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Talk with D-Rok: Sterling and symbionts

By Derek Helling, Sports Editor | May 01, 2014
Photo by: Journal file photo Derek Helling

The sports world is abuzz this week with the news about Donald Sterling, the Buffalo Jills cheerleading squad and John E. Williams III’s lawsuit against the Seattle Seahawks. All these issues are just symptoms of a bigger problem, however. Parts of a whole got to thinking they could operate just as well without the other parts.
One of the things that I love about sports is that they act as a microscope that enable us to clearly see our culture in a way that would be impossible if we looked at society as a whole. It’s the cliché of not being able to see the forest through the trees.
Sterling’s banishment from the NBA has resulted from a clear case of narrow vision and a poor understanding of labor relations. Among Sterling’s infamous comments about his players were his expression that his players needed him because it was he that put food on their table and gave them a place to live. While it’s true that he is the owner of the team, that he was the sole source of all their worldly goods is errantly simplistic.
The reality in professional sports is that the majority of the money which pays players’ salaries comes not from the owner’s wallet but from the varied and many companies who pay to have their product advertised during radio and television broadcasts.  After that, the next biggest revenue stream is a combination of ticket sales, merchandising royalties and concessions splits.
Sterling was the figurehead at the top of all the operations. He chose to fly too close to the sun, though. He forgot that the share of the revenue he gets comes from the same place as the players. The heat that his ego has brought has melted the wax in his wings.
The same thing is true of the Buffalo Jills story. If the allegations of the five former Buffalo Bills cheerleaders are true, then the Bills’ brass fell into the same trap of thinking their situation would go unchanged no matter how poorly they treated these women. To pull a line from a Star Wars movie, “you are symbionts. What happens to one will affect the other. You must understand this.”
Not only do those in positions of power in sports need those who work underneath them in the hierarchy, but the opposite is true as well. Williams has filed a suit against the Seahawks, alleging that they fixed this past January’s NFC Championship game by restricting who could purchase tickets to the game.
By filing the suit, Williams has lost sight of his place as well. Seattle is part of the same league that his beloved 49ers are a part of, the NFL. The NFL runs not on the immaterial sentiments of its fans, but on dollars. By trying to take money from the league and change the rules that have made it as prosperous as it is, he is biting the hand that feeds him his beloved professional football.
These trees have enabled us to see the forest of an important lesson. That lesson is that we need each other. When any person or group gets to thinking that it/he/she can thrive independently of the structures and/or individuals that have brought it to its current level of success, that party is in danger of losing the ground gained.
Don’t forget where you’ve come from and appreciate those who have helped you along the way. Failing to do so will land you in the same place Sterling has found himself, on the outside looking in to what was just hours ago yours.

Comments (9)
Posted by: Glen Peiffer | May 09, 2014 20:05

Race and the new century 
by Thomas Sowell

In the high-tech world that is already upon us and shows every sign of expanding dramatically in the next century, know-how is king. People who started businesses in garages have gone on to earn fortunes because they had the know-how. You don't even have to find someone to hire you. You can start up your own business.

People from India are not only hired in Silicon Valley, they own their own companies in Silicon Valley. So much for the color line. But you have to have the know-how. And even college-educated blacks are seldom going into the fields where you can get high-tech know-how. Ghetto schools seldom provide the skills on which science and engineering are based.

The public schools are where the battle needs to be fought, but too many black political "leaders" are too dependent on labor unions in general and the teachers union in particular to fight that battle. And they are too dependent on a vision of victimhood to risk telling young blacks that they have to get their own act together too.

On the contrary, Jesse Jackson is currently defending hoodlums who have been expelled from school. This is a classic example of black "leaders" who are leading their people to cultural suicide, just as surely as cult leader Jim Jones led his followers to physical suicide in Guiana. There are few things more dishonorable than misleading the young.

It is an old cliche that generals try to fight the last war over again.

That is what a whole generation of black "leaders" are doing -- fighting the old war against the color line. Jesse Jackson's claim that blacks are shut out of Silicon Valley jobs is that old war -- as well as a lie. Blacks with the technical know-how already own their own businesses in Silicon Valley.

Fortunately, Silicon Valley CEO T. J. Rodgers challenged Jackson to a public debate on the issue -- and Jesse backed out. Too many other CEOs in too many other corporations find it easier to pay off Jesse Jackson and other hustlers. That may be the path of least resistance for these corporations, but it is a disservice to America, including black America.

It has been said that the truth will set you free. In the present situation, the truth is the only thing that will set young blacks free. So long as a whole generation of young blacks continues to be told, day in and day out, that their problems are caused by whites, they are never going to be prepared to take advantage of the opportunities in Silicon Valley or anywhere else.

Many of those who still push the old party line on race also try to get young blacks to study hard in school and prepare themselves for the opportunities available. But mixed messages don't hack it.

All across the country, there are heartbreaking stories about young blacks in schools who condemn those among them who try to be good students as "acting white." Sometimes the condemnation extends to ostracism and beyond -- to outright violence.

Many blacks who are sending mixed messages to the young are horrified at such attitudes. But there is no point creating the cause and then being appalled at the effect.

Perhaps the biggest problem of the 21st century will be moving on beyond the problems of the 20th century to confront the new realities -- and the new opportunities. But that may require a whole new generation of black leaders to arise, no longer looking back at the struggles of the 1960s but ahead to the demands of a very different world. That takes time. But it ought to start now.

Even President Obama said, "Children who grow up without a father are five times more likely to live in poverty, nine times more likely to drop out of schools and 20 times more likely to end up in prison."



Posted by: Glen Peiffer | May 06, 2014 04:39

This past weekend, Rutgers University’s Class of 2014 had a rare opportunity to hear someone who combines both a notable presence and an exceedingly interesting story. It’s a tale of a black woman who rose from poverty in the Jim Crow South to become one of the most highly regarded diplomatic, geopolitical and academic minds on the planet. In fact, she overcame almost ridiculously long odds to become one of the most powerful women — most powerful people — on the planet. Like anyone who has climbed to the loftiest heights of society, she has her detractors. Her story is practically an American dream case study, a fact acknowledged by the Rutgers Student Government when it voted 25-17 to extend its invitation to Rice. Following repeated, albeit poorly attended, protests by a fringe bunch of undereducated but over-radicalized kids, Rice withdrew from the engagement. What a perfect parting lesson for the graduating class:  even if you may not have learned something useful in four years of women’s studies and interpretive dance classes, just kick, scream and stomp your feet until you get your way. Maybe these students were too busy protesting the intolerance of Donald Sterling to hear Rice’s story.

–Ben Crystal

Posted by: Glen Peiffer | May 05, 2014 06:34
Posted by: Glen Peiffer | May 05, 2014 05:33

On April 22, 2014, in a 6-2 opinion, the Supreme Court upheld Michigan's ban on affirmative action. Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote the majority opinion, Justice Sonia Sotomayor authored the dissenting opinion. On Nov. 7, 2006, Proposal 2, a ballot initiative known as the Michigan Civil Rights Initiative passed with 58 percent of the popular vote. It amended the State Constitution to prohibit preferential treatment on the basis of race, gender, national origin and ethnicity in public education, public employment, and public contracting. U-M President Mary Sue Coleman has been active in her commitment to diversity.

Posted by: Glen Peiffer | May 04, 2014 13:30

I have contacted Mary Sue Coleman several times demanding that she replace a number of the black players on the University of Michigan basketball  and football team with midgets so that there would be more diversity and compliance with the American Disabilities Act. So far she has refused.


Walter E. Williams
According to the National Institutes of Health, male infants 1 to 3 months old should be fed 472 to 572 calories per day, whereas their female counterparts should receive 438 to 521 calories per day (http://tinyurl.com/nj35qvh). That's an official sex-based caloric 10 percent rip-off of baby females. In addition to this government-sanctioned war on women, one wonders whether the NIH has a race-based caloric rip-off where they recommend that black newborns receive fewer calories than white newborns.
There are a couple of other inequalities that cannot be justified, much less tolerated, in a society that values equality. Jews are only 3 percent of the U.S. population, but they take 39 percent of U.S. Nobel laureates. That's a gross disparity, for which there is no moral justification. Ask any academic, intellectual, or civil rights leader and he'll tell you that equality and diversity means that people are to be represented across socioeconomic lines according to their numerical representation in the population. The fact that Jews are 39 percent of U.S. Nobel laureates can mean only one thing -- they are taking the rightful Nobel laureates of other racial groups.
Jews are not the only people taking more than their fair share of things. Blacks are 13 percent of the population but have taken nearly 80 percent of the player jobs in the National Basketball Association. Compounding that injustice, they are highest-paid NBA players. Blacks are also guilty of taking 66 percent, an unfair share, of professional football jobs.
Any American sharing the value of race and sex equality and diversity should find these and other differences offensive and demand that the liberal and progressive elements in society eliminate them.

Posted by: Glen Peiffer | May 02, 2014 05:01

The firemen were shouting not to look back. The DAC became like a ghost tower frozen in time like the Heisman Trophy sitting in the lobby. Just as Lot’s wife disobeyed the Lord by looking back at the city as it was being destroyed by fire and brimstone.

Posted by: Glen Peiffer | May 01, 2014 22:58

"To pull a line from a Star Wars movie, “you are symbionts. What happens to one will affect the other." 

I totally agree with you. Most people don't understand that. It is what destroys organizations, teams, clubs and even companies and communities. People think that they are getting ahead by undercutting associates but in the end, they all loose. It may work in their favor in the short run but in the long run, it destroys them as well. Like they say about the rotten apple that destroys the barrel of apples. It's true. The real question is, "How do you get people to work together as a team?" That takes real leadership that few have. It is a rare skill indeed. Someone that inspires and motivates and has the following and respect of others.

Posted by: Glen Peiffer | May 01, 2014 21:59

Larry Elder

Larry Elder


Despite his obvious anger, Sterling never says the "n" word. He expresses admiration for Johnson. He says to the girlfriend, almost in disbelief, "You think I'm a racist!" The now ex-girlfriend is currently being sued by the Sterling family for allegedly embezzling almost $2 million. She sounds shallow and manipulative, clearly trying to get him to say some really bad stuff to retain what she has -- or to cash in for more.

For this Jerry Springer stuff, Sterling is deemed unfit to own a team?!

Move over Cliven Bundy, who moved over George Zimmerman. Meet America's Next New Great White Defendant (the Tom Wolfe term from "Bonfire of the Vanities"). He can be savaged in the media. No special interest group is going to come forth and defend a white male. This time it's Donald Sterling.

This "racist" hired an expensive, championship-winning black coach, who happens to be married to a white woman. He pays his black starting point guard $18 million annually. His payroll is the sixth most expensive out of 30 teams. Oh, and the "racist's" girlfriend is a black Latina.

If Sterling is unfit to own a team now that he's expressed racial animosity, what about superfan Spike Lee's racial animosity? Should Lee be banned from games? A courtside fixture at Knicks games, Lee once said he dislikes interracial couples: "I give interracial couples a look. Daggers. They get uncomfortable when they see me on the street." Should the NBA investigate the suitability of an expressed hater of interracial couples to have such a prominent perch at the Garden?

About racism, consider this. A 2013 Rasmussen poll found that as between blacks, whites and Hispanics, blacks are the most racist -- even according to blacks. Should we screen players and fans for racism before they enter the stadium?

Black unemployment went up last month from 12 percent to 12.4 percent. We have sky-high teen unemployment, especially among blacks. National debt is up substantially. Entitlement programs remain on an unsustainable path. Fifty years of welfare state policies have de-stabilized families and created fatherless homes -- all of which exacerbate problems of crime, school dropout rates, under-education and government dependency.

Even President Obama said, "Children who grow up without a father are five times more likely to live in poverty, nine times more likely to drop out of schools and 20 times more likely to end up in prison."

Can black and white victicrats take a day off from being "offended"? Dolts -- whether Bundy or Sterling -- who are incapable of harm, say stupid things. The real issues -- under-education, lack of jobs and irresponsible breeding and parenting -- have nothing to do with Sterling's jealousy and will not be resolved by his public flaying.

But no, let's talk about Sterling.

Posted by: Glen Peiffer | May 01, 2014 21:31

Totally unrelated to your article, but years ago I was a member of the Downtown Athletic Club in New York. The Downtown Athletic Club, was a private social club and athletic club in a 45-story building located at 20 West Street in Lower Manhattan.

The Club was founded in 1926. By 1927, it had purchased this site next to the Hudson River to construct its own building. It was completed in 1930.

The high cost of land necessitated a tall building, and the relatively small lot size dictated that the different functions and facilities of the club, including swimming pool, gymnasium, squash and tennis courts, as well as dining rooms and living quarters, be accommodated on separate floors. It was most famous for its annual awarding of the Heisman Trophy in its building, given every year to the most outstanding college football player, and named after John Heisman, the club's first athletic director. The club was less than half a mile south of the World Trade Center and closed after the September 11, 2001 attacks. The club never reopened, and declared bankruptcy in 2002. The clubhouse within the building was not physically damaged in the attack on September 11, 2001, but it was located within the "frozen zone" from which the public was excluded for an extended period during the clean-up after the attack. The club's finances could not withstand the financial impact of such a long closure. The members, as well as the dedicated managers and employees, some who had been with the club for over 20 years, were devastated at the loss of the club and their livelihood. I believe there were eleven members who were killed on 9/11.

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