The The London Daily Mail is running with a story today in which it interviewed Phillip Scheid, the boyhood best friend of Scott Sterling — Donald Sterling’s son. Scott died of a drug overdose last year at the age of 31.
Scheid says Scott had a hellish childhood, even though he grew up as a child of privilege. He allegedly endured regular beatings (as profiled in the Sports Illustrated article below), and was often the subject of his father’s insane rants. An example of Donald Sterling being a racist bully, via The Daily Mail:
“One day he told Scott off for taking too much food at the dinner table and using his hands. He said: ‘Stop being a little n***er and use the cutlery’. I’m not a racist and to hear those words shocked me, I was brought up to think everyone was equal.”
Phillip also describes an incident where Sterling berated him for dressing like a ‘negro.’
“One day I’m wearing this camouflage jumpsuit, I was like 17 or 18, and it was made by the rapper Master P.
“He said: ‘What are you wearing this cr** for? Why are you wearing these clothes, you’re a white man? I don’t want you wearing that. Why are you wearing the Negro suit?’
“He didn’t want me in his house with that outfit on,” says Phillip.
Cheryl (Phillip’s mom) adds: “It wasn’t just black people. He’d always say: ‘Christian people are stupid and don’t know how to make money.’ ”
Stories like this were no great secrets, yet most chose to look the other way — including an unnamed Sports Illustrated editor who spiked the more horrifying details of a profile on the Clippers and Sterling written by Franz Lidz in 2000. This is one of the portions that was heavily edited (it’s now running in its entirety on SI today):
Shortly after the Clippers made Danny Manning the top pick of the 1988 NBA draft, team owner Donald Sterling invited the player and his agent, Ron Grinker, to talk contract in Beverly Hills. It was recounted to me how Sterling lounged around his mansion in a bathrobe open to his navel, wearing nothing underneath.
At one point Sterling’s preteen son wandered in and was chastised for skipping Hebrew school. The owner commanded the boy, “Go to your room and get undressed.” The child slouched upstairs. Sterling followed. The next thing Manning heard was a belt thrashing and the boy wailing, as Grinker bounded up the stairs yelling, “Stop! Stop! We’ll sign.”
Lidz, on why much of his story was spiked:
So much of [Sterling’s] behavior — extreme parsimony, discriminatory practices, wild sexual escapades — was deemed too weird, too cruel, too contemptible. An editor told me, “You’ve demonized him.”
Really? I said. I thought I’d bent over backward to be fair.
“Even if Sterling were the source of this stuff, no one would believe it.”
Phillip Scheid said in the Daily Mail article that Donald Sterling often walked around the house naked, even in front of guests. And the father “didn’t give a shit” about his son.
Such was the depth of disdain for Scott, Sterling’s wife Shelly even “offered him” to Phillip’s mom Terri to live with the Scheids.
“Shelly would offer my mom money to look after him. She even offered to switch me for Scott and she wasn’t kidding. She was deadly serious, as I was a normal kid, and he was so out there and crazy, but is it any wonder?”