I have followed the Donald Sterling situation online and through various media outlets since the first audio was released by TMZ and the extended audio released by Deadspin. Not only did I listen to the tape, but over the last few days I, like so many others, have learned a lot about Mr. Sterling. Today, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver banned Sterling indefinitely and also imposed a $2.5 million fine against the LA Clippers owner. It is now up to the owners to force Sterling to sell his team.

Photo: Sports Illustrated

There are been A LOT of discussion regarding the decision that was made today by the commissioner. Some think it was the right thing to do. He’s racist, he has to go! Others think enough wasn’t done.  They were complaining about the decision. I retweeted a tweet from Luvvie that asked “WHAT DO YOU WANT??” and someone responded “a real consequence. Not something that’s essentially a slap on the wrist.” FYI, the NBA has its own set of bylaws and a constitution. There is only so much they can legally do.

A few of my Facebook friends wondered why he was being banned for life and fined. After all, the comments were made in private.  According to those on Facebook, this was like being fired for something you said at home around your kitchen. We all say inappropriate things when we’re off the clock. Should that get us fired?

I don’t think the NBA banned Sterling for JUST his comments on the audio. I think the recording was the icing on the cake. Donald Sterling has a history of being a racist and considering Sterling has gotten away with unacceptable behavior in the past, the new commissioner Adam Silver decided enough was enough. His message: “not on my watch!” In 2005, the Department of Justice sued Sterling for driving African America, Hispanics and families with children out of the apartments he owned.  He paid a $2.725 million settlement. You can read the details about his disturbing behavior here.

In 1983, he asked potential head coach Rollie Massimino “I wanna know why you think you can coach these n*ggers?” Massimino swore never to coach the Clippers. The commissioner at the time, Davis Stern, was apparently present when this happened.

And in 2011, the former general manager Elgin Baylor, filed a lawsuit against the Clippers for racial discrimination and wrongful termination. The lawsuit brought to light more racist behavior by Sterling. Baylor claimed that Sterling had a racist attitude towards player Danny Manning stating “I’m offering a lot of money for a poor black kid.” Baylor also claimed in his lawsuit that Sterling wanted a team composed of “poor black boys from the South and a white head coach.” Seriously, isn’t this the 21st century?!?!

Sterling heckling Davis
Photo: Sports Illustrated

Let’s just say, it was no secret that Sterling was racist but not enough people felt the need to stand up and say something. Baron Davis, who used to play for the LA Clippers, is all too familiar with Sterling’s antics. In an interview with Grantland, Davis says Sterling called him a bastard, the devil or call him crazy. He says Sterling would curse at him and yell “why are you shooting the f*cking ball?”  As soon as Sterling would walk in the arena, Davis would get anxiety.  It was hard to function knowing his owner hated him. You can listen to the entire Grantland interview here.

From @Baron_Davis on Instagram

The new commissioner knows that a man with the ideals expressed by Sterling, although stated in private, along with his previous behavior do not fit the NBA’s standards. At least they don’t know. The NBA runs the risk of facing more racial discrimination lawsuits in the future in Sterling stays in his position and still has access to games and anything associated with the NBA. How do they know there aren’t other instances of Sterling discriminating against minorities in his organization in the past (that haven’t been reported or brought up in a lawsuit) or won’t do so in the future? How do they know he won’t say or do something to minorities who attend LA Clippers’ games?

The decision to do nothing is a liability for the NBA. Not only are they losing money (sponsorships) and gaining bad press (taking the attention away from the playoffs), but by doing NOTHING, the NBA would send a message that they condone the thoughts and past behavior of Sterling. Clearly that’s what happened with David Stern was commissioner and Adam Silver doesn’t want to send the same message; looks like he’s trying to clean up a mess that should have been taken care of a long time ago.

I am sure there are other owners in the NBA that share the same view as Sterling. After all, many teams are owned by old white men. We know; people are entitled to their opinions and viewpoints. However, when those views and opinions are known by the public and have the potential to affect the treatment of others, it’s time to step in and do something. Hopefully the owners decide there is no place in the NBA for Mr. Donald Sterling.

Like it or not, we are a reflection of where we work or the industry we work.  What we do in our private lives can impact what happens in our professional lives and unfortunately for Donald Sterling, he’s learning that the hard way.

Gotta love #blacktwitter

Source: Brotha Wolf & Slam Online

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