Apr 24, 2014; Oakland, CA, USA; Los Angeles Clippers forward Blake Griffin (32) high fives guard Chris Paul (3) after a play against the Golden State Warriors during the second quarter of game three of the first round of the 2014 NBA Playoffs at Oracle Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Los Angeles Clippers: Win to Spite Donald Sterling, Don't Boycott

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The Los Angeles Clippers have a team that could win the NBA championship, despite their bush league owner Donald Sterling. As you may have heard, Sterling furthered his reputation as a racist by making some extremely insensitive remarks about other races. You can read about the details here. Some are calling for a boycott, but that would cause too much collateral damage. It’s much better to go all Major League on him and win the championship.

I understand the thoughts of many who have vowed to never attend another Clippers game or never spend any of their money on that team while Sterling is still the owner, but those people aren’t thinking about the far-reaching consequences of doing that.

DOC RIVERS GOT IT RIGHT

In an interview with ESPN, Rivers talked about how the team owes it to everyone to keep the focus on basketball, despite what the owner has said. He couldn’t be more correct. There will be a time and place for this to be dealt with, but during the postseason, after a grueling 82-game regular season? No way.

Yes, winning a championship would be some sort of reward to Sterling, but it would be a much greater reward to the men and women who work their butts off in the organization. For every person like Sterling in the organization, there are hundreds of people who respect and value diversity — unlike their “boss.”

WHAT A BOYCOTT WOULD ACCOMPLISH

I’m tempted to simply put “nothing” here, but let’s get into it. Boycotting Clipper games during the postseason would not only hurt Sterling, it would hurt the team and the arena workers, neither of which have anything to do with the issue. Taking away home court advantage by staying at home just hurts Chris Paul, Blake Griffin and the other 13 players who are fighting to win a championship.

Now, I could understand some sort of boycott starting at the beginning of the regular season next year — especially if the NBA doesn’t do anything to Sterling.

Certainly, free agents are going to have to think twice before accepting the money that the Clippers are going to offer them, but let’s be honest here — who likes their boss anyways? Basketball is a game, but it’s also their job. They come to work, do their job and cash their checks. They don’t have to like Sterling (and I’d guess most don’t).

A BETTER PLAN

Paul released a statement talking about the players and how they will honor their first role — basketball player — before they decide to become activists. That’s the best plan here. Going out and playing hard is the best way to deal with this right now. The league and the team are both doing investigations and justice will surely be served.

If the players want to address the situation, they should do so during the offseason. We have to remember that they are all under contract and have a responsibility. It would be one thing if Sterling were to make things difficult (or different) for black players. If he were discriminatory in any fashion towards his team or employees, they could certainly take a lot of different paths to remedy the situation.

Unfortunately, Sterling hasn’t done anything illegal. He’s a disgusting and despicable man who has been down this road before. What good would it do to punish everyone in the organization when it’s Sterling that deserves to be the focus? The Clippers need to just go out and play. Winning games is the best remedy for now, not boycotting — that can wait until after the season.


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