Racism still an issue in the NBA

Published by adviser, Author: Steven Bartley - Rocket Contributor, Date: May 1, 2014

Los Angeles Clippers owner, Donald Sterling, recently made racist comments towards African-American people. There is a tape-recording of Sterling making racist comments. First off, racism in today’s world should and will not be tolerated. 

Sterling’s comments show that money still comes before everything. Although we are far removed from slavery, Sterling was kind of running his business like an old plantation. 

It’s like his mindset was, “I don’t like the people that are running my land, but they sure are making me a lot of money.”

Did Sterling not realize what league he was in? The NBA is predominately African-American. His comments are some of the dumbest I have ever come across in sports. The conversation was private, but sometimes it’s a means to an end. Not only was his comment dumb, his supposed mistress is the one that turned him in. Allegedly, she didn’t turn over the tape.

The NBA players have done a wonderful job of handling themselves throughout this process. The players were outspoken and didn’t resort to anything irrational. Snoop Dogg’s comments were a little far-fetched.

The players were able to show unity black or white. The players united, and that is the way it should have been. I applaud them for that, because this could have turned into one of the ugliest things in sports history.

I dread to think what former commissioner David Stern knew or even what his ruling would have been. This is not Sterling’s first walk around the block with racism. 

The Department of Justice previously sued Sterling because he would use race as a factor for filling in apartment buildings. He would not rent to African-Americans in certain neighborhoods. 

The report is that Sterling settled out of court with a $2.7 million fine. He also had to pay lawyer fees that were close to $5 million.

In 2009, Sterling was also sued by a Clipper executive and former NBA player, Elgin Baylor. He felt he was being mistreated because of his race and age. 

He claimed that Sterling said he wanted poor black players from the south with a white head coach.

What took the league so long to see this issue? How much did David Stern know? All of this was happening right under his nose and he let it go. 

I find it amazing that a commissioner can be that naïve. League commissioners are almost laughable in every league. Gary Bettman of the NHL has had two lockouts during his regime. 

The NFL’s commissioner, Roger Goodell, does not know what football is anymore, and MLB commissioner, Bud Selig, has seen his legacy shaped by the different steroid scandals.

New NBA commissioner, Adam Silver, let the entire league know on April 29, that the NBA is his league and he won’t put up with racism. The world got a glimpse of what a real commissioner looks like. Silver banned Sterling for life and fined him $2.5 million. He received a lot of praise across the board from the league. 

Silver will also push for Sterling to sell the team. He set a precedent, he acted quickly and appropriately, and again I applaud him for that.

I wonder, along with Silver being a lawyer, if his upbringing helped with decision. Silver is Jewish, and although race and religion are two different things, they can both garner hate. 

I think Silver was able to look upon the history of Judaism and the spread of hate to make a decision along with it being a moral human rights issue. This story will be interesting moving forward.


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