Saturday, 4 days back, was the first time I got to know who Donald Sterling was. I don’t follow basketball so the possibilities were anyways remote. 90 minutes back the world got to know about Donald Sterling when he was banned for life by NBA commissioner Adam Silver, and penalised a hefty $2.5 million.
Why you ask? Apparently a tape was leaked last week by TMZ where Donald Sterling’s voice was heard telling his girlfriend to “stop bringing black people to LA Clippers games”. NBA moved quick after the leak, and did their investigations on the authenticity of the tape throughout the weekend. By Monday they were sure that the voice was indeed of LA Clippers owner, Donald Sterling. By Tuesday morning (US Time), Adam Silver announced related decisions and even promised that “he would urge the board of governors of the Clippers to encourage Sterling to sell the team.” WOW!
All this chatter made me think of something much closer to my heart, the sport and the league I relate to closely, the Indian Premier League. All I could think was that if a white millionaire franchise owner can be banned in America, for racial comments, what stops the IPL and BCCI to take similar actions against their corrupt franchisees?
Don’t get me wrong, Racism is disgusting and deserves all the punishment but what has transpired in the IPL off-late has been similarly grave, if not worse, in my humble opinion.
All this prompts me to ask 4 simple questions, to all of you.
Question 1: Why don’t we see IPL commissioner Ranjib Biswal taking a similarly strong stance, like NBA commissioner Adam Silver did, against corrupt franchise team owners?
Question 2: Why don’t we see other IPL franchise owners standing as one and pressuring IPL to act tough with corrupt owners?
Mark Cuban, the owner of Dallas Mavericks tweeted
Magic Johnson, the former champion player and one of the investors of LA Sparks and LA Dodgers also tweeted.
Worth noting, that Johnson was mentioned as persona non grata at Clippers games in the audio recording that earned Sterling his lifetime ban. He also tweeted his support for forced selling of Clippers by Sterling later.
Vivek Ranadive, owner of Sacramento Kings
Cleveland Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert
and, Robert J Pera, who’s the principal owner of Memphis Grizzlies
Question 3: Why have the players of corrupt franchisees stayed silent all this while? Why the “God”, “Pillar”, “Wall”, “Captain Cool” etc of Indian cricket haven’t reacted to express the frustration of the average Indian cricket fan yet?
LA Clippers players wore their training kit inside out, hiding the clippers logo, to protest against their team owner.
LA Clippers Protest (via @WordsofSarah)
Hell, even the official Clippers website wore this look. Some how I don’t see an IPL team website even attempting something similar.
The Clippers also released a statement saying, “We wholeheartedly support and embrace the decision by the NBA and Commissioner Adam Silver today. Now the healing process begins.”
Question 4: Why haven’t the sponsor of those IPL teams pulled out of their sponsorships? There was talk of the lead league sponsor having second thoughts, but Pepsi clearly is sticking with IPL, irrespective of its global policy on such matters. Why?
On Monday, 15 Clippers advertisers said they have terminated or suspended their sponsorship, although most expressed their continued support for the team’s players, coaches and fans.
Announcing their departure were CarMax, State Farm, Kia, Virgin America, Red Bull, Mercedes-Benz, LoanMart, Southern California Ford Dealers, Yokohama Tire, Burger King, Sprint, Samsung, the Commerce Hotel & Casino, the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians and the company that makes Corona beer.
Why did the Supreme Court of India had to involve itself in matters which should have been self-policed from the word go?
To conclude, I really hope everybody directly involved with IPL, from the BCCI, to team owners, to cricketers and finally sponsors realise that the time to Bullshit cricket fans is over, it’s time to act now, and hopefully learn a thing or two from the more matured league across few ponds.
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