Tonawanda News

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May 2, 2014

LEFFLER: Donald Sterling issue not black and white.


Tonawanda News — The NBA is a lot like a restaurant franchise. Each owner is in charge of their store but the corporate overlords are in charge of various policies. And if the individual stores don’t pull their weight, the corporation moves in and protects its interests.

Having worked for the McDonald’s Corporation for a number of years, this parallel makes a lot of sense to me. In fact, at the end of my tenure with McDonald’s, one of my duties was to help franchisees with certain image problems. I worked for the corporation, but my day-to-day duties was to help private store owners with issues. Basically, the corporation knew that individual store owners could make them look bad. And if that were to happen, those store owners could lose their franchise rights. For the well-being of the corporation.

I get that. It makes sense. But still it’s a very slippery slope.

The NBA is in a bad situation itself. They can’t stand up for Sterling, lest they be branded racist. But in ostracizing him, they’re telling other NBA owners — and potentially other sports owners — “Hey, you better not ever say anything remotely controversial or we’ll cut you off at the knees.”

A slippery slope indeed. I see the NBA’s point of view. But in the end, I just think they’re wrong.

Scott Leffler is more upset about McDonald's getting rid of Hot Mustard than the NBA getting rid of Donald Sterling. He didn't think that was column-worthy, but he did tweet about it recently @scottleffler.

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