With swift and appropriate punishment, the National Basketball Association has demonstrated excellent leadership in dealing with racist comments from one of its rich and powerful owners.
Props to commissioner Adam Silver, who in a news conference last week crisply outlined the actions against Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling.
Silver said the league would ban him for life from attending games and practices, fine him $2.5 million and try to force him to sell the team.
Under the NBA constitution, other NBA team owners can make that sale happen. They should do so as soon as possible, even though Sterling likely would make hundreds of millions of dollars in profit.
If Sterling wanted to help repair his own image, he would use some of those proceeds to support organizations dedicated to combating the racism that still exists in this country.
Sterling earned his ouster with racially offensive comments, caught in a recorded conversation with V. Stiviano, a woman he reportedly has had a relationship with. At one point, Sterling told her not to promote her friendships with black people “and not to bring them to my games.”
In a league where almost four of every five players is black, Sterling also demeaned them by crediting himself for their livelihood. “Do I make the game, or do they make the game?” he said.
How preposterous. Players of all colors and many nationalities have made the NBA a pastime that generates billions of dollars a year, including profits for owners such as Sterling.
Silver and the league on Tuesday said “good riddance” to Sterling. It was a long time in coming, given his past legal settlements in cases involving civil rights violations and housing discrimination. But it was a much-needed move.
Copyright Kansas City Star. Reprinted with permission.