Individuals, sponsors and businesses have spent the past few days disassociating themselves from recently banned Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling.
According to a report from Larry Gordon of the Los Angeles Times, we can now add institutions of higher education to that list: "UCLA will return $425,000 recently donated by the Donald T. Sterling Charitable Foundation for kidney research and will cancel an agreement that would have brought Sterling’s gift to $3 million over seven years, the university announced Tuesday."
In an official release (via the Times), UCLA spokesperson Carol Stogsdill said:
Mr. Sterling’s divisive and hurtful comments demonstrate that he does not share UCLA’s core values as a public university that fosters diversity, inclusion and respect. For those reasons, UCLA has decided to return Mr. Sterling’s initial payment of $425,000 and reject the remainder of a $3-million pledge he recently made to support basic kidney research by the UCLA Division of Nephrology.
In other words, your money's no good here, Mr. Sterling.
Cutting off any association with Sterling isn't strange at all; it's sound business practice these days. Where this story gets weird, though, is with the news about the source of the newspaper advertisement announcing the original donation. According to Diamond Leung, a beat writer for the Golden State Warriors:
UCLA: Advertisement in Sunday LA Times "falsely suggesting it was UCLA publicly thanking him for the gift." Sterling actually placed the ad.— Diamond Leung (@diamond83) April 29, 2014
So if I'm reading that right, Donald Sterling placed an ad in the LA Times publicly thanking himself for a donation to kidney research.— Diamond Leung (@diamond83) April 29, 2014
It says something profound when a man feels the need to thank himself for a charitable gift.
Here's the ad in question:
"THANK YOU DONALD T. STERLING" —UCLA pic.twitter.com/ve5jkvPidA— reclaim UC (@reclaimuc) April 28, 2014
You know what? I'm starting to think Sterling might not be all that great a guy.
Get ready for plenty more stories like this one. As Sterling settles in as the most universally accepted punching bag in the news cycle, we'll see public denouncements and severed business ties rolling in by the hundreds.
CarMax has announced that, after 9 seasons, it will end its sponsorship of the LA Clippers.— darren rovell (@darrenrovell) April 28, 2014
Don't weep for him, though. He's earned his position as a pariah. In a backward way, he's become a way for companies to earn themselves a little positive PR.
The Clippers lost nearly all of their sponsors today. At least 14 companies suspended their partnership with LAC: http://t.co/Dlt577J2iz— Alex Kennedy (@AlexKennedyNBA) April 28, 2014
Cutting any association with Sterling is now the most effective way to announce one's progressive attitudes. Nobody's saying UCLA's motives are anything but pure, and it's a good thing for companies and regular folks to leave Sterling out on his own little hateful island.
He deserves to be isolated.
Let's just hope he doesn't need a new kidney any time soon.