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Donald Sterling's enablers

What you see above is a half-page ad that appeared in Sunday's business section of the Los Angeles Times.

Which means it's time, yet again, to queue up Claude Rains and the casino scene from Casablanca: Folks are shocked -- yes, shocked, I tell you -- by Clippers owner Donald Sterling's racist remarks shared with his mistress that were (illegally, we must presume) audiotaped and handed over to TMZ, the online gossip organ.

There's enough hypocrisy among the Sterling enablers to flood Staples Center to the rafters.

The LA Times has long abetted the billionaire real estate investor and NBA franchise owner by accepting his or his functionaries' money for ads like this one, cranked out by Sterling in the name of one or another civic or religious group, or public institution, like UCLA, willing to pimp itself for him.

They (he?) throws a big banquet, invites a few big names from the worlds of business and entertainment (i.e., Donald Trump, Joan Rivers) and then takes out multiple ads in The Times and smaller publications crowing about what a great guy he is.

It's an L. A. ritual as laughable (for the hokie production values and decades-old photos of Sterling and wife Shelly) as it is repugnant.

Sterling was the NAACP Los Angeles chapter's "man of the year" five years ago, for example. Did they know then that he had, shall we say, racist tendencies? Better question, given Sterling's long public history of racist remarks is how could they not know?

Sterling has done this drill for at least 25 years.

Looking past UCLA, it almost seems fitting that the folks at the NAACP are left with an extra helping of egg on their faces now that the wheels of Sterling's racist-mobile finally appear to have come off. Incredibly, the NAACP chapter was scheduled to give Sterling its Lifetime Achievement Award May 15.

They've sheepishly canceled that one.

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