The expression “two steps forward, one step back,” isn’t just the realization that progress is being hindered — it also describes a situation the NBA could potentially be in. After ridding itself of degenerate former governors (owners) who did heinous acts during their tenures in Los Angeles (Donald Sterling) and Phoenix (Robert Sarver), the league finds itself with another white and wealthy man with questionable morals on the verge of joining its ranks, as Cleveland Browns owner Jimmy Haslam is looking to buy a stake of the Milwaukee Bucks.
When you Moonwalk into a mess it means you’re uncoordinated.
On Wednesday night, the Bucks knocked off the Orlando Magic for their 16th straight win, as they’re now preparing for their Saturday night showcase game on ABC against the Philadelphia 76ers.
In the news for different reasons
But, what’s had them in the news is more about what’s taking place off the court, as Haslam has agreed to buy a 25 percent stake of the team that’s estimated to be worth $3.5 billion — which is an estimated investment of $875 million, according to The Associated Press. The Haslam family bought the Browns back in 2012 for $1.05 billion. The franchise has one playoff appearance, a winless season, hired and fired a multitude of coaches, and has been one of the worst teams in the NFL while the Haslams have been in charge.
However, this isn’t about a family who owns a sorry team in the NFL attempting to buy part of a really good team in the NBA. It’s about the NBA and the league’s other governors coming together to stand against Jimmy Haslman and the baggage that comes with him.
This is the guy that believes Deshaun Watson deserves a second chance
“We strongly believe [Deshaun Watson] deserves a second chance,” Haslam said last August. “We gave Kareem Hunt a second chance and that worked out pretty well.”
Days later, Browns fans followed Haslam’s lead when they showed up at the stadium in “support” of Watson. One man sold T-shirts that read “BITCH GIVE ME A MASSAGE!” And there appeared to be a father-and-son duo that had signs with a message, “FUCK THEM HOES” and “FREE WATSON.”
And then Haslam said the quiet part out loud.
“And you can say, ‘well that’s because he’s a star quarterback.’ Well, of course,” said Haslam as he took that moment to make it clear that — to him — talent trumps 26 sexual civil lawsuits for sexual misconduct against the man that he gave the highest-guaranteed contract in NFL history.
Lest we forget Donald Sterling
Sterling was so bad that Adam Silver had to ban him from the league and force the sale of his team after he was caught on tape spewing flagrantly racist garbage — after there was decades-long evidence and other allegations that the people ignored — when the NBA Commissioner had been on the job for less than three months. Sarver had allegations against him that included discussing the way his wife performed oral sex on him, asking a female employee if he “owned” her, asking a Black coach why a Black player got to say the N-word, and telling a staff member that “these N-words need an N-word” in his reasoning for hiring a Black coach over a white one, amongst other things.
And now, with Sterling and Sarver in the NBA’s rearview mirror, here comes Haslam trying to hop in the backseat like he ordered an Uber. And then there’s the dichotomy between someone like Haslam trying to buy the Bucks, and Milwaukee’s best player. Giannis Antetokounmpo is one of the most beloved people in sports. He’s the proverbial “good guy.” And earlier this week, he joined a group of other investors that acquired a stake in the MLS club Nashville SC. You won’t find anybody side-eying this deal.
But, that other deal with Haslman has not been finalized, as the rest of the NBA’s governors have to approve it. That means there’s still time for the right thing to be done. But, if it isn’t, a clear message will be sent. Which is that the “good ole boys network” that thrives in the NFL now has a Trojan Horse within the NBA. This league needs more owners like Giannis, and not Jimmy Haslam.