Limbaugh Bad for NFL, NBA Ignores Owner's Discrimination Lawsuits

Last month liberal media members armed with false allegations of racism went into a full-court press to prevent Rush Limbaugh from becoming an owner of the St. Louis Rams.

On Tuesday, the owner of basketball's Los Angeles Clippers settled a multi-million dollar discrimination lawsuit wherein it was alleged that he had for years tried to keep blacks and hispanics out of his apartment buildings.

This is actually the second such suit Donald Sterling has settled in the past four years.

Despite this, America's television news media, which had a field day going after Limbaugh last month, completely ignored the story.

Bucking the trend was sports columnist Dan Wetzel (h/t Shekhar Jain):

Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling agreed to pay $2.73 million this week to settle a federal case alleging he discriminated in the rental of apartments he owns with his wife in Southern California.

The settlement is "the largest monetary payment ever obtained" in this kind of case by the U.S. Justice Department, according to a news release from the organization.

It stems from allegations Sterling's company targeted and discriminated against blacks, Hispanics and families with children in renting apartments in greater Los Angeles. The settlement must still be approved by a federal judge but should also resolve two additional tenant-filed suits alleging racial discrimination. [...]

What the magnitude of this settlement should have done is create a wave of questions and condemnations of Donald Sterling from across the NBA.

Instead, most incredibly, there hasn't been a lick of public discussion.

The NBA said it has no plans to investigate or comment, according to a spokesman. Other owners have been silent. The NBA Player's Association has had no reaction and did not respond to messages. The players themselves have, best I can find, said nothing.

The media, which just last month went full force on the story of Rush Limbaugh becoming part of a potential NFL ownership group, has mostly ignored the deal.

So, where's the outrage?

Indeed. And, as Wetzel noted, this isn't a new issue for Sterling:

Four years ago his company agreed to settle a similar 2003 racial discrimination suit for an undisclosed sum - "one of the largest ever obtained in this type of case," according to the judge - and a reported $5 million in plaintiff legal fees. [...]

Since Sterling made no admission of guilt or liability in the settlement, the NBA's ability to take official action was greatly reduced. This isn't league business and there are no criminal charges.

Still, NBA commissioner David Stern could've stated he doesn't approve of an owner repeatedly being involved in these ugly cases. If he's so concerned with his player's off-court attire, why not his owners' off-court business? He could demand the Clippers raise funds and awareness for fair-housing advocacy groups.

To be sure, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell certainly felt the need to immerse himself in the Limbaugh case:

It's two different leagues, two different groups of people, two different circumstances, but the parallels with the firestorm that enveloped Limbaugh's potential bid to become a minority owner of the St. Louis Rams immediately spring to mind.

Limbaugh was engulfed from all directions. Players, owners, union officials - even NFL commissioner Roger Goodell - all voiced opinions, almost all negative. There was an avalanche of media coverage; in part, because Limbaugh delivers the ratings and page views. (Sterling is merely famous for being one of the worst owners in professional sports.)

Still, Limbaugh was attacked for expressing political views that some people find offensive. You may hate every word he says, but he wasn't repeatedly settling multimillion dollar racial-discrimination lawsuits.

You'd think Sterling was worth something.

Yes you would.

Yet apart from the silence on this matter from America's television media, the New York Times ignored this story, as did USA Today.

As for the Washington Post, here's what it alloted for this issue in the middle of its "Digest" piece on November 4:

Los Angeles Clippers owner and real estate mogul Donald Sterling has agreed to pay a record $2.73 million to settle allegations by the government that he refused to rent apartments to Hispanics, blacks and to families with children.

The Justice Department sued Sterling in August 2006 for allegations of housing discrimination in the Koreatown area of Los Angeles. Other defendants were Sterling's wife, Rochelle, and the Sterling Family Trust. . .

Some outrage, huh?

But there's actually more to this story, for something Wetzel didn't mention was that in February, Hall of Famer and former Clippers GM Elgin Baylor filed a -- wait for it! -- discrimination lawsuit against Sterling.

The Los Angeles Times reported on February 11:

Baylor charges that Sterling had "a pervasive and on-going racist attitude as expressed to then NBA player Danny Manning during contract negotiations."

The lawsuit, which was obtained by The Times on Wednesday night, alleges that Sterling once said of Manning: "I'm offering a lot of money for a poor Black kid."

The civil lawsuit also states that NBA Commissioner David Stern was present when Sterling made the remark about Manning.

Several pages later, Baylor claims that Sterling once told him that "he [Sterling] wanted the Clippers team to be composed of 'Poor Black boys from the South' and a White head coach."

By contrast, Limbaugh offered an opinion years ago about how the sporting press were treating Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb, and his potential minority ownership in a football team created a media frenzy.

Any questions? 

Sports Donald Sterling Dan Wetzel
Noel Sheppard's picture