I am revising my view of the Donald Sterling story. I now believe that the NBA, through its Commissioner, Adam Silver, acted properly in banning Sterling from all Clipper activities. Blunt force was necessary and Sterling had to go immediately. The end game is yet to be played, but the NBA will play it out well. My earlier comment, below, was based on my normal, cautious approach to such matters. I now believe that allowing Sterling to survive in any role would have been a collosal error and I retract that comment.
Yesterday’s post follows.
Donald Sterling is owner, still, of the LA Clippers of the NBA and has been such for over 20 years. Adam Silver has been Commissioner of the NBA for a few months. Mr. Sterling made some horribly racially insensitive remarks to his girl friend who is half a century younger that he is. The comments were terrible, but it seems he was speaking in private and both being goaded on by her and goading her in return. It didn’t turn out well. Nevertheless, he deserved to be sanctioned, fined, suspended or otherwise punished by the league.
Adam Silver is a new Commissioner. He acted by banning Mr. Sterling from attending games, practices and etc. for life. Mr. Sterling still owns the team, by the way. So, how does he own without participating. We’ll find out.
I seems that Mr. Sterling had few friends within the NBA and may be paying for accumulated grievances. His words were lamentable, but he is an owner and owners are to be treated with some discretion. I think a more seasoned Commissioner would have acted with some restraint, at least stopping short of a death penalty. The important factor here is that he is given no room to redeem himself, and by redeeming himself, redeeming the league. That is very important. Now the league is left with the redemption burden and it would have been easier if Sterling had to do it. The league will now be subject to huge pressure to make peace and that will be very expensive. It would have been easier if Sterling had to bear that burden.
This gets to the accumulated grievances and friends points I made, Both are true. I don’t know what happened and what pressure Silver was subjected to, or whether anyone came to Sterling’s aid. Then, again, the workings of a sports league in camera are byzantine and I can only guess at the discussions that took place.