Now that Shelly Sterling, and her co-owner husband of the Los Angles Clippers, Donald Sterling, have submitted to interviews with Barbara Walters and Anderson Cooper, we have officially crossed over to the exposé stage of Les Affaires Sterling. Contrary to traditional crises, where the “Up Close & Personal” interview is often the equivalent of a post-game wrap up of some sordid social concern, the Sterlings appearance before the cameras only caused them to soil their reputations further.
Standard advice to people who have hit “rock bottom” has long been to “stop digging”. Since the Sterlings haven’t heeded those simple words of wisdom, someone ought to throw them a shovel and let them keep on digging.
For those keeping score, it’s hard to believe Donald Sterling couldn’t make himself look any worse after his racist rants were leaked to TMZ. Good fortune would not prevail, however. In front of CNN’s Anderson Cooper the ostracized owner not only described his rumblings to V. Stiviano as “a terrible mistake”, for which he hopes to be forgiven – as many viewers probably expected – but he also had the audacity to attempt to diminish Magic Johnson’s character.
The verbal backhand came during Cooper’s attempt to clarify if the Clipper owner had apologized to Johnson for disparaging remarks made more than two weeks ago. Rather than a simple yes or no, Sterling alleged Magic doesn’t support minorities and hasn’t been a “good example for the children of Los Angeles”.
It is currently unknown, however, if Anderson Cooper was itching to respond with: “do you think Magic should buy himself a Lifetime Achievement Award from the LA Chapter of the NAACP?”.
Sterling rambled on, somewhat incoherently, and in so doing, plumbed the depths of poor taste and decency by calling attention to Magic’s 20-year battle (apparently cured) with HIV, and the possible causes.
It was a cringe-worthy, eye-rolling and ridiculous attempt to explain himself. By the time he’d finished it was apparent one of Sterling’s underlying obsessions with Magic Johnson was the ex-Lakers relative popularity with women “back in the day”. Even so, it was his generalizations of “blacks” and his negative characterization of other issues that left the Clippers boss deeper in his own hole and no ladder long enough to help him out.
If one of Donald Sterling’s major issues with Magic is women, it seems Shelly Sterling’s main issue with her husband is money.
Just a couple of days ago the scorned wife sat in front of Barbara Walters hoping to persuade the public not to view her through the same lens as her husband. Although she condemned his remarks, on the one hand, on the other insisted she no longer loves her husband of 60 years. Likewise, she is fine with his ouster from the NBA, provided she maintains her 50% ownership, yet she has spent 20 years delaying divorce proceedings on the advice of her financial consultant.
In fact, Shelly Sterling believes she is entitled to her share of the Los Angeles Clippers; a stake potentially worth $500 million, and by offering the hypothetical that the NBA wouldn’t ban a husband of a female owner under similar circumstances, suggested she will play the Gender Card to get it.
Hopefully the NBA will never have to react to such a scenario.
It is clear, however, that Shelly Sterling wants to paint herself as a victim of the whims and tirades of a bullying billionaire husband. But such claims fall flat when weighed against her financial interests. Also, according to the public record, there is plenty to suggest another reason she remains married is because she might be nothing more than a female version of her husband.
Like her husband, Shelly Sterling has weathered accusations of racism towards blacks and Latinos. If the media digs deeper into her background, there’s no telling how much dirt is going to fly.
No one wants to see this story get bigger. But with a billion dollars at stake and competing and predictable interests in play, it is unlikely this story will fade away anytime soon. Meanwhile, the Sterlings have proven themselves unable to stop digging.
If someone would be kind enough to throw them a shovel, however, maybe the Sterlings will do us the favor of digging their way to Africa.
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Thanks for reading! “Testiclees” is a freelance writer, based in Seattle, who lives out his real-life under the fictitious name of Scott Gentry. Readers can view his blog at testeeawards.wordpress.com, interact with him @testeeawards on Twitter, email at [email protected] or “like” on Facebook. Give us a follow while you’re at it – @LastWordOnSport, and “Like” our Facebook page!