New battle lines have been drawn in the war between Donald Sterling and the LA Clippers; the saga that I’ve dubbed “Love on the Parquet Floor”. I call it that because after reading a full transcript of the interview and hearing Magic take the high road I can’t help but wonder if there’s more there than meets the eye when it comes to the relationship that exists between him, Sterling and V. Stiviano.
Cue suspenseful soap opera organ music; a fanfare with a vocal overdub and tense mood stabs at the end of every line.
“Did Magic call Donald or Donald call Magic?”
Did V. ask for money for the tape?”
“Will V. and Donald get back together?”
“Will Shelly keep her 50% share of the team?”
“Will Donald ultimately sell the team?”
End music with fanfare, conclusion, cymbals.
Ah, the theater of contemporary apologetic discourse.
At its roots an apology is a personal thing; a redress of a perceived wrong or slight and something that once given and received hopefully maintains the relationship. The public counterpart is really no different, taking on a new dynamic of image repair and the (self) defense of one’s point of view, politics, lifestyle, etc.
Yet, on that grand scale like the one playing out presently, there are obviously much greater stakes than being shunned from a Sunday social. The new dynamic comes with postures and strategies; none of which it seems Donald Sterling is following.
On the one hand, in the interview it seemed like he was seeking absolution and trying to explain the reasons for his actions. Then on the other, it appeared he was attempting to vindicate himself by raising the specter of a set-up and attacking Magic Johnson. Speaking of which, is it me or does the mere mention of the basketball player’s name send Sterling into an apoplectic fit?
As the Sterling camp issued its reply to the league’s fine, exile and suspension, it’ll be interesting to see what strategies they utilize. You already hear a bit of transcendence as Sterling attempts to prove he was taped without his knowledge; the whole issue of invasion of privacy to be played out.
He’s also already tried to indirectly deny his actions; focusing on what he gives his players in the way of wealth and opportunity. We’ll see if his lawyers begin any denial tactics; indirect denial being the easier sell in my opinion. They’ll probably list his contributions to the NAACP and the awards he’s received from the Los Angeles chapter.
Sterling himself has already started a denial of intent strategy by, in effect, saying that he doesn’t know why he said those awful things. Personally, I can’t wait to see if his lawyers will attempt bolstering their client.
At any rate, today’s announcement from the Sterling attorney signals, if nothing else, a retreat from the amateur hour. Dementia notwithstanding, watching the owner handle his public relations problem so far has been painful. It’ll be nice to finally have someone instructing him into how it’s supposed to be done.
Like they say, it always pays to let a professional do the job.