Banned for life.
That is the exact punishment handed down to Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling by NBA commissioner Adam Silver Tuesday, after an audio recording was leaked over the weekend that captured Sterling making racist comments to his girlfriend.
Silver not only banned Sterling for life, but also fined him $2.5 million, which is the maximum fine allowed by the NBA constitution. Silver said in a press conference the money will go toward “organizations dedicated to anti-discrimination and tolerance efforts” to be decided on by the NBA and its players association.
Silver absolutely made the right decision, and should be commended for acting quickly and appropriately.
The comments made by Sterling have no place in sports or in society. Thanks to the leadership of Silver, they did not go unpunished.
One can only hope the reaction of the players and fans, which has thus far been professional, remains that way.
I not only feel awful for the black community, but for those within the Clippers organization, especially the players who are in the midst of a highly competitive playoff series with the Golden State Warriors.
As a former athlete at the high school level and club level in college, I know that off the field – or in this case, court – situations can sometimes disrupt one’s ability to perform, and I hope not only the Clippers, but all NBA players, will be able to rise above this situation and continue to succeed on the court.
I also hope this situation does not cause any sort of issue between players of different races in the locker room. One would hope in today’s society this would not be a problem, however, Sterling’s comments should not be a part of today’s society either.
Some people have suggested players and fans alike boycott the upcoming playoff games, but I feel that action would prove nothing. Sure, Sterling won’t profit from the upcoming games, but what of the players who have worked so hard all season and are chasing a championship?
I firmly believe once that first whistle blows, all outside circumstances cease and it is strictly a game. The focus is on the game and that alone.
I do not believe I am alone in saying that I hope the NBA owners vote to eliminate Sterling permanently, and I believe we as an American society would emerge from this stronger and more united.
As a white male, I cannot begin to understand what the black community must feel, or the distrust that must be felt by those associated with the Clippers organization. I can, however, offer them my full support in the hope that justice will be served and Sterling will be rightfully punished for his actions.