Much has been made of Donald Sterling's racist rant admonishing his girlfriend not to bring Magic Johnson to Clipper games, among several other gems. Less is made of his years piling up enormous sums of money by turning racially biased real estate manipulation into a cash-laying golden goose. Meanwhile, MLB quietly enjoys the big-nosed, wildly grinning Chief Wahoo logo of the Cleveland Indians.
Montreal Canadiens defenseman P.K. Subban got a taste of "Boston Strong" after scoring the winning goal in the 2nd overtime to lift the Candiens to a 4-3 win over the Bruins. Tweets, documented by local Boston outlets, were vile enough that "nigger" was trending on Boston Twitter. One example, "That stupid nigger doesn't belong in hockey #whitesonly" according to CBS local boston station WBZ.
We have it all, folks. Individual bigotry? Check. Institutional bigotry? Check.
Government sanctioned, New Jim Crow bigotry?
Since 2011 the Republican controlled North Carolina general assembly has blown through a checklist of right wing priorities. Constitutional ban on gay marriage; done. Estate tax; gone. Photo ID for voting; required. Abortion restrictions, funding for vouchers and private schools, looser restrictions on fracking and cuts to unemployment insurance? All are now North Carolina law three years after Republicans took over the general assembly.
So while Adam Silver and the NBA run a victory lap sanctioning one man, let's not lose sight of the much bigger and pernicious problems of institutional bigotry in sports and in our larger society. While our culture may not yet be broken, it remains seriously wounded.