Donald Sterling And The Question

Donald-SterlingNBA Commissioner Adam Silver just held a press conference concerning the Donald Sterling controversy. Sterling’s been banned, fined and pressured to sell the team. The commissioner had no choice and I fully agree with his decision (as much of it as I know right now).

It is not a surprise there are mean spirited jerks running teams. Baseball had Marge Schott, who once defended Hitler. Basketball still has Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov whose fortune came under ‘interesting’ circumstances.

Kremlin leaders gave him what amounts to an insiders opportunity to buy one of the state’s most valuable assets. It was acquired from the Kremlin in a so-called auction for the measly sum of a few hundred million dollars in a process that even Prokhorov’s business partner admits wasn’t perfect, and probably not even legal under Western standards. But it was legal in Russia”. – 60 Minutes

If you didn’t watch the press conference you probably didn’t hear this question asked toward the end. I don’t have the exact words, but a reporter asked Silver a question that began, “As a Jew…”

Silver is Jewish. Sterling is Jewish. I am Jewish.

Silver dodged the question. I won’t. As a Jew I am mortified. It’s not the first time.

Maybe I’m the naive one here. It’s how I was brought up. Maybe I shouldn’t expect more from any single group of people. I do.

There’s a limit to how much Sterling can be punished. He will be allowed to sell, not have his team taken. That is as it should be. However, it means Sterling will be capable of laughing all the way to the bank, should he choose.

Jerks like him are capable of that.

White Dogs Can’t Jump

If there was an NBA sofa sleeping contest Doppler would be the paws down champ!

We’re at the end of a lazy day spent at home. The NBA slam dunk contest is on the TV. I’m not much of a pro hoop fan. It’s only marginally entertaining.

Paul George of the Pacers just made a dunk over a 7′ 2″ teammate. I couldn’t clear 7′ 2″ with my chin much less the more sensitive body parts he put at risk!

Meanwhile Doppler is totally uninterested. She spent most of the day on the sofa in repose. I am so jealous of her ability to take it easy round-the-clock.

If there was an NBA sofa sleeping contest Doppler would be the paws down champ!

A Wonderful Day

This is about yesterday, Saturday. We didn’t do anything special, but it was a great day.

Helaine and Steffie want me to update the look of my eyeglasses. I haven’t had my eyes checked in a while, so I made an appointment for this coming Friday. Uh oh – that didn’t fit in with Steffie’s schedule.

We went to the optical center yesterday to pick out frames. I’ll go back Friday to get my eyes checked. I suspect that’s not the usual order of things.

Currently, my glasses are oval shaped. The new glasses are rectangular. I worry about making a Kerri Russell fashion faux pas.

“I used to like Geoff…. but something’s changed. I just can’t put my finger on it.”

Helaine says it’s good for me that the girl who waited on us had no idea who I was. She thinks I need more humility. Humility is so overrated.

It was great spending time with Steffie. I’m sure she’ll cringe when she reads this, but there’s a whole lot of maturity and understanding that wasn’t there a year or two ago. She’s funny and intelligent. She’s fun to be with.

Don’t ask why, but along the way I developed this desire to go go-cart riding. We headed to “The Game” in North Haven.

Before we had a chance to cart, we headed to the batting cage.

I’ve never been an athlete and yesterday was no exception. However, I didn’t make a fool of myself. Steffie and Helaine did the batting cage too and were great.

Truth is, hitting the ball with the bat wasn’t important. We just had a good time kibitzing and laughing and being a family.

Go-carts was a bad idea. I drive a car that can do 150 mph. Maybe a go-cart isn’t the same thrill it used to be.

This is the same problem the Harlen Globetrotters have. They were great… until NBA players started showboating. Now, what’s the big deal?

We scoured Route 5 looking for a diner… and found one. Every diner I know of is owned and run by Greeks. They really have it down to a science.

What is it about us and diners? Are we the anti-gourmand family? The food was great, especially my chicken pot pie with homemade crust.

When you add it all up it, nothing we did was so special. On the other hand, it was totally amazing.

You understand, right?

Rumble in Auburn Hills

I missed it – but no one else in the newsroom did. We were between our 10 and 11 PM newscasts. People were getting ready and TV’s were on. A few sports fans were watching Indiana and Detroit play at The Palace at Auburn Hills… and then the screaming began.

The screaming was taking place in the newsroom. I’ll get to Detroit in a minute.

A TV newsroom is an interesting place. First, everyone is sensitized to the news (obviously). You don’t want to get beaten on a story. You don’t want to miss anything. So, if something is going on… on TV… and the word gets out, everyone snaps to it.

That’s what the screaming was all about.

Within a few minutes we had enough video cut to put it on the air with an explanation of what went on. We were pretty fast and thorough. But, the story is much more complex.

I have watched the video dozens of times. My first reaction was to blame the players. Certainly the NBA did, with four players suspended. There will undoubtedly be lawsuits and probably arrests.

However, one day later, I’m not so sure it’s all the fault of the players. This is not to say the players are without culpability. There are no circumstances under which the players should be in the stands. And, I have trouble feeling sympathy for well tuned, physically immense, athletes punching smaller, weaker fans – even in self defense.

There are at the minimum two questions that need to be asked. Where was the venue’s security? Is there a relationship between the alcohol served to fans and this aggression?

I have read a few columns, including Mike Lupica’s in the Daily News, that seem to remove the players from blame. I won’t agree with that. But, it’s not as simple as looking at players like Ron Artest (who I had no respect for prior to this event) and calling them thugs.

This isn’t about the poverty which is endemic in Detroit. The game was played in Auburn Hills in front of an affluent audience who payed a great deal to see the game.

Getting to the bottom of this… coming up with solutions… will not happen quickly or come easily. Regardless of what the courts say, this is about more than just the actions of individuals.

Blogger’s note – This entry was begun Saturday night and completed early Sunday morning. As it turned out, even when I began to write, it was much too difficult to get my arms around. In fact, it is more than possible I will later rethink what I have just written. Don’t be fooled by the video you’ve seen. This is very complex. Deep thought is required.


Last night, in a pretty awful game, I watched the UCONN men’s basketball team disassemble Georgia Tech. Now they’re national champions.

Tonight the UCONN women held on to beat Tennessee. This was much more of a game – really a dream game pitting two teams which are perennial rivals. National champion number 2.

Geno Auriemma, UCONN’s coach and Pat Summit, coach at Tennessee, couldn’t be more different. She scares me. He seems warm and fuzzy – though I am sure I don’t want to be on Geno’s bad side.

Last season I went and watched a UCONN women’s game at Gampel Pavilion on the Storrs campus. As soon as I saw Geno, only one thing went through my mind – wow, what a suit. He was wearing the best looking, best fitting suit I had ever seen. Call me crazy, but it was that obvious that this was quality goods.

Nationwide, women’s basketball is far behind men’s in terms of popularity. Not here in Connecticut. As good as the men are, I wonder if the women aren’t more popular?

To me, the women’s game is something I can more relate to (though my relating to any athlete or athletic accomplishment is laughable at best). They are more finesse and less power. The game is lower scoring but just as intense as the men’s.

Both teams will be decimated as players graduate, or drafted as underclassmen into the NBA. It will be interesting to see how the two coaches and two programs rebuild. Or, will we ever dominate these two sports again?