Monday, April 28, 2014

Weasels of the Week: Matthew Lombardo & Donald Sterling

You've heard of the term, "full-court press" in basketball, right? It's nothing compared to what Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling is facing now.

The 80-year-old Sterling has been accused of making some racist remarks to a now-former mistress in a recorded conversation that somehow ended up in the possession of the likes of scandal-mongering sites like Deadspin and TMZ. Supposedly, he's incensed because said mistress, V (for Vivian) Stiviano had a picture posted on Instagram with 80's icon Earvin "Magic" Johnson, now one of the owners of baseball's Los Angeles Dodgers.

Then, the media reports came pouring out about how Sterling's been like this for years, and that former commissioner David Stern tended to look the other way, and let Sterling, because he's a millionaire, pass. He's supposedly not only racist, but also a misogynist, making sexist remarks as well. Current NBA commissioner Adam Silver now has to make an important decision. Suspending Sterling is easy. Getting him to give up the Clippers isn't. However, the media, particularly ESPN, one of the league's media partners, is picturing a scenario that, ironically, has Johnson, who starred for LA's other NBA team, the Lakers, buying the team. Would that the NBA could dream up a similar scenario to get rid of the worst owner in the league after Sterling, Knicks owner James Dolan, but that's for another time.

However, the key word here is "accused". We don't know for sure if Sterling's voice was actually on that tape. All that needs be done is to do a audio match, comparing the voice on the tape to any interview that's been conducted in recent years with Sterling. You see that occasionally in the movies.

What bothers me more is that Sterling is married, but has had these other women on the side, which, above all else, makes an immoral, unrepentant Weasel.

In New York, the Daily News reported in today's edition that playwright Matthew Lombardo is suing actress Valerie Harper for $2 million, alleging that the 70's icon (Rhoda) didn't fully disclose that her cancer had spread to her brain a year ago, before she was to go on tour in a production she had starred in on Broadway. Ms. Harper had to drop out, replaced by another TV icon, Stefanie Powers (ex-Hart To Hart) in the play, a bio on actress Tallulah Bankhead. Lombardo is claiming lost revenues resulting from Valerie Harper's resignation from the production. You want to talk about kicking someone when they're down? Give to me the break!

The Daily News accurately described Lombardo's lawsuit as a "cash grab", which is really what it is, plus a grab for 15 minutes of infamy. If Valerie and her husband felt she could go through with this project in spite of her condition, well, they had no way of knowing that the cancer, which started in her lungs, would move all the way up to her brain, contrary to what Lombardo is alleging. As for Lombardo, our East Coast Weasel this week, do yourself a favor, pal, and do some research into your claims before you say something you'll regret later.


magicdog said...

There's way more to this Sterling story than is being reported. I don't have all the facts but here's what I know so far:

Sterling's wife is looking to divorce him. Since CA is about Community property, half of everything he has is hers. She had a suit against Stiviano (who has a multitude of aliases BTW) to get back some items her husband gave or loaned to her including some luxury cars and an expensive duplex. She would also have access to half the ownership of the Clippers.

Now, Sterling from what I've heard from those in the know, is not a much liked guy but he's been pretty saavy up to now. He's a lawyer who managed to make money in real estate (with condos/apartment rentals in Koreatown and Beverly Hills). He bought the Clippers (a third rate team at the time) 33 years ago for 12 million. They're worth over half a billion now.

Strange how these recordings should turn up now - possible blackmail? Also strange how Magic Johnson, Floyd Mayweather and Oprah have all expressed an interest in buying the team.

Next up: why should the NBA have the power to force the sale of anything? I'm not saying one has to like Sterling, but who the hell are they to make such demands? Sterling is suing them to fight - and I hope he wins. If he loses, this sets a dangerous precedent that any of us could encounter. For saying the "wrong thing" (however that's interpreted) causes you to lose your job, home and possessions.

Let us not forget Sterling was loved by the NAACP - they awarded him one award previously (he donated to them and other various Democratic groups over the years) and were about to offer him another until this blew.

Something is rotten in L.A. - well, more than usual!

As far as the Lombardo/Valerie Harper suit, there's a lot we don't know yet. I can see Lombardo's side of things since many people were looking forward to seeing Harper (and theatres expected her to be the draw not Powers). That can affect the bottom line. How much Harper and her husband knew about her diagnosis and when they knew it I do not know. When cancer spreads to the brain, that can affect motor skills and memory, which would definitely affect Harper's acting skills and the strain of performing and touring.

I do hope she beats it completely however.

hobbyfan said...

Re.: Sterling. There's something in the NBA by-laws that allows them to vote him out and force him to sell the team. Major League Baseball did that several years back with Marge Schott, forcing her to give up the Cincinnati Reds because of some insensitive, ill-advised remarks she made. In her case, it's easy to say she brain-cramped. In Sterling's, they say, oh, yeah, we knew all along. Stiviano was profiled on Inside Edition (what a shock), and has channelled Lady Gaga by wearing a welder's visor to hide her face. Please.