One of my favourite movie scenes of all time is from a film called the FIREMAN’S BALL,it’s a 1968 Czechoslovakian production.Its a remarkable film and a cinematic masterpiece.The FIREMAN’S BALL as you no doubt guessed is about firemen hosting a ball,it’s a film that tracks the hosting of a fete to honour an 86 year old terminally ill retired fireman.The film follows the events that prompt the ball,the clumsy efforts at organising the event and the hilarious staging of the fete.On the night the ball is staged a barn catches fire,the firemen arrive at the scene of the inferno merely as helpless bystanders as their truck gets stuck in the snow on their way to the rescue,the stand out scene occurs when the elderly proprietor unable to access warm clothing due to the raging fire tells the firemen she is feeling cold,the heroic firemen draw up a chair for her and edge her closer to her burning barn.In essence a solution that surrenders to the problem.Which leads us to Donald Sterling and the NBA.Mister
Sterling is or was the owner of the Los Angeles Clippers until his girlfriend/mistress recorded a private conversation she held with him in which Donald castigates her for..associating with black people,posting pictures of herself in the company of basketball legend Magic Johnson(guilty of being black) on her Instagram account and for having black people as her guests at Clippers matches.The recording of the conversation was leaked to media outlets and the inevitable furore that followed has left Donald as the certified mad hatter villainous character of sports.Clippers’ players staged a silent protest,fellow NBA owners expressed outrage demanded that Donald relinquishes ownership of the Clippers and sell the franchise immediately,he even drew rebuke from President Obama who no doubt relished taking on lesser foes than Vladmir Putin.This saga is packed with so many surreal scenarios you can’t help but expect a news bulletin with admissions that this was all just a hoax,an immature prank and the truth really isn’t stranger than fiction.This whole affair is interwoven by a fine thread of absurdities,irrationalities,illogical reasoning,hypocrisy and unethical practices.Has society regressed so much so that a man can make headlines over WHAT he said in conversation with his mistress rather than the the fact he has a mistress(a fact that i’m sure has not escaped his wife).The taping and airing of a privately held conversation seems to me highly unethical and carries strong hints of entrapment.A  hint to prospective NBA franchise owners,if you don’t like the presence of black people perhaps buying a basketball franchise just isn’t the best idea,buying an ice hockey would probably more prudent.The absurdity of Sterling castigating his girlfriend(whose half black) for associating with black people points to a man probably battling a mental illness rather than a man with tightly held prejudices.The leaking of the conversation also led to Donald having a second upcoming honour fom the NAACP being withdrawn(you just have admire the background researchers over at the NAACP).The NBA with the media glare firmly on them had to act decisively and they responded by banning Sterling from any involvement in basketball for life,a life ban  for an 80 year old man they might as well handed him a five year ban it basically amounts to the same thing.Sterling has been a franchise owner since 1981 and to suggest that the NBA authorities or previous employees had no idea he held such views would be foisting undue credit to Sterling who clearly demonstrated in conversation with Miss Stiviano(girlfriend/mistress) the callous manner in which he dispenses with his prejudices.The Sterling affair has reignited the debate on race issues but his banishment from the game which will probably earn him close to a billion dollars from the sale of the franchise is merely firemen edging us closer to the barn and leaves major questions unanswered.Just how much information did the NBA have on Donald Sterling’s views(anti-black sentiments from an NBA owner is like a vegetarian buying a steakhouse),is it ethical to moralize and act on evidence accrued through unethical means,AGAIN..applause and recognition to the NAACP who had previously honoured Sterling(a man with a prior conviction for racial discrimination in the distribution of houses he constructed),should the views held by a man in private impact his public position and the million dollar question..what kind of man objects to having his girlfriend/mistress pose for a picture with Magic Johnson?