Friday, May 16, 2014

Michael Sam Can't Lose

Courage. Courage is defined in our negative society as a gay football player coming out of the closet in a set up arranged by his handlers and the sports media right before the NFL combine, being praised in the sports media for it effusively, having anyone who even hints at your life or actions sent to the Gulag and fined, having the President congratulate you personally for being drafted at the very end of the NFL draft and now, getting a reality show, sorry, documentary for Oprah Winfrey's network OWN made to track your climb into the NFL. Courage is when a teen has to figure out when to tell his or her parents they are gay. My guess is that if a parent disapproves, the media is not there to shame them and then have them fined or fired by their boss. Michael Sam was a crafty guy with coming out, using the sports media and the cache to toy with teams. Sam is not a dummy. He knows he cannot lose.

1. If Michael Sam proves his doubters and haters wrong, he plays for a decade and earns good money while being a real life spokesman for gays. Book for great money and lifetime of speaking gigs. Win
2. If Michael Sam proves his doubters and haters right and washes out immediately, he will be able to whine about the NFL culture not helping him, the pressure of being the 1st g@y NFL player or the circus of it all. Michael Sam will write a book for good money and make the speaking gig circuit. It does not matter if it is a small college, their gay-straight alliance will want him, and that still pays cash. Win.
3. If Michael Sam plays a few seasons of meh play, copy the washout path but throw in some sports talk gig since he will be a special case (gay) and he actually played with the big boys! Win.
4. If Michael Sam gets injured and retires young, he can do all of the book and speaking tours with the added bonus of blaming his poor career on an injury. Win.

Sam has already whined that he should have been taken higher, using the gay excuse. Another first team All-American, Jackson Jeffcoat, was not drafted at all. Prove it on the field. What Sam has that no other 7th round draft pick has to fall back on is a special little tag (1st gay) that he gets to carry all his life for praise and rewards from progressive institutions. He has OWN following him with cameras, which he will be compensated for handsomely. No other rookie is getting that. Darn, those Christians will no accept him and those mean homophobes (lurking in the shadows avoiding fines and firings), but they do not run America's colleges, America's media and America's HR and sales departments who hire guest speakers for functions. Whatever path he takes, Michael Sam can't lose.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

What Would the Clippers Cost? $2 Billion

Seems that the NBA is moving as hard as they can to force Donald Sterling to sell his Clippers. Will Sterling fight it? The man fought civil rights lawsuits with glee in the courts. Imagining him defending his Clippers ownership in the waning years of his life is easy. Anyone else find it odd that brand new commissioner Adam Silver in the first 90 days on the job gets to take down the despicable yet longest tenured owner in the NBA? It is like Sterling had enough dirty laundry on David Stern (1985 NBA draft fix), but nothing on new guy Silver. Say Sterling relents, and goes without a fight. Even if the owners do not realize the horrible precedent they would set, they would all jump at the chance to see the Clippers sold and all franchises valuations reset. Steve Sailer has been all over this, yet he throws out the number $1 billion for a cost. If the Clippers sell, they will cost $2 billion.

Before delving into this, a moment on the stupidity of this. Stiviano is now allegedly under investigation for extorting Sterling. Good thing the NBA wrapped up their investigation in 48 hours and threw a ban at Sterling, which ESPN applauded at every opportunity. No one questioned it on ESPN. I hope Sterling fights them and for one added reason. For thirty years the NBA and the sports media have openly dumped on his ownership. Yes, Sterling has mismanaged it. Sterling also allowed Elgin Baylor to be the most inept general manager in professional sports years before other teams had black executives. Some of the Clippers woes were bad luck like Danny Manning becoming healthy after he left the team and wunderkind draft pick Shaun Livingston, who some compared to Magic Johnson for a point guard, blew out both knees before age 24. Sterling finally has some luck go his way, Chris Paul and Blake Griffin staying healthy, and finally has a sexy franchise, and the league goes right after him to take it away. I hope he torches the league.

Going back to my NBA franchise sales bubble top post, buried in Simmons' Grantland article, he specifically mentions that it would take $1.7 billion for Sterling to string you along if you wanted to buy the Clippers from him. That means $1.7 billion is the starting point. Simmons is a shill for the NBA, and on the NBA's broadcast pre/post-game show. The NBA has a couple months to lean on Sterling, and if he relents, we will know by June that he is selling. Oprah has expressed interest in buying the team (obviously with a team of owners), Magic fronts for Michael Milken, and who knows who else would come out of the woodwork. My money would be on Eli Broad coming out of nowhere to be a key, clean piece to another LA ownership group, which the league could support and stay clear of allegations Magic manipulated this situation. A smart ownership group would do what the Miami Dolphins did where there is the majority owner, but he offered celebrities in Miami a piece of the Dolphins to call themselves owners and add cache to the game experience (same as Jay-Z did for seven years with the Nets). It would be an LA franchise, so an ownership group could collect $1 million per celebrity and create the Lakers' "celebs at the game" effect within the ownership group. They are not just fans, they part of the franchise!

The Magic-Milken group overpaid for the Dodgers so if they have serious bidding competition, competitive juices will most likely make them go to extremes. There is a wild card. Say June arrives and Sterling agrees to sell to the highest bidder. Carmelo Anthony, Dwyane Wade, and Lebron James all become free agents this summer (due to age, Wade may not opt out of his deal). Might need a sign and trade to make it work. What happens to the bidding process when one of those three, especially Lebron and Carmelo, say, "I never would've considered the Clips, but with Sterling gone, I may sign there". An LA franchise now is not just an LA franchise but an LA franchise that may add one of those guys. If Bill Simmons can back of the envelop estimate that Lebron is worth half a billion to a franchise, then if $1.7 billion was what it would take to get Sterling interested, then $2.2 billion is the possible upside. Rename the franchise (LA Stars), which will remove the Clippers-Sterling stink and force people to buy new merchandise. Lots of immediate money making potential.

This scenario assumes Sterling is not fighting this to his death bed. Criticize David Stern all you want, but there is no way he would have allowed this to mushroom the way it did. Stern would have called his sources with the LA Times and told them to nip it, kind of like how they spiked former gambling referee Tim "the game is rigged" Donaghy's book deal. Stern would have called Magic and said, "Look, Magic, stop woofing or your HIV will act up, do not elevate this by calling for Sterling's franchise publicly". Stern would have said the league would look into it, but in the meantime enjoy the amazing playoffs. Stern would have kept the focus on the game, and let the outrage cycle (already lower due to his intervention) play out. This would have blown over, and most likely, Sterling would have announced he was stepping down from operations and handed it off to one of his two surviving adult children. Reality is different. What we are left with is a greedy set of owners eyeing higher franchise values, a shady criminal mistress, a sleazy octogenarian billionaire, hungry ex-financial felons and HIV infected potential owners, the racial grievance industry and a media that loves to hype faux crises. I hope Donald Sterling fights this to his dying day because our entertainment and the media that provides and pimps it deserves to be dragged through the mud for all they have done. If he loses his fight, Sterling will demand a hefty payday. Fight or no fight, the Clippers will cost $2 billion.