SCORPIONS CROSSING HOLCOMBE

Scorpions
Crossing Holcombe

By

Leonard
Zwelling

       The news is full of Donald Sterling. Mr.
Sterling, the owner of the NBA’s LA Clippers, was caught on a recording device
by his mistress making racial slurs. This has sent the entire blogosphere and
all cable news outlets into a feeding frenzy of competitive opportunities to
see who could out outrage whom. Apparently when a known racist, albeit a very
rich one, says something racist that makes what most people already knew about
him undeniable, it has suddenly reached the level of intolerability. That a man
such as this could be an owner of a sports franchise where many of the players
working for him are black in a league in which all the other owners also have
teams full of black players is already absurd. That it is newsworthy that Mr.
Sterling confirming for the public what all his friends and other business associates
already knew is ridiculous. 

Wait.
It gets better. Now the “league” (in the form of its new Commissioner) is
banning Sterling for life and wants to make him sell his team at a huge profit,
far greater than the $2.5M he was fined. Essentially the penalty for being a
known racist is continued ownership of a team that you can only be made to sell
at a huge profit for being caught on tape. Talk about hypocrisy. The ACA makes
us buy health insurance whether we want to or not and now being a racist has no
consequences until caught by an open mike. Then the authorities make you sell
something whether or not you want to. Hmmm..this America thing is getting
stranger and stranger. What happened to free will and free markets? And when
did foolish thinking become illegal? If being an idiot was against the law
Capitol Hill would be empty and the jails would be fuller.

 Where were all of these champions of tolerance
when Mr. Sterling expressed his beliefs about race off record and acted on them
in his real estate business? That Mr. Sterling has expressed and acted upon his
intolerant views in the past is not news to most people close to the NBA. Then
why was he still being tolerated? Why didn’t someone say something or do
something a long time ago? How could the NAACP be honoring him—again? Could be
about money, don’t you think?

I
suspect that the public nature of these revelations made it impossible for the
NBA to do anything less than what it did. Of course, the fact that those very
players, most of whom are black, are staging one of the most competitive
post-seasons in years and are stuffing tushies in those seats might have
something to do with the players’ ability to make some demands on the rest of
the league. I cannot tell you what took them so long, but they too were getting
rich on the arrangement that left men like Sterling in dominant positions in
the NBA. The NBA knew what Sterling was. What the heck did they expect?

That
brings us to scorpions, doesn’t it?

There
are many versions of the story. Mine is Mr. Scorpion needing to cross a
rapid-filled river after a hard rain. Not being able to swim himself, he sought
the help of near-by neighbor Mr. Frog.

“Frog,
please take me across the river on your back.”

“Oh
no, I saw what you have done to my brothers in the past with that stinger of
yours.”

“Frog,
I promise I will not sting you if you get me safely across.”

“You,
promise?”

And
the scorpion crawled on the frog’s back and the frog swam across the stream
despite the strong current. Just as Frog was about to reach the other side
Scorpion stung him. As Frog lay paralyzed and dying on the opposite shore, Scorpion
jumped onto dry land and turned to look at his dying mode of transport, for
that was all Frog ever was to Scorpion, a means to an end.

“Scorpion.
You promised you wouldn’t sting me,” Frog gasped.

“Frog.
You knew what I was when you allowed me on your back. I am a scorpion. I will
always be one.”

Frog
died.

In
both the case of Mr. Sterling and the case of Mr. Scorpion, everyone around
them knew who they were and what they might do. Everyone around them figured
all was well as long as the thinly disguised secret came with deniability. But
the other NBA owners and the players on the Clippers probably knew what Mr.
Sterling’s views on race were. Similarly, Mr. Frog knew exactly who he was
dealing with. That he chose to do business with him anyway, made him the fool,
not Mr. Scorpion.

Look
around you MD Anderson. I know the Scorpions in your midst were not of your
choosing. But, their consistent hold over the fruits of your labors and the
resources of the State of Texas is with your complicity. No longer can you deny
what is going on at MD Anderson.

In
the NYC Subway they have a saying: “If you see something, say something” as a
means of averting a terrorist disaster.

The
Scorpions crossing Holcombe are nearing a point of disaster. Say something. Do
something. Or are you already paralyzed?

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