Greg Cote: Sterling sets new gold standard for awful owners

05/04/2014 12:01 AM

05/04/2014 12:55 AM

The resting, waiting (and waiting) Heat inherit the winner of Game 7 of the Nets-Raptors series Sunday as the NBA postseason prepares to move on to its second round — and further past the scandal and stink of banned-for-life Los Angeles Clippers racist-owner Donald Sterling.

I’m supposed to be impartial but am secretly hoping it’s the Nets. I can’t get out of my head the delicious image of Toronto mayor Rob Ford, after a crack cocaine relapse, lurching merrily into a Heat practice to meet LeBron James, tripping over a ball rack and careening face-first into an ice bath.

By the way, I thought the national firestorm that nominated Sterling as the permanent new grand marshal of the all-time Awful Sports Owners parade saw a missed opportunity here in South Florida. Came and went the chance for Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria to present himself grinning in a full-page newspaper ad below the bugling headline:


Sterling does lend perspective, doesn’t he?

America has a rich history of bad sports owners such as the Knicks’ James Dolan and Redskins’ Dan Snyder, but normally “bad” just means endless losing, terrible decision-making or acute cheapness. Rarely does it involve off-field stuff like what the Colts’ Jim Irsay is going through, or the infamous racist, anti-Semitic views of the late Reds owner, Marge Schott.

The Clippers scandal actually ended up making me money. I’d forgotten, but, a few months ago, on a crazy hunch while in Las Vegas, I got million-to-1 odds betting there would be a spring sports scandal involving $2.5 million and men named Sterling and Silver.

(I did not fare as well on the bet that last season’s Super Bowl quarterbacks would be named Platinum and Rhodium).

• The owner of the Moonlight Bunny Ranch in Nevada says Sterling is banned for life there, too. Yes, because brothels cannot afford to be associated with disreputable clientele!
• Sterling has been mum since a former mistress or her friend made a recording of his racist remarks public. On Friday, he reportedly told DuJour magazine, “I wish I had just paid her off.” Which, I must say, earns about an F-minus in Apology.
•  Oprah Winfrey, Floyd Mayweather Jr., Diddy, Rick Ross, David Geffen and Skechers shoes are among those rumored interested in buying the Clippers. Better bet? The pending forced sale will be tied up for years in probate court in a legal morass that will outlive Sterling.
• The Florida Panthers are searching for their 10th coach since 2000 after firing interim man Peter Horachek. Suggestion for general manager Dale Tallon: Find a coach you like enough to keep long enough for him to take off the “Hello My Name Is ” tag.
• That reminds me. The NHL playoffs, generally comprised of teams good enough to not constantly fire their coaches, are down to the final eight.
• Dolphins general manager Dennis Hickey, in an NFL Draft news conference Friday, said he’d nominate Leslie Nielsen to portray him in a movie — problematic only because Nielsen died in 2010.
• The Seahawks hired ex-Dolphins GM Jeff Ireland as a consultant through the draft. That explains Seattle’s stated draft priority: to not select any players whose mothers are prostitutes.
• Just looked out my window and saw something falling past at blur-speed. I worried it might be a dead body. Thank goodness it was only Teddy Bridgewater’s draft stock.
• UM had risen to No. 4 in the national baseball polls entering the weekend, off 19 wins in its past 20 games. Even better, not a single Hurricane has been kicked off the team for shoplifting crab legs.
• That reminds me. Heisman-winning quarterback Jameis Winston was booted off the Seminoles baseball team after being cited for stealing king crab legs from a Publix. Not sure I like the defense strategy: that Winston thought FSU meant Free Shellfish University.
• Canes football coach Al Golden said no to Showtime on a 13-week reality series on his team this season. I’d have done it. Ray Lewis was producer. Would have been a free three-month ad for The U.
• Miami could be one of the sites as the United States hosts the centennial Copa America in 2016. Is it just me, or is Dolphins stadium bringing us better fútbol than football lately?
• Giants pitcher Matt Cain missed a start after cutting himself in the clubhouse kitchen making a sandwich. Dear baseball: Your sport has a combined player payroll of $36 billion. Hire a cook!
• Yankees fans booed Robinson Cano on his return to New York. Or, did that go without saying? Yankees fans would boo a baptism.
•  Pelé swung through Miami as part of a promotional tour for the summer World Cup in Brazil. Dear Pelé: You don’t need to promote it. You need to put on a hardhat and help get the stadiums ready.
• NCAA men’s basketball runnerup Kentucky is 5-1 favorite to win it all in 2015. Yeah that “one-and-done” is really ruining John Calipari, isn’t it!
•  Parting thought: Bob Costas left a Yankees-Mariners broadcast on MLB Network during the seventh inning for bathroom break. It’s a baseball tradition: the Seventh-Inning Stream. Everybody! “Take me out to the rest room ”

Visit Greg’s Random Evidence of a Cluttered Blog daily at and follow on Twitter @gregcote.

About Greg Cote

Greg Cote


Greg Cote has been a Miami Herald sports columnist since 1995 and also writes the Random Evidence blog and NFL predictions along with his notorious sidekick the Upset Bird. He has covered Hurricanes football (1984-88), the Dolphins (1990-91) and major events including Super Bowls, NBA Finals, World Series, Stanley Cup, Olympics and World Cup.

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