David Stern Does the Right Thing

This is a little off the topic of electoral politics, but I think it deserves mention -- particularly given the very real possibility that those on the right are going to be squawking about this for some time.

Former NBA star guard Tim Hardaway, creator of the "killer crossover", was interviewed on the radio earlier this week when he had the following to say: "You know, I hate gay people, so I let it be known. I don't like gay people and I don't like to be around gay people. I am homophobic. I don't like it. It shouldn't be in the world or in the United States." The commissioner of the NBA, David Stern, quickly reprimanded Hardaway by banning the retired player from this weekend's All-Star game festivities, a move that could, one imagine, draw the ire of some on the right.

For those unfamiliar with Stern, he is a strong supporter of Democratic politics, giving somewhere just shy of $500,000 to Democratic candidates and committees over the last three cycles, plus another $100,000 to American Coming Together in 2004 and $38,000 to the League of Conservation Voters since 2002. These numbers don't reflect donations from previous cycles, which were quite robust as well, nor do they include donations made by his wife (with the exception of one of the donations to the LCV). What's more, and perhaps more importantly, Stern did not, as best I can tell, give one cent to any Republican candidates or committee. (These numbers were garnered through perusing records on Political Money Line.)

Anyway, these donations are somewhat beside the point. Stern deserves kudos for his correct move and I think we should give it to him.

Tags: homophobia, NBA (all tags)

Comments

38 Comments

Re: David Stern Does the Right Thing

Once more, the churches lag behind.  There should be no place for this "I hate gays" talk.  None.  Jesus undoubtedly knew gays.  We hear no word of condemnation from Him, only from William Donahue and Penny Hardaway (reverting to bad Penny).

Yes, one can say that Branch Rickey and Happy Chandler were on the side of the angels during the Jackie Robinson debut but at pretty much the same time, Harry Truman was integrating the Armed Forces.

Thanks, David.

by David Kowalski 2007-02-16 12:37PM | 0 recs
Re: David Stern Does the Right Thing

Dave,

STOP USING CHURCHES IN GENERAL.  NOT ALL CHURCHES HATE GAYS... IN FACT SOME SUPPORT THEM.  IF YOU WANT TO SAY CONSERVATIVE CHURCHES, THEN THATS COOL.. BUT STOP LUMPING ALL INTO ONE POT.

The United Church of Christ, which advertises on here (or did) actually endorses and supports gay marriage... The only major denomination to do so.  

by yitbos96bb 2007-02-16 12:40PM | 0 recs
Re: David Stern Does the Right Thing

Some sort of usage is needed.  The public voice on the tv and the papers is way too often the William Donahues, Jerry Falwells, and their ilk.  When that voice is the "religious" one, who should be blamed?  God?  Nope.  Spirituality?  Nope.  Religion?  Not really, the teachings are pretty good (with a few Old Testament doozies).  

In the mid 1800s the issue was slavery and churches often split into northern and southern branches although the Quakers and some others were right throughout.  In the mid 1900s the issue was civil rights and the voices for it came often from the churches.  Now, it is another form of civil rights and although the UUs and UCCs and a lot of others are "good" many are not.  The old mainstrteam churches have been pretty much driven off to pasture.

Will more churches fight this?  If not (yes, it is unfair), "churches" will get the blame.  Maybe you need to coin a term for the hate folks and perhaps another term for those who sit on the sidelines.

by David Kowalski 2007-02-16 02:02PM | 0 recs
Re: David Stern Does the Right Thing

Blanketly blaming one group IS JUST WHAT THE ASSHOLES ON THE OTHER SIDE ARE DOING!  How do you fail to see that or justify your attack on all churches.  And for the record, I have gotten emails and such from progressive Christian groups on these sorts of issues... Unfortunately, they do not get the media time the RW gets.  

And my term...

FUNDAMENTALISTS and FUNDAMENTALIST CHURCHES are your main culprets.  

by yitbos96bb 2007-02-16 02:21PM | 0 recs
Re: David Stern Does the Right Thing

I just wish to underscore one point yitbos96bb eludes to:

When you build a firewall between yourself and the religious left, don't be so damn surprised that you don't hear anything from the religious left.

I've lost track of the number of times that secular lefties on this blog and others pull some ridiculous needle out of the google haystack, and use it to confirm their anti-religious left prejudices.  This gross ignorance could all be remedied by actually talking to some religious lefties every now or then, or -- dare I say it -- making friends with a few.  Oh, the horror....

One positive thing about these threads, however -- the next time the anti-Christian knuckleheads in the leftie blogosphere whine about how they are not in fact anti-Christian, I'll be able to submit these threads as counter evidence.

by Disputo 2007-02-16 05:17PM | 0 recs
sick of the anti-Christian bigotry

The one thing that consistently escapes non/anti-Christian leftie bloggers is that the same barriers to getting the secular leftie message out into the MSM also exist for the religious lefties.

The difference is that you won't find people on leftie Christian blogs bitching about how secular lefties refuse to speak out.  They understand that we are in this together.

Why don't you?

by Disputo 2007-02-16 02:35PM | 0 recs
Re: sick of the anti-Christian bigotry

it's not bigotry to think that christianity is wrong. all christianity is wrong. it's not bigotry. the fact is that christianity is as wrong about faith and spirituality as it was about the flatness of the earth and the order of the heavens.

sorry bud, but you're just wrong. wrong wrong wrong :D

by eddersen 2007-02-16 03:25PM | 0 recs
Assuming that this isn't a joke post

Really, I would normally assume that this is a joke post, because I cannot fathom that someone who posts on mydd would be so ignorant, but I'll take it at straight value and suggest that perhaps it would help you if you meditated on the difference between Christianity and Christians.  Hint: one is a religion, there other is a group of people.

by Disputo 2007-02-16 05:05PM | 0 recs
Re: Assuming that this isn't a joke post

let me get this right,a person who believes in a book that doesnt mention dinasours and claims the earth is only 10,000 years old is calling a person who missed up on the meaning of 2 words stupid.

by idahojim 2007-02-17 04:27AM | 0 recs
Re: Assuming that this isn't a joke post

Silly. You've bought into the righties' line. The Bible nowhere says the earth is 10,000 years old; that's the calculation of some nineteenth-century bishop.

And only the Fundamentalists hold that every line in the Bible is literally true, which is how they came to be labeled "fundamentalist." Those are the people you're talking about.

by joyful alternative 2007-02-17 05:58AM | 0 recs
Re: Assuming that this isn't a joke post

yea ,youve all got your own line of bullcrap.

by idahojim 2007-02-17 10:25AM | 0 recs
Re: Assuming that this isn't a joke post

I think that you are lumping all Christians into the same belief system. Catholics for example to do not take a literal example do not take the bible literally. I went to 17 years of Catholic school. I had a priest tell me that the bible is mostly a bunch of myths. In college I had a brother teach me evolution not to mention having evolution taught to me at every level of school. The modern Catholic Church does not believe that the Earth is 10,000 years old.

by gobears 2007-02-17 10:26AM | 0 recs
Re: David Stern Does the Right Thing
Tim Hardaway and Anfernee "Penny" Hardaway are two different players.
I'm not really sure you're point here, but let's not tar people just b/c they share a last name.
by jujube 2007-02-16 01:10PM | 0 recs
Thanks for mentioning that

I was scrambling on Google, think perhaps Penny Hardaway had made an ignorant followup comment to Tim Hardaway's.

Penny Hardaway is out of Memphis St, best known for his early years with the Magic alongside Shaq, a very tall 6-8ish point guard who never fully lived up to his talent and hype. Tim Hardaway is much shorter and stockier, best known for the crossover heading down the lane, as Jonathan mentioned. His early years were at Golden State but he's probably remembered more for the Heat years alongside Alonzo Mourning, always a contender but failing in the eastern conference playoffs, memorable battles with the Knicks.

David Stern is the most impressive commissioner I've ever seen in a major sport. Naturally he defaults toward the owners on occasion, but overall his comments and reasoning are excellent, including with Wolf Blitzer today.

by Gary Kilbride 2007-02-16 03:02PM | 0 recs
i agree with david

christianity is wrong, even if it's progressive, because religion itself is misguided.

by eddersen 2007-02-16 03:23PM | 0 recs
Re: David Stern Does the Right Thing

Maybe we can hook everyone to electrodes and zap em when they have a thought or opinion that doesn't please the PC crowd.   I don't like religious people, and I don't like being around them. Everyone is entitled to their opinion and associations: good, bad, or indifferent. I am sick of the "wahhhh, you have to apologize because you said and/or offended ____.    Sticks and stones, people!  Between the evangelicals, neocons, and PC liberals there isn't a whole hell of a lot of freedom left in this country.  For the record, I don't think discrimination in jobs, housing, education are acceptable or should be legal.  

by dkmich 2007-02-17 03:02AM | 0 recs
Re: David Stern Does the Right Thing

Unfortunately, I have a feeling that a vast majority of players feel the same way... luckily Stern will keep them from speaking out.

by yitbos96bb 2007-02-16 12:40PM | 0 recs
Actually...

according to this NPR story this afternoon,

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story .php?storyId=7455105

the majority of athletes in the NFL and the NHL support gay players and have no objection to playing with them.  No mention of the NBA.

Equally important is what Mark Cuban, owner of the Dallas Mavericks, said.  He said that whichever active gay NBA player is first out of the closet will be a greater national hero than his athletics can gain for him and will accrue untold riches in endorsements.  It won't be long before someone tests that view, and I hope Cuban is right, and believe that he is.

by Arthurkc 2007-02-16 01:14PM | 0 recs
Re: Actually...

Yeah, hence the vast numbers of openly gay current NFL play... oh wait.  And the huge number of open gay current NHL, NBA and MLB Play... nope not there either.

What players say in public and say in private are two different things... I have a buddy of mine who played a few seasons with the Giants.  I asked him and he said that there is little Tolerance for Gays in the NFL.  Team officials will tell them to never say that publicly... however, he said even the ones who might be comfortable with gays in general (like he is) are not comfortable playing and showering with them... a hypocrisy he unfortunately shares.  I have similiar things all day on sports radio and have heard it in the past as well.  

by yitbos96bb 2007-02-16 02:27PM | 0 recs
Re: David Stern Does the Right Thing

Good week for professional sports leagues shutting the door on bigotry in all forms. The NFL is also getting a lot of attention for refusing to run a recruitment ad for the Border Patrol during the Super Bowl.

That decision was obviously made a few weeks back, on account of the ad's "tone" (aka talking about how you'd be protecting from terrorists and their weapons on the border, which Latino and immigrants' rights groups might rightly have taken issue with), but now Tom Tancredo and others are hyperventilating  about it.    

by sip1983 2007-02-16 12:44PM | 0 recs
Re: David Stern Does the Right Thing

On a related note, my school, University of Illinois, today announced that "Chief Illiniwek" will make its last performance on Feb 21, after much pressure from the NCAA.  After that point, the University will cease to use the "Chief"'s performance and logo.

by Fran for Dean 2007-02-16 01:06PM | 0 recs
Re: David Stern Does the Right Thing

I don't want to tweak anyone who feels strongly about the issue, but I do think the controversy over Native American mascots has probably hurt the cause of equality more than it helps.  I wonder how many people who protest against offensive symbolism have devoted a similar level of effort to combatting, for example, Native American poverty.

We have so much work to do in terms of equality of educational and employment opportunities, and yet we all too easily get distracted by the shiny, high-profile issues of pure symbolism.

by Steve M 2007-02-16 01:19PM | 0 recs
Re: David Stern Does the Right Thing

Thanks for this Jonathan.  He really does deserve cudos for this and his statement was right on the mark.

NBA commissioner, David Stern, explained why, "We acted immediately, we told him he couldn't do anymore work for us because his views don't represent our views."

Stern went on to say, "Our mission statement and dialogue is an important aspect especially dialogue about ignorance and bigotry. We're happy to perform the public service, not as a black eye."

Now if only the WNBA wouldnt hide from its gay fans.  But that is a whole other post.

by juls 2007-02-16 12:46PM | 0 recs
Bravo, David Stern.

Sad to say how strongly what should be a simple act of decency by Mr. Stern stands out in the modern cultural landscape.

by boadicea 2007-02-16 12:50PM | 0 recs
Re: Bravo, David Stern.

hear, hear!

I was also proud of Charles Barkley's take on things.  You can google it, but he said that he's for gay marriage, doesn't care if someone's gay or not, and is now a proud Democrat because being "conservative" means the same thing as "discriminatory."

Also, Doc Rivers and Shaquille O'Neal voiced their support for the gay community.

by jgarcia 2007-02-16 03:17PM | 0 recs
Re: David Stern Does the Right Thing

Often, great things start with a simple courageous move.

by VictorNJ 2007-02-16 12:55PM | 0 recs
Re: David Stern Does the Right Thing

Re: Stern. True that! ;-) For a corporate type dude, he is OK: I remember a few years ago, when the viability of the WNBA was once again being questioned, Stern spoke strongly in support of the league, and added that it was both a matter of principle and one of practice: he pointed out that men's sports have been losing money for a long time,  but nobody questions them.
by ravi 2007-02-16 01:11PM | 0 recs
Not So Fast

I still recall how, during the lockout, Stern would tell anyone who would listen that the Players Association was listening to their (White) agents, rather than looking after their own interests.

It was blatantly racist, this idea that black basketball players couldn't possibly know what was best for them.  It got called out by a few sports news outlets, but the majority of fans (in any sport) are pro-ownership anyway, so it really didn't matter.

But I didn't forget.

I think Stern is probably more accurately described as a Bloomberg Democrat (though certainly his record of donations is far better).  While this was a nice gesture, I'll be very surprised if he can get past his paternal attitudes towards race.

by NY Expat 2007-02-16 01:11PM | 0 recs
Re: David Stern Does the Right Thing

Stern would tell anyone who would listen that the Players Association was listening to their (White) agents, rather than looking after their own interests.  It was blatantly racist, this idea that black basketball players couldn't possibly know what was best for them.

Depends.  His words are only racist if it is not true that the white agents are pulling one over on the black players.  If he is correct, he is fighting racism.  

Otherwise you would have to conclude that anyone who tries to help out someone of another race is racist.

by Disputo 2007-02-16 02:44PM | 0 recs
Re: David Stern Does the Right Thing

With all due respect, Stern did what he was was supposed to do, and it was a pretty obvious decision.  

The NBA hasn't exactly gotten good press in the wake of John Amechi coming out.  Stern himself came out with a basic statement saying that it was just about having game.  True, but his league, judging by the vague comments of numerous players, wasn't on that same page.

For if it had, Amechi wouldn't have had to come out well after he had left the game.  If Stern is able to pay more than lip service on this issue, I would be far more impressed

by v2aggie2 2007-02-16 04:16PM | 0 recs
Stern for Senate!?

Before Hillary got in, i remember hearing rumors he had his eye on the NY Senate seat in 2000 (as a Dem).  Stern's no spring chicken anymore, so unless HRC is elected POTUS in 2008 and he can convince Gov. Spitzer to appoint him, he may be frustrated in that ambition.  

by madorskytapir 2007-02-16 04:32PM | 0 recs
Re: David Stern Does the Right Thing

Kudos to David Stern.  He handled this very well.

As a Knicks fan I couldn't stand Tim Hardaway anyway so I can add this to the list of reasons I dislike the guy.

by John Mills 2007-02-16 05:00PM | 0 recs
Re: Not So Fast

Well said Lucas.  I am pro-union but even I have a hard time supporting a group of people like athletes who are well off and who want more money and don't want to be tested for illegal, performance enhancing drugs and other substances.  I am not for returning to the reserve clause days when players were tethered to their teams forever but supporting sports unions is not exactly like supporting striking transit workers who are struggling to make a middle class living.  I generally look at sports strikes as the rich bickering with the even richer.  Who cares?

by John Mills 2007-02-16 05:10PM | 0 recs
Re: Not So Fast

Asking for more money?  When all that money the "even richer" people make is because of them?  The nerve!

Oh, and if you have no problem with random drug tests, can I assume that you'd be willing to submit to it, randomly, about, say, once a month or so, just to make your employers and the press happy?  Even though there's as much evidence that those drugs effect your performance as they do an NBA or MLB player (i.e., none)?

by NY Expat 2007-02-16 10:54PM | 0 recs
Re: Not So Fast

Sorry but I don't equate sports unions with those that actually fight for justice for working people.  I don't think the owners are any better and tend to think a pox on both your houses when it comes to both these disputes.  And I wonder exactly where the fans who find it harder and harder to afford a ticket to a pro sporting event and put money in both their pockets fit in.  Most pro sports have become so expensive that average people can only watch them on TV because the arenas/stadiums are now the denziens of corporate sponsors and the wealthy.

Re Drug Testing - I don't support it for things like pot but I do for performance enhancing drugs.  I am bothered that Barry Bonds is going to break Hank Aaron's record thanks to steroids and HGH.  And no, I wouldn't have a problem taking one.  I don't have anything to hide.

by John Mills 2007-02-17 12:01PM | 0 recs
Re: Not So Fast

Nobody's asking you to equate a sports union with one composed of blue-collar workers.  It's still unfair to take away a person's rights, or to disparage them as mindless darkies, regardless of whether "they make enough" or not.

Just as we pointed out Biden's failed attempt to belittle Obama with racist code, so we should remember Stern's successful attempt to do the same with the NBA players.

Oh, and those ticket prices you're complaining about?  They have nothing to do with salaries.  Yes, you heard me right:  They have nothing to do with salaries.  If the NBA could unilaterally drop every players salary to $500,000, ticket prices would remain just about the same (undoubtedly there would be some sop to fans at the beginning, but eventually the prices would rise back up to market value).  Ticket prices are high because people want to see NBA players; NBA players have high salaries because people want to see them.  The prices are high because the product is popular, not because the owners have to make up for huge salaries.

This is for businesses in general: Don't ever let anyone tell you that they had to raise prices because "costs are too high".  Elementary econ teaches you about pricing curves:  You price the product to maximize revenue.  If the product costs too much to make, barring externalities you can't make a profit on the product.

The same class resentments that allow Republicans to get lower and lower-middle class, undereducated whites to look down on Blue Staters as "elitist" and consequently vote against their best interests are at play here:  "They have way more than we do, and they don't care about us, why should we give a fuck about them?"

Re Drug Testing - I don't support it for things like pot but I do for performance enhancing drugs.  I am bothered that Barry Bonds is going to break Hank Aaron's record thanks to steroids and HGH.

Again, what is your proof that these drugs allowed Bonds to hit more home runs than he would have otherwise?  There's more proof that changes in the composition of the ball has caused them to travel farther than anything that establishes a link between taking steroids or HGH and being able to hit the ball farther (neither help with coordination, which is what you really need to hit home runs)

And no, I wouldn't have a problem taking one.  I don't have anything to hide.

Expect a knock on your door soon.  Don't know exactly when...just soon.

by NY Expat 2007-02-18 12:56AM | 0 recs
Re: Not So Fast

"what is your proof that these drugs allowed Bonds to hit more home runs than he would have otherwise?"  

Proof on Bonds.  Stats are pretty compelling.  Until age 34, a time when most athletes are declining, Bonds hit 40 HRs 3 times in his career.  Since age 34, when most pro-athletes decline rapidly, Bonds changed trainers, bulked up and everyone but him has acknowledged he has been on performance enhancing drugs, he has hit 40 HRs five times including a record 73 HRs in 2001 when he was 37.  You don't have to be a rocket scientist to figure it out.  Name me one other player who has put up that kind of production after their 34 b'day?  I can't find one!

That's fine that you want to defend Bonds.  That's your right.  I see it as cheating, plain and simple.  It's no different than post dating stock options - cheating to enrich/glorify yourself at the expense of those who play by the rules.  I guess I have very old fashion, un 21st Century values in that manner.  After all this is the US of Paris Hilton and Brittany Spears where anything goes as long as it gets you fame and fortune.  And I am not even particularly old but I don't believe people who don't play by the rules should be rewarded.

by John Mills 2007-02-20 03:46PM | 0 recs
Be Careful with Your Accusations

"or to disparage them as mindless darkies"

I never said that nor do I think it.  I feel the same way about all sports unions and owners, not just the NBA.  They have a right to exist I just don't find any of the arguments on any side of these sports disputes particularly compelling.  Please don't jump to conclusions that people who don't agree with you are racists because they aren't.  I just don't care either side of dispute between rich people and tune it out like I do Paris Hilton.

FWIW - I think the fights for the players in all sports in the 1960s and 1970s, when they were all endentured servants, were very important and provided them with important rights which need to preserved.  We have moved so far beyond that state in the early 21st century it isn't even funny and I could care less if you establish salary caps, luxury taxes, first year salary limits in the millions, etc. No one on any side of these disputes seems to be starving or being treated especially unfairly.

by John Mills 2007-02-20 04:12PM | 0 recs

Diaries

Advertise Blogads