Posted with permission from Toronto Star
There’s no fool like an old fool — with a smart-cookie young girlfriend.
An old, odious, unrepentant fool, an octogenarian who will sleep with a 31-year-old piece of exotic, dusky-skinned arm candy, who gets rich and celebrated for employing — as he is the first to point out — a group of elite black basketball players. Who won’t object, much, if she, Miss V., takes black men to bed. But who scolds the lady, his gold-digging leg-over, for posting Instagram photos of a black ex-basketball player whose name is Magic.
A lady — “Evil Heart,” her creepy codger of a meal-ticket calls her — who has denied, through her lawyer, ever clandestinely taping Sugar Daddy making repugnant, vilely racist comments, nor leaking the sensational contents to an online muckraking site.
Which, of course, is precisely what a sharp doxy might do if she found herself hauled into a lawsuit launched by the estranged wife of the tycoon, and at risk of losing the luxuries — “communal property” assets — bestowed on her, as espoused by the spouse.
Honey-pot sting, as it would have been known in another era.
Donald Sterling, owner of the Los Angeles Clippers, has been banned for life by the NBA. But what can life possibly mean to an 80-year-old?
League commissioner Adam Silver said Tuesday he will do all in his power to force Sterling to sell a franchise he has owned longer than any of his Lords of Basketball associates — the same associates who’ve done nothing, lifted not a pinky, to censor, shame, isolate or otherwise reprimand a fellow-traveller over the many years that accusations of bigotry have swirled around him, buttressed within a vortex of discrimination lawsuits.
Silver told a Manhattan press conference that he’s confident of obtaining the three-quarters vote from the league’s board of governors to compel Sterling’s disinvestment of the Clippers. That will simply make him an even wealthier old coot, the club valued at $575 million by Forbes. Sterling paid $12 million for the Clippers in 1981. His personal wealth is estimated at $1.9 billion. The $2.5 million he was fined Tuesday by Silver, the maximum penalty available, will hardly make a dent in his fortune.
And since Sterling, according to Silver, neither denied making the comments nor expressed any remorse for them, he evidently has zero concern about the cost to his name and reputation. (What reputation? you might well ask.)
Can’t bring disrepute upon the proudly disreputable.
Miss V., did all that, it appears, whether she’ll own up to it or not. Did what the pitifully oblivious NBA ownership culture wouldn’t.
She is the accidental heroine of the piece, despite the grasping piece of work she is. Unless — suspended disbelief here — the author of this melodrama was actually Mrs. Sterling, Rochelle, legally part owner of the team. Remember the age-old cop query, “Who profits?” Rochelle and the couple’s children do. They haven’t been banned.
Whatever hostilities exist between Mister & Missus, she did defend him earlier this week, expressed disbelief that Sterling harboured such racist sensibilities — after living with him for five decades — and purportedly denied being able to recognize his voice on the notorious audiotape.
Conspiracy theories are rife on the talk shows: Who set up Donald? Yet conspiracy would hardly have seemed necessary for the truth to gush out. This is a man — “don’t bring black people to my games,” he says on the tape — who five years ago agreed to pay $2.73 million to get rid of a lawsuit brought by the U.S. Justice Department over allegations that he, a fat-cat who made his gazillions from real estate, refused to rent apartments to Hispanics and blacks and families with children.
Athletes — including those Clippers who turned their warmup jerseys inside-out in silent protest of their plantation-echo owner’s comments prior to Game 4 of their first-round playoff series Sunday — may be the talent, they may be multi-millionaires, but in the end they were just chattel, not worthy of sitting at their mega-rich proprietor’s table, offensive to him in photos merely standing alongside his squeeze for everybody to see.
“I support them and give them food, and clothes, and cars, and houses. Who gives it to them? Does someone else give it to them? . . . Who makes the game? Do I make the game, or do they make the game?”
And Miss V. — why, almost as if she was prescient, almost as if she knew that the conversation, taped a month ago, would become public: “Honey, if it makes you happy, I will remove all of the black people from my Instagram.” Yet also emphasizing the point: “I don’t understand, I don’t see your views. I wasn’t raised the way you were raised.”
Magic Johnson was in the pic that had so aggrieved Sterling. And another, with Matt Kemp, L.A. Dodger Matt Kemp. “I thought Matt Kemp is mixed and he was OK, just like me,” she said.
Me. She. The dame at the heart of the matter, before it became a screaming-mimi headline matter, a scandal that threatened to convulse the game, set players against owners, fans against franchise. The wayward heart, to Mrs. Sterling’s way of thinking, branding her the predator in a lawsuit filed last month, accusing her of engaging “in conduct designed to target, befriend, seduce,” then receiving “as gifts transfers of wealth from older men whom she targets for such purposes.” Alleged: the recipient of $2.5 million in lavish gifts from Sterling, including a duplex purchased last December for $1.8 million. Mrs. Sterling is demanding the property by transferred to her, and her husband.
The timing of the tape’s creation is therefore intriguing.
Who is Miss V.?
A woman who thrives by her wits, it seems.
A 31-year-old of mixed Mexican and black descent who reportedly met Sterling at the 2010 Super Bowl and, according to Mrs. Sterling’s lawsuit, began a sexual relationship with him shortly thereafter.
Born Maria Vanessa Perez in L.A., she successfully petitioned to change her name to V. Stiviano (first name unclear), according to documents dug up by The Associated Press. She provided no explanation for the name change but, in her successful petition, said: “Born from a rape case and having yet been fully accepted because of my race.”
Her bio lists Miss V., a prodigious social media typist, as an “artist, lover, writer, chef, poet, stylist, philanthropist.” And, as the Los Angeles Times has reported, Stiviano’s name appears as a director of the Donald T. Sterling Charitable Foundation.
L.A. police say they are not, at this time, investigating Stiviano in connection with the release of the tape. But there’s nothing illegal about taping yourself and nobody has alleged extortion.
Donald Trump may have nailed it in a Fox TV interview: “He got set up by a very, very bad girlfriend, let’s face it. She’s called ‘the girlfriend from hell.’”
Apparently made his life heavenly first, though, if never explicitly confirming that she was Sterling’s girlfriend, his mistress. Arguably, deserving of every penny she palmed off the repellant geezer.
Look at her. Look at him.