Monday, June 9, 2014

4 comments Yeah, It Sucks Donald Sterling Sold the Clippers for $2 Billion But What Did Scoop Jackson Expect to Happen and What's His Solution?

Scoop Jackson sort of throws a little gasoline on a fire and then walks away in this column. He says the value of racism was confirmed with Donald Sterling's sale of the Clippers to Steve Ballmer for $2 billion. That's pretty much all Scoop says and then he stops writing. There are so many things wrong with this article. 

1. The NBA forced Sterling to sell the Clippers. Did Scoop think the team would be sold for $1? Did he think Sterling would receive a check from a potential buyer and then it comes up non-sufficient funds when he tries to cash the check and so he had lost his NBA team and had no money from the sale? Did Scoop think Adam Silver would send two thugs to rob Sterling of his money before he could cash the $2 billion check? (And yes, I know it isn't a check)

2. Isn't this a better lesson in free market economics? The NBA forced Sterling to sell. He did and his team is valued on the free market at $2 billion. The free market won, not racism.

3. What's the solution? Scoop, in typical shitty fashion, throws out all sorts of racial indicators for why Sterling is able to make so much money selling the Clippers, but he provides zero solutions. What would he have suggested happen? The NBA force Sterling to sell and then he gets $0 of the sale? Other than general whining about Sterling making money off a team he rightfully purchased and was forced to sale, what's the solution? Scoop has none. He prefers to throw gasoline on a fire and then walk away, letting others figure out how to stop the fire.

4. If Sterling had sold the Clippers for even $1 billion, then wouldn't that have also shown the value of racism? What's $2 billion compared to $1 billion? In fact, if Sterling got $500 million for the Clippers, he still has made a shit-ton of money off the sale of the Clippers and will continue to be super-racist and super-rich. It's a weak argument Scoop is making where the only real solution he would seem to enjoy is that Sterling doesn't make a dollar off the Clippers team that he is being forced to sell. That's not realistic. While Sterling may be a racist asshole, being a racist asshole isn't a crime (well, unless you are a racist asshole that discriminates on who he will rent property, which also describes Sterling...of course the NBA was totally fine with that at the time), and saying racist things doesn't mean you should forfeit all property and possessions. Sterling lost his NBA team. That was a victory. Forcing him to sell the Clippers and give him $0 of the proceeds of the sale for being racist isn't a realistic solution.

How sad is this?

A man gets publicly exposed for being a transparent racist and is universally vilified on every media and social platform known to man. He is forced out of the NBA by a commissioner who seemed to take unbridled pride in initiating the process of removing the owner from the league.

Sterling was forced to sell his team. He lost his NBA team, but would get money in return. He got $2 billion in return for selling a franchise in a huge market with two big stars on the team and a head coach who has an NBA Title. The Clippers have value, and so when the team is sold, Sterling reaps the reward of this value in the form of money.

now is on the verge of being rewarded with one of the largest windfalls in professional sports history.

$2 billion.

I wouldn't say he is being rewarded. He's being forced to sell the team and clearly doesn't want to do this. After being forced to sell, there was an offer of $1.6 billion from Oprah (I guess Scoop sees Oprah as part of the problem now for propping up and trying to make a racist wealthy?), so Steve Ballmer topped that offer. Sterling didn't commit a crime, he was forced to sell his team and there is no way to make sure he doesn't make money on the team he is being forced to sell.

Scoop isn't interested in the solution, he's interested in bitching, calling something racist and then moving on with his life. 

The Los Angeles Clippers, the same team that just six months ago Forbes valued at $575 million (13th on the NBA Team Valuation list), now has an offer for almost four times the worth of its January value (which is also four times higher than the most money ever exchanged for an NBA franchise).

NBA teams don't often go up for sale and NBA teams in Los Angeles don't often go on sale. The Lakers were valued in that same Forbes article as being worth $1.35 billion. There was an offer of $1.6 billion for the Clippers on the table. This isn't a case of Ballmer bidding against himself. There was another offer on the table that would have made Donald Sterling filthy rich and the lead face on that bid was a black female. Not coincidentally, Scoop leaves this part out of his screed about the unfairness of life and how racism is now valued at $2 billion.

And they say racism has no value -- or place -- in America.

Sterling was forced to sell his team. That was his punishment, even if it doesn't seem like enough. What's the solution? Is the solution to force Sterling to sell his team then say, "But you will have to actually give your team away for $0"? I'm pretty sure the legal system wouldn't be on the NBA's side in that situation.

On the surface there's almost no other way to look at this. Somehow Donald Sterling's comeuppance became a come up.

If the initial thought is "That's racist" and you don't care to look at this from a free market perspective, then yes, there's no other way to look at it. You just have to keep your eyes closed and hold tight to your assumptions. It wasn't Ballmer bidding against himself. He had competition who was offering closer to $2 billion than $1 billion.

Yes, there are other factors that should be taken into consideration,

And of course, Scoop WILL NOT be considering these other factors. Full speed ahead, racism wins.

I'm very interested to know what Scoop expected Sterling to receive in return for selling the Clippers. I get the feeling he would be bitching even if the franchise was sold for $600 million. After all, that still makes Sterling a very wealthy man and the same argument that racism pays could be used in this instance as well. So the only other way to look at this from my perspective is that regardless of how much the Clippers sold for, Scoop Jackson was writing an article about how racism pays.

I'm not saying that other NBA owners will look at this situation and use it as a template drive up the value of their teams. But what can't be ignored is that if none of this Sterling B.S. had ever happened, the value of the Clippers if sold today might have been "around $900 million," as ESPN business reporter Darren Rovell said on "Mike & Mike."

This is pure speculation based on Rovell's opinion. Not to mention, Sterling would not even be selling the Clippers if this situation had not occurred. That's the punishment right there. He is forced to sell (not give away) his team. And again, a pertinent point that Scoop isn't acknowledging is that a black female person bid $1.6 billion on the Clippers. Sure, this still means that racism wins, but it certainly gives a new perspective on the situation. 

How did the consequence of the public's disgust over the racist comments, beliefs and feelings of an owner become an upgrade to the value of a business by $1.1 billion in less than 30 days?

So if Sterling had "only" made $900 million on the sale then Scoop would have had no issue with the sale of the Clippers, as if $900 million is pocket change, and racism got a good kick in the ass? I really, really doubt it. This same column would be written.

What precedence does this set? What example beyond just the sale of the team does this leave?

Keep asking open-ended questions and providing zero answers. You are doing great, Scoop! Complain about the problem, but provide no solutions.

Yes, the situation was unique. Yes, there was a deadline in place that drove the interest in the team to a whole other stratosphere. Yes, Steve Ballmer desperately wanted a shot at getting an NBA team (he'd attempted it in the past and the deal fell through), so he was willing to make sure he overbid on the market value to keep other interested buyers away. 

These would be "the other factors" taken into consideration as to why the price was driven so high. You know, market factors that Scoop probably doesn't understand nor does he care to understand when screaming about racism. I'm baffled at what Scoop expected. Does he consider $900 million to be a really fair amount for Sterling to receive in return for the Clippers? That seems like a lot of money to me.

True, this is L.A. we are talking about, not Milwaukee, where the recent $550 million sale of Bucks was often used as a comp for the going price of non-championship-caliber NBA franchises.

If you can't understand the difference in value of a lottery team in Milwaukee and a playoff team in Los Angeles then you simply aren't trying to understand. The Clippers have two young franchise cornerstones in a very attractive market. The Bucks may (maybe) have some franchise cornerstones in a market that is not Los Angeles.

The punishment for being outed as a racist against blacks and other minorities in this country still pays dividends.

This would have been true no matter whether Sterling got $550 million or $2 billion. It's all a lot of money. Seeing as how he was forced to sell the team, I simply don't know what outcome Scoop was expecting.

And true, Sterling himself may never see or be able to personally do anything with the money, but his family will benefit greatly.

The entire Sterling family shouldn't be punished because Donald Sterling is a racist. I'm pretty sure he wasn't leaving his family destitute when he died anyway.

Generation after generation of Sterlings will reap the extra estimated billion-dollar benefit from the sale of the Clippers because it was discovered their patriarch felt about blacks the same way as a plantation owner.

No. Generation after generation of Sterlings will reap the billion-dollar benefit from the sale of the Clippers because he bought them for $12 million in 1981. I like how Scoop is using the punishment of Sterling, forcing the sale of his team, as some sort of culpable action that was in some way a positive designed to benefit Sterling. The NBA couldn't simply get rid of Sterling, they did what they could do, which was force him to sell his team. Now his racist ass has nothing to do with the NBA. It was a pretty extreme move, but now Scoop is upset about how this just made Donald Sterling more money. I have a feeling if the NBA didn't make Sterling sell the Clippers then Scoop would be upset about that.

There is a deeper discussion to be had here, but I'm not going to have it in this space because Scoop isn't interested in that discussion. He writes a column that only touches on issues of race and then stops writing. He's interested in bitching about every possible outcome rather than creating solutions or providing alternatives for what he thinks the outcome should have been.

Similar to the financial benefits still reaped today off the business that was slavery.
Okay, Scoop. Let's stay on the topic. I'm still waiting on the idea for a solution to this situation.

The sale of the Clippers is just another reminder of how America at the core works. Money over everything. Not black, not white, but green. Money first, and everything else in second place.

The NBA forced Sterling to sell the team. He sold the team. Now Scoop Jackson is mad Donald Sterling made money off the Clippers. Did he think they would go for $15.99 at a yard sale? NBA franchises are valuable and Sterling was going to be a rich man when forced to sell the team.

Damn the message we were supposed to learn. Damn whatever we were supposed to take away from the activities and behavior that yes, took away his team, but gifted four times the original business's worth.

The lesson is that Sterling is a racist and the NBA made a statement they aren't going to let openly racist people own an NBA team. Again, the NBA can't force Sterling to sell the team and then say he can't keep the money from selling the team. Just in the same way if Scoop Jackson wrote something offensive and was fired as a writer for ESPN I couldn't stop him from receiving a severance package. It wasn't a gift to Sterling, it was the value of his franchise as decided by what someone was willing to pay for said franchise.

Where is the expected justice -- now that the country could no longer deny who Sterling really was -- that he would be made to pay?


In a free, predominately white male-owned and operated enterprise system, if a dollar can be turned into $2 billion, more power to the person who can do it.

Actually, $12 million was turned into $2 billion. Also, if Steve Ballmer had not purchased the Clippers then Oprah would have been the one to turn Sterling's $12 million into $1.6 billion. I'm sure Scoop would have had an issue with a black, female woman paying to take over an NBA team from a racist. He would probably write something like, "This is how it is in America, to stop racism it costs $1.6 billion. RACISM CAN BE BOUGHT OFF IN AMERICA!"

Which means the only thing more American than Donald Sterling is America itself.

Great deep thought to end the column and then be out. There's nothing more American than bitching about something and having absolutely no clue how to fix it nor providing any solutions. It sucks Donald Sterling made so much money, but what was the alternative? The NBA forced Sterling to sell the Clippers, so he did, and now he made money off the sale. Maybe $2 billion is considered "too much" but is $600 million a much better lesson to Sterling when he bought the team for $12 million?


Eric Long said...

This idea is really short-sighted. Donald Sterling used the Clippers as his cash cow for decades. He made gobs of money specifically by putting together a terrible team and not paying out large contracts. I grew up a Clippers fan in LA, and have vivid, sad memories of terrible season after terrible season. Donald Sterling had no intention of ever selling this team. He loved the power of being able to run it any way he chose (usually poorly).

With that said, he did not get a $2B reward for being a racist. Sterling has done deplorable things, but there is no legal or civil basis for just taking away his asset. The NBA does not have the power to just take the franchise from him. They did what they could: make him sell it. He was forced to relinquish possession.

Here's a good question for Scoop Jackson: If a man walks down the street and beats the hell out a guy and puts him in the hospital (let's say it's a hate crime based on race to add a little more severity), what is the consequence and what should it be? The real consequence would likely be jail time. In addition, the person delivering the beating would likely be responsible for all medical bills plus pain and suffering. Let's go a bit further and say that the beater has a $2B asset. Would the legal system assume control of this asset with no recompense in response to the crime? Absolutely not! This whole argument is bogus and is race-baiting in my opinion. Racism is enough of a problem in our society without garbage like this clouding the real issue.

Bengoodfella said...

Eric, I wish there was something to be done, but there isn't. You know? Scoop Jackson can't start saying "Make him sell the team!" and then get pissy when Sterling makes money off selling the team. The price was really high, which surprised me, but teams in LA don't go on sale every decade or anything. There were other bidders willing to pay for the team.

It's a tough situation and I understand the frustration, but Sterling made $2 billion because he owned an NBA team and wanted to sell that team. Still, he doesn't want to sell, which I think is a pretty good indication the money means something to him, but the power means more.

Maybe Sterling should pay in another fashion, but nothing can be done. He was forced to sell the team, so he did.

Eric Long said...

I agree with you on the price. I'm not sure an NFL team would sell for $2B (maybe the Cowboys?). Yet the Clippers are worth $2B?

Also, suddenly, Sterling doesn't want to sell. Hmmm. This is going to get interesting.

Bengoodfella said...

Eric, yeah I know. I post this and now he doesn't want to sell at this point? I'm confused.