I am a big basketball and Houston Rockets fan, and the NBA playoffs are currently underway. It has been one of the best first rounds that I can remember, like ever. It almost feels like March Madness with all of the extra quarters that has been played.
Unfortunately, it has been riddled with the issues surrounding Los Angeles Clippers’ owner Donald Sterling. Sterling was handed down one of the harshest penalties by NBA Commissioner Adam Silver for a wide range of racist tangents: a lifetime ban(never mind that the guy is 80 years old) from the NBA, a $2.5M fine, and pressure to sell the Clippers. Silver has asked for the vote of 3/4ths of the required NBA owners to “make” Sterling sell his team.
After the punishment was announced, there has been several mixed responses and comments regarding the whole thing. Does the punishment fit the crime? What happened to being entitled to your own opinion? The likes.
So, here are my three cents about the whole thing:
1. The Punishment:
The punishment fits the issue, there was no crime committed, depending on how you look at it. Racism should never be tolerated, and if one has the opportunity to squash any qualms about it, they should take it. The NBA made a statement as to what a bigot’s place in the league is, but I am not sure if the same punishment would have been carried out had the comments been about sexual orientation or say, religion.
2. Donald Sterling:
Donald Sterling was racist long before this event took place. According to wiki, he was previously sued by the US Department of Justice and by former Clipper’s executive/Hall of Famer, Elgin Baylor, for race and age discrimination. He did not become a bigot over night. The league and the players knew before hand what they were dealing with when it came to Donald Sterling.
Side Note: The Los Angeles Chapter of the NAACP has previously awarded Sterling with a lifetime achievement award and cancelled plans to award him a second one next month.
3. Donald Sterling and the NBA/Basketball:
After reading some of Sterling’s comments and contract negotiation remarks with regards to race, I can’t help but wonder why no one had previously challenged this man like he should have been. I mean he pretty much believes that Black people are vermin. It took a woman to take him out of NBA arenas. Wiki says that, Sporting News has called him the “worst owner in basketball”, and The New York Times and Forbes have labeled him, “worst owner”, IN SPORTS, and there has been some really bad ones. So, Donald Sterling never was good for the sport or the league and all of this was bound to happen. It just took a long ass time. Money stretches time, I guess.
Let’s hope that all of this helps to preserve some of the league’s and the sport’s integrity and serves as some sort of heed to others out there in the dark. Well, in the NBA, anyways.
EXTRA: Social Media is a force to be reckoned with.
Images from google.com