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Tuesday, April 29, 2014


NBA Commissioner Adam Silver announced moments ago that Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling has been banned for life from the NBA. Sterling may not participate in any league activities, including games, practices, and team or league operations decisions and activities. Sterling was also fined $2.5 million, the maximum allowed under the NBA Constitution.


Ultimately, this story is about unequivocally offensive,vile, and disturbing remarks made in a private conversation that were leaked to the public. Silver noted however, that the remarks are now public and reflect Sterling’s views. With great power comes great responsibility. People of the highest profiles have to be acutely aware that they are under a constant microscope.

While I personally find unsettling the means by which we learned of who the real Donald Sterling is, that bell cannot be un-rung. To allow continued association with the NBA as an owner would permanently damage the image of the NBA. Silver had no choice but to act swiftly and decisively. Boy did he…!


This is not the first incident of racism involving Sterling. This is not the first incident involving Sterling that reflected poorly on the NBA and its business. Sterling has repeatedly been documented for engaging in questionable and unethical business practices involving his treatment of and timely payment of money owed to employees. He paid out a record settlement in a housing discrimination lawsuit, in which, among other alleged violations of the law, Sterling made sweeping and offensive racial generalizations. This is not a good guy.

On record, Sterling has built up very little good will with anyone over the years. I never heard a kind word about the man before the racism scandal broke over the weekend. In fact, what I have read and heard about the man from any source anywhere has been almost entirely negative. As an NBA owner, his tenure was absolutely laughable until the arrivals of All-Stars Blake Griffin and Chris Paul, and 2008 NBA Champion Head Coach Doc Rivers. Prior to the 2011-2012 season (and Paul’s arrival), the Clippers were the perennial laughing stock of the NBA, rarely afforded the slightest possibility of having a season that was not abysmal by anyone in the know in the NBA. Even a broken clock is right twice per day.

The means leading to Sterling’s last straw was foul, but the outcome was fair and, regardless of what prompted the ban, the NBA is better off for it.

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