Donald Sterling and Anti-Semitism

So unless you’ve been living under a rock, I don’t need to explain too much to you.  His lady friend released footage of a phone conversation where she got him to question her Instagramming photos of herself with a black man, and now the world is clamoring for him to sell his team.

What’s most striking to me about all this, is the strong whiff of Anti-Semitism in all this … the utter jubilation at the thought of stripping Sterling of his team, on such shaky charges, has the ring of Merchant of Venice.

Is what he said cringe-worthy?  Of course.  Does he have a history of questionable behavior?  Of course.  He’s a capitalist.  And capitalists don’t get rich writing checks.  His behavior is quite typical of his class.

Fortunately, in LA we have a nice case study of a slimy owner who we needled to sell his team: Frank McCourt.  And regarding his situation, LA Times Business columnist Michael Hiltzik said “The history of baseball ownership is a brimming cauldron of con men, hacks, racists, cheapskates and bankrupts.”  I promise you the bell curve doesn’t shift significantly to basketball or football team owners.

Of course, McCourt was embezzling money from the Dodgers, running the team into the ground.  And yet, nobody clamored to force McCourt to sell, we had to patiently convince him to sell and pony up enough money collectively to make it worth his while.

Compared to him, Sterling looks like a pretty decent guy.  Taking a nothing team from a nothing market to a championship team that rivals the Lakers over 30 years?  I’d say that’s decent management.

But the tune is far different with Sterling.  We take a questionable phone conversation, one that would never be admissible in court for a number of reasons, and wave it around as the crowning jewel in a case to strip a Jew of his prize possession and achievement.  And we celebrate that our consciences have been cleansed, with a nice new prize to boot!  Everybody wins!

And that’s the core of Anti-Semitism.

It’s putting all our guilt and shame of the injustices of Capitalism and the innate bondage of wage labor, and transferring it into an impossible moral standard on the Jews who actually manage to claw their way into a piece of the pie.  It’s taking this opportunity to have all the players complain that they’re being bought and sold on the market, like it’s STERLING’S fault, and not the entire institution.  It’s accusing Sterling of doing all the things every other rich person does to get rich, while the rest stay conveniently out of the hot seat.   As Chris Rock says, “It’s all right, because it’s all white!”

It’s the core of Anti-Semitism throughout history.  And if I may claim an exemption to Godwin’s rule, it’s what the Nazis did.  It’s going from “bankers run the world” to “Jewish bankers run the world”.  And rather than expropriating the expropriators, as that Communist Jew Karl Marx said, they expropriate only the Jews to cleanse their guilt and live another generation.

So, if we are to make some good sense ouf of this morass, there is one question to ask both players and the other owners.  And that is, what is it about Sterling that really gets them and makes them want to get rid of him?  The fact that he’s a racist, or the fact that he’s a JEEEWWW???

But this is not a question for us to ask them in public.  It’s for their mistresses to ask them (remember, the oppressed players have mistresses too, I’m looking at you Kobe Bryant), privately, needling the answer they want out of them, while recording the conversation and releasing it without their consent.

Frankly, you could probably buy this out of any number of mistresses for a couple million.  For Donald Sterling, this would be a trifling sum well worth the vindication.

POST-SCRIPT: as if the universe were nodding in agreement, the New York Times just posted an article about the one guy who went to jail for the 2008 financial crisis.  And guess what?  He’s a Semite.  (of course there’s also Bernie Madoff…)