Some interesting words from former baseball commissioner Fay Vincent, who had to deal with Marge Schott back in his day. Schott, you may recall, dropped N-words on her stars Eric Davis and Dave Parker, praised the good works of Adolf Hitler and was generally the worst person ever. But Vincent thinks Sterling is worse:
“What she said was egregious, but what he said was probably worse,” Vincent, 75, told Bloomberg News. “There’s a question of where you draw the line. In this case with what this guy did and probably in Marge Schott’s case, you’re well over the line.”
Part of why Vincent thinks Sterling is worse is that Schott was a raging alcoholic and a more tragic and pathetic figure while Sterling is, presumably, saying the things he’s saying with a clear head and clear eyes. Your mileage may vary about how that all works, but I can at least see Vincent’s point. Another thing he says:
“You have to start with the proposition that the commissioner works for the owners, and for him to be disciplining the owners is a very awkward circumstance,” Vincent said.
It may have been awkward for Vincent as he never had the confidence of the other owners. But by the time Schott was actually disciplined it was Bud Selig calling the shots. And the single most important thing Selig ever did was to create a consensus among the owners and never do anything unless or until he had them in his corner. By doing this over a number of years, Selig has gained their trust to a large degree and could, I believe anyway, take unilateral action against an owner without ruffling too many feathers if he needed to. Whether Silver can do this in the NBA after a couple months on the job is an open question.