published Tuesday, May 13th, 2014

5-at-10: Sterling speaks, LeBron answers, Twitter experiment and Rushmore of Howards

Let's get to the get to.

From the "Talks too much" studios, whomever is Sterling's lawyer, here's an idea: Why don't you stop talking for a while Champ.


Guys, great back and forth Monday about the Donald Sterling situation. Interesting stuff and that type of exchanging of ideas is excellent.

  • photo
    Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald T. Sterling, right, sits with his wife, Rochelle, during a Clippers NBA basketball game against the Detroit Pistons in Los Angeles in this 2010 file photo.
    Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

Sterling's interview with Anderson Cooper was far from excellent, however. It was a verbal car wreck that you wanted to switch the channel but could not look away.

Sterling did not seem humbled by any of this, more embarrassed and a little irritated that he had to even address the situation.

Sterling did not come off very apologetic, spending more time launching insults and morality questions at Magic Johnson than addressing his situation. And while we look forward to Stewwie's post on this — seriously — Sterling's insane belief that he is not a racist because he pays black players millions of dollars so he can make tens of millions is mind-boggling. In fact, Sterling's rants were accurately described by Spike Lee as those of a plantation owner. (And this is not from a Spike Lee fan, and considering he's made a chunk of his fortune by exploiting racism in this country, the fact that Sterling has made Spike a rational voice in the race debate is staggering and speaks to Sterling's lack of merit.)

We welcome the debate — and it could be a lengthy one, not unlike the court battle that will follow.

And to answer some of the back and forth from Monday, we still believe the NBA can force Sterling out, and as for his quote about the laws of the country's constitution should overrule the rules of the league, well, not really. Not when it comes to the day-to-day operations and happenings in the specific business world that can and should be able to lift a level of expectation and propriety beyond the laws of the land..

We've used the Chick-Fil-A analogy before, and it still works. Or if you were at your job and decided to open a beer for example. If you are of legal age, opening a beer is hardly against the law but you likely would lose your job.

And that's what has happened to Sterling. He has lost his job as owner of the Clippers. And while some of you just threw your hands up in the air and said, "How do you lose your job owning something?"

Well, it's because as much as anyone, NBA owners all work under the logo. The league is the brand and the owners own and operate the 30 stores. And if we have read the NBA bylaws correctly, if the brand believes you are damaging the overall business because of unethical conduct or immoral positions, as dictated in the contract Sterling signed to own the club and in the league's bylaws, then any one can be forced out.

Is it over the top? That's debatable. But can the NBA do it? We believe so, but something tells us there will be several court verdicts along the way.

And what happens in the interim, in the lengthy and drawn out process where we get from today to legal resolution?

The Clippers players have made it clear they do not want to play for Sterling. That's understandable. Would the league void their contracts and let them be free agents? That's seems unlikely, but possible. What if Chris Paul and Blake Griffin were forced to stay and decided to give half effort until they were released? The Clippers tank the season in protest, a stink-in if you will, to the point that they could be 0-82.

Who knows where this is heading — other than court that is. But we do know this, every time Donald Sterling opens his mouth, the deeper he steps into this mess.


Any questions

Facing a tough Game 4 on the road that could either give his Heat a commanding 3-1 lead or make this a super-tight series, LeBron James went off.

The best player on the planet dropped 49 on the Nets in a 102-96 win that pushed Miami to a win from the Eastern Conference finals.

Dude was awesome in his awesomeness, needing only 24 shots to match his career-playoff high in points. He got to the rim routinely and refused to let the moment get away form him.

As impressive as his scoring total was, two of the game's defining moments did not include James making buckets. There was his drive-and-dish after the entire borough of Brooklyn collapsed in the paint that led to a Chris Bosh 3 that gave the Heat the lead for good. Defensively, as the Nets tried to get back to even in the final minutes, James blanketed Joe Johnson.

It was impressive. And needed.


Sam he is

  • photo
    Missouri defensive lineman Michael Sam runs a drill at the NFL football scouting combine in Indianapolis on Monday, Feb. 24, 2014.
    Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

The Michael Sam fall-out has been tiring. Whatever.

(That said, bad form on ESPN to show his smooch with his boyfriend as a 'highlight' over and over. We got it.)

We will ask this, however:

What's your view on the Marshall Henderson story line in this thing? Henderson, the former Ole Miss basketball star, threw out a couple of over-the-top Tweets about Sam, including this one:

"Boycotting sportscenter til this michael sam nasty [expletive, expletive] is off .... My brothers are 7 and 11 and saw that!!! #SICKENING"

The fall-out was immediate and harsh and clear. (Of course, no matter how you feel, the interweb morality police will nuke anyone that does not conform with the P.C. view.)

About an hour after the backlash, Marshall Henderson said it was part of a social media experiment, tweeting the following:

"One of my best friends, WHO IS GAY, is about to graduate in psychology, asked me to say these things so he can have responses ... TBC" and...

"The point of his study was to see how people react when others say things or act a certain way against another group of people ... TBC" and...


So, was Marshall Henderson, the man who became famous for his crazy shots and crazy ways including his slogan 'White Girl Wednesday,' politically incorrect or is he the face of social media experimentation?

It really has a "Dog ate my homework" feel, no?


This and that

— Think you can't do something? Wondering about whether the hurdles in your way are too extreme? Watch this about a table tennis player who lost his arms when he was 10 and holds the paddle in his mouth. Wow.

— Braves lost 4-2 to the Giants late Monday night as Tim Lincecum got a hair cut and looked like Tim Lincecum of 2009. The teams play again tonight. Yes, Danny Struggla sat again, replaced in the lineup by Ramiro Pena, who went 0-for-2 to drop to .195 on the season. Pena still leads the Braves second basemen in average over Uggla (.184) and Tyler Pastornicky (.143). Worse run for a position: Cleveland QB or Braves second basemen or Hawks point guard?

— Awful news that Marlins ace Jose Fernandez may be headed to the DL and need Tommy John surgery. Man that's tough.

— The Blazers extended their season by besting the Spurs in Game 4 last night. Spurs will try to end that one on Wednesday. Tonight, the Pacers look to finish the Wizards and the Clippers-Thunder play Game 5 tied at 2.

— Say what you will about his announcing style, but there is no debating that Dick Vitale is a caring, generous human being and one of the nicest big-timers in this business we've ever met. Vitale is trying to raise $250,000 for a grant in the name of Princess Lacey Holsworth, the 8-year-old girl who was part of the great story with Michigan State's basketball team. Lacey died April 8 after a three-year fight with cancer.

— Jameis Winston's dad says he needs 24-hour supervision. OK. What are you doing Mr. Winston? Sounds like a father-type gig. Seriously? C'mon. This is nuts. Or crabs. Either way, for a guy that said clearly last fall that he did not want to catch the Manziel disease, it seems if the Winston circus is several steps worse. Manziel was never involved in anything as serious as the sexual assault charge that Winston faced last year.


Today's question

There's a ton of stuff to chomp on today. Feel free to go at it.

If we need a lighter fare, well, it was 37 years ago today that Howard Stern started his broadcast career. While you can love or hate Stern all you want, dude changed his industry.

What's your Rushmore of Howards?

Go — and remember the 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 ...

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.
MocTastic said...

Rushmore is a big mountain, so how about a mountain of a Howard? Frank Howard. We best remember him for baseball, but he was also was a basketball All American at Ohio St and was a NBA draftee.

For TV Howards, one show was loaded, the Andy Griffith show. Ron Howard who played Opie Taylor, Clint Howard, Ron's brother, made occasional appearances. Howard McNear is fondly remembered as Floyd the barber. Howard Morris has one of tv's most memorable characters, Ernest T Bass. Finally Jack Dodson played the character Howard Sprague, the clueless city clerk.

May 13, 2014 at 10:09 a.m.
ordinaryguy said...

Rushmore of Howards...Howard Hughes, Ron Howard (JG you must specify if it is first or last name of Howard, Howard Cosell, and lastly Howard The Duck...

May 13, 2014 at 10:22 a.m.
jomo11 said...

Marshall Henderson. . .seriously dude ? . . .now we know why Henderson was NOT invited to the 60 player NBA combine, he is talented enough, but no one in the NBA wants to deal with this lose cannon.

for hard core Basketball fans Howard Garfinkel, the orginal basketball recruiting guru

May 13, 2014 at 10:39 a.m.
Stewwie said...

I didn't get a chance to see the Sterling interview yet so I can't comment on that at this point.

I think this situation and the Chick-Fil-A example are different. It's clear that a Chick-Fil-A franchise owner can't open on Sunday. So if one tries to do that, it's a clear violation of corporate policy. What Sterling did is not a clear violation of NBA corporate policy. Did he commit a crime? No. Did he intend to hurt the league's image with private comments that were not intended to be made public? No. But this is enough of a reason to force a guy out anyway? I agree with Mark Cuban's sentiments on this. Wonder how he'll vote.

And if the Clippers give half-effort and/or tank next year, that's on them. Yes, racism is a bigger issue than NBA basketball, but NBA basketball is also much bigger than one guy's opinions. Older black men who actually experienced real racism back in the day need to step up and tell these young guys to quit acting like little girls about this. What Sterling said was wrong, but get the heck over it already and play ball. This is nothing compared to what black players back in the day had to endure in all of sports.

May 13, 2014 at 10:45 a.m.
chas9 said...

Casey "Shaggy" Kasem is missing. Dementia is involved.

And Mrs. Sterling says her loose-mouthed husband suffers with dementia. I had begun to suspect that, especially after his latest unfortunate utterances. He can't unring the bell he rang, and the NBA has set its course, but compassion is in order for anyone afflicted with dementia.

No, I don't think Jay can blame his loose lips on dementia. He just talks too much.

But neither JG nor any other 5@10 wag commented on my observation yesterday that Marshall Henderson cost himself plenty with his homophobic tweet. Seems Gary Parrish has the same opinion as me. His basketball insider column is at Credit to Jay for coming a day late to the topic.

Don't confuse the Ole Miss gunner with any of the Curry family. The Marshall is Europe bound. He'd better go somewhere they don't understand English.

And despite what jomo said yesterday, Jay will touch anything. Absolutely anything.

May 13, 2014 at 10:46 a.m.
jgreeson said...

Stewwie —

Excellent point about the changing culture of racism. Paschall and the blockhead sports editor had two Negro League players on Press Row the other day, and we could not help but think about the different venoms of hatred.

Did you see Kareem Abdul Jabbar's op-ed piece in Time? He blasted Sterling and also the woman who taped him. It was interesting.

As for the Chick-Fil-A, yes, that's a clear no-no going in. The Chick-Fil-A caveat is cut-and-dried. The league has a morality clause, not unlike most contracts for most entertainment businesses that operate in the public view. This one is more subjective of course, but it's still part of the work culture. And opening on Sunday is not against the law either.

It will be interesting to see how Cuban votes. And when you see Sterling's interview, well, dude is a piece of .... work.

OG —

Howard the Duck. Nice.

There are more Howards out there than we realized.

Jomo —

No doubt. What a Bozo.

And didn't Howard work with Chris Simon on the first hoops prospectus? Seems like that duo made some hits back in the day.

MT —

Great Andy get. Well-played sir.

Although Howard Sprague represents Mayberry in color = bad.

May 13, 2014 at 10:57 a.m.
jomo11 said...

Jay- you are just bringing up a bridge over some troubled waters . .

May 13, 2014 at 12:58 p.m.
fechancellor said...

Ten Ring, it's a will see with Sam. Is he an activist or a football player? As alluded to yesterday, Sam, as a first of a kind in the league, might benefit from the studying the life and times of Jackie Robinson, a man who left lessons for all of us.

May 13, 2014 at 1:01 p.m.
GratefulDawg said...

Jay, regarding Donald Sterling you hit the nail on the head a couple of times in this column. Your reaction and mine to Sterling's interview must have been much the same. For a guy who keeps high-dollar attorneys on a retainer, where was the guy breaking down the basics for Donald? Rule 1: SHUT THE &^%$ UP! Rule 2: If you have already put yourself in a hole, stop digging. Rule 3: If any questions arise about the rules, refer back to Rule 1.

You also touched on a very important note that has been somewhat overlooked in this whole mess with Sterling. Yes, the Sterlings own the Clippers. If the Clippers operated as a privately held, independent entity the Sterlings could do as they damn well please on most every front. However, Donald Sterling is a franchisee operating under the umbrella of the NBA, the franchisor. When Donald bought the Clippers, he bought a franchise and contractually agreed to all of the restrictive covenants and morals clauses laid out by the NBA. I'm assuming Donald was of sound mind and body when he signed that contract. So for those saying that the players signed a contract and should get on with it and stop whining, that would be good advice for the Sterlings as well.

I've already spent more time talking about Donald Sterling than I ever intended to. That being said, after watching Donald Sterling's interview with Anderson Cooper and getting somewhat up-to-speed on the Marshall Henderson Twitter deal that Niner wrote about yesterday...You have freedom of speech in the country, not freedom from criticism and the occasional backlash. Donald Sterling's, that crazy girl tricked me into saying those things defense. Marshall Henderson's, I was conducting a psychological experiment for an unnamed friend of mine explanation(this is just a hunch, but I figure if you ask Henderson if he is more Jungian or Freudian he would just give you a blank stare and some awkward silence). Fertilizer prices should drop as we have an excess of bullstuff these days. If you want to be racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, etc., that's your call to make. If on the other hand you want to make statements putting down an entire segment of the population, but then whine like a petulant child when people rebuke your statements...Until such a time that you can develop the courage of your convictions and understand the relationship between freedom and responsibility, it's probably best just to keep those thoughts to yourself.

May 13, 2014 at 2:45 p.m.
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