jobs and let him focus on his. A good leader would make the right decision, not necessarily the most popular one. Let the media yap all they want, and let Sterling catch whatever flack he gets, but issue a fair punishment on behalf of the league.

April 30, 2014 at 2:07 p.m.
jomo11 said...

http://www.tallahassee.com/interactive/article/20140430/NEWS/140430009/Winston-suspended-from-FSU-baseball-team-?nclick_check=1

to view the Police press conference on the Crab Legs heist . . . its priceless . . .apparently Crawfish was also stolen. . . not sure about butter or other sauces. Dont know if paper or other material for Bib, handy-wipes or utensils were taken. However it is an active investigation as the story is fluid ( or juicy really ) . . . . .also reports that Steve Spurrier may have tipped off the Publix security forces

April 30, 2014 at 2:11 p.m.
jomo11 said...

It also appears that the Security Forces at Publix are a better defense than the one Auburn had

April 30, 2014 at 2:31 p.m.
WilliamRscott said...

So here is a dumb question. [I know you guys are saying "If it's from Billy, of course it's a dumb question."] Is it possible that Magic Johnson gets w/ this V. Whats-her-name chick and they set-up Donald Bozo? So Magic + his group can get ownership of the Clips...stranger things have happened...

Billy-In-Brainerd

April 30, 2014 at 3 p.m.
Stewwie said...

That's a fair question, Billy. And it's something that Sterling and/or the NBA may want to investigate. If Magic is indeed behind this crap and tries to use it to obtain ownership of a team, that to me is worth a lifetime ban from the game. We'll see what happens.

April 30, 2014 at 3:43 p.m.
sportsfan said...

Jay - for the mailbag. I'm getting a little nostalgic. Please bare with me on the query. Sportsfan Jr is off at the University and Little Miss Sportsfan is graduating high school in a few weeks and headed to the University. Both are much better athletes than Sportsfan and Mrs. Sportsfan. In the case of elite athletes (Tiger, MJ, Peyton, many others) is it natural talent, hovering parents, coaching, fear of losing, or something else that gives the athlete that "step on their necks drive" to be the best? We never pushed our kids to excel in athletics. We wanted them to enjoy themselves, but still they worked hard, did well, and experienced success along with disappointment. Neither will continue their athletic career at the University, and we're ok with that. I don't see the next Tiger on tour, yet. The guys I thought might be the next Tiger don't seem to have the same drive to win, or ability to maintain their game at the highest level. Is it in an athlete's genes, coaching, parents, fear, big money for winning, or something else that drives a kid to excel at the highest level in athletics? Enjoy the 5 at 10.

April 30, 2014 at 8:45 p.m.
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