A Google News search for the terms “Clippers owner” returns over forty-two thousand hits from New York and Los Angeles Times, Sports Illustrated, ESPN.com and a myriad of other outlets, whether large or small, reporting on the racist remarks of real estate billionaire Donald Tokowitz, who happened to purchase the Los Angeles Clippers basketball team in 1981 for $12.5 million (Tokowitz legally changed his name to “Sterling” for what I assume were business purposes).
Mr. Tokowitz, who has a long, well-documented history of racism and racist policies as a businessman (a compendium of which has been edited by Tim Burke of Deadspin), was recently recorded by his bi-racial mistress as justifying his racism because he “give[s] them food, and clothes, and cars, and houses.” He also justifies his beliefs because in Israel, “the blacks are treated just like dogs,” chalking it up to our “culture,” saying, “we have to live within that culture” rather than help foster change.
The culture Tokowitz is referring to appears to be that of the antebellum south’s plantation culture, only Tokowitz lives in 2014. Mr. Tokowitz is nothing more than a modern plantation owner – he has no use for blacks, or people of color, unless he can exploit them for monetary gain or stick his dick in them. For Mr. Tokowitz, Chris Paul, Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan are the slaves that have made his $12.5 million investment worth upwards of $575 million today (Doc Rivers is probably his version of Stephen from Django Unchained).
Mr. Tokowitz is the Los Angeles Clippers’ “owner” insofar that he purchased the franchise for millions of dollars. Tokowitz, however, does not own the Los Angeles Clippers – he owns a trademark, not a group of players. But, given his sordid history of racism, the idea that he fancies himself as a benefactor of “the blacks” in the same way that a southern plantation owner would have should not be surprising. After all, we continually refer to him as “Los Angeles Clippers owner, Donald Sterling”; Donald Sterling is Chris Paul’s “owner” not his boss.
Referring to the white millionaire and billionaire plutocrats who purchase sports franchises as “owners” does nothing but reinforce this sort of plantation owner mindset: “Do I make the game, or do they make the game? Is there 30 owners, that created the league?” Donald Tokowitz’s self-importance comes entirely from the fact that he signs paychecks that enable young black men to become conspicuous consumers, famously telling Danny Manning, “I’m offering a lot of money for a poor black kid.”
At some point, maybe we should stop referring to these rich white guys as “owners.” I don’t know what we should call them, and frankly I don’t care. Let’s just not allow them to delude themselves into believing that they own a bunch of “poor black kids” who help make their “owners” even more millions of dollars than they earn themselves. Because, while Donald Tokowitz may be the only purchaser of a sports franchise that we know to be a virulent racist, I highly doubt he’s the only one.