Hundreds of e-mails sent asking my opinion on NBA Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling forces reflections on how far Black American athletes have come but remembering there's still much work to do.
Boxing, on a professional level, has seemingly been insulated from such blatant antics with promoters of every different ethnicity allowed to join in with boxers making their own determination as to who calls the shots.
Professional TEAM SPORTS doesn't have that luxury, owners having long been a 'Country Club' group, their exclusive membership kept tightly knit.
NBA players (as well as athletes in other sports) make millions of dollars individually and are in a position of economic freedom but have now collectively been reminded that some still consider them nothing more than benefactors of the generosity extended them for 'services rendered'.
The situation Sterling has now placed both himself and the NBA in should not only infuriate blacks but everyone from every walk of life, sports having been a safe haven from racism for quite some time.
The increase of minority athletes in professional sports has allowed a mingling of the races that transcends economic and racial boundaries, a great measuring stick for the appreciation of sports as entertainment, that until a few days ago had most forgetting ignorance remains that 'dirty little secret' rearing it's head in the form of racist actions.
The concern seems to be focused more on 'What will the Clippers players do next'? when the focus should be 'What's taking the NBA owners and their Commissioner so long to collectively hold a press conference denouncing Sterling and suspending him'?
The NBA owners taking so long to make their stance public forces the NBA players to now decide how they should collectively make their frustrations known, the playoffs being in full swing making this entire situation a detriment to not only the Clippers players but every team and players participating throughout the rest of the playoffs as well.
Whatever the path chosen by both groups in dealing with this matter it will be judged by history, that determination always harsh and long lasting.
NFL Washington 'Skins' owner Daniel Snyder refusing to acknowledge the request of Native Americans and reconsider the racist name (Redskins) his team uses, him emphatically stating 'We will never change the team name, it's that simple NEVER, and you can use caps', another subject closely related (not nearly as volatile) that has not garnered as much attention but indeed just as racist in attitude.
Donald Sterling is guilty of having a young girlfriend who is being accused of embezzling more than one million dollars and she decided to cover her butt by leading him into verbalizing his thoughts (know by many in the LA area) and recording his words in what could loosely be termed extortion, should he leave her hanging.
Donald Sterling has been honored several times by a California Chapter of the NAACP and them prepared to give him a 'Lifetime Achievement Award' until this recent scandal broke, their credibility now and forever zero.
Former Clippers GM and NBA Hall-Of Famer Elgin Baylor (22 years as a Clippers executive) in court proceedings testified Sterling had said he preferred 'poor black boys' on his team another indicator of this man's attitude toward blacks in particular, with Baylor's discrimination suit easily considered 'sour grapes' after 22 years in that front office.
Donald Sterling has previously demonstrated an attitude similar to that of the 'black plantation owner' ('slumlord' accusations plentiful) who wanted nothing more from his black workers than to 'know their place' and never venture outside of that scope, him now unable to mount any sympathy with those obviously racist comments giving him no escape.
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver, the NBA players and specifically the Los Angeles Clippers organization are at the point of controversy at the moment but every minority athlete should be aware that standing together collectively for the rights of their peers is the only way to rid the sport of a cancer like Donald Sterling.
Michael Jordan stepped up, 'Magic' Johnson stepped up, LeBron James stepped up, all denouncing the words of Donald Sterling with silence from who?
Donald Sterling will probably be allowed to stay, him being a member of the 'NBA owners brotherhood', unless the public, the NBA players and television sponsors band together and say, 'We will not tolerate racism, sexism or discrimination in any form'.
It remains to be seen just how 'culturally conscious' sports fanatics will be when faced with the prospect of having the 2014 NBA playoffs come to a grinding halt.
Prejudice, bigotry and racism have a chance to be staggered with a potentially knockout blow, all that remains to be seen is will it be the NBA Commissioner and it's owners or their players be the one to deliver the punch?
Entertainment sports as a whole should pay close attention, them dangerously close to soon having their own demons exposed.
Stephen Johnson feature writes for BORICUA BOXING.com