NBA Drops Hammer on Donald Sterling
A screenshot of NBA Commissioner Adam Sterling at the press conference earlier today
The hammer has dropped on the Donald Sterling story. In a press conference earlier today, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver fined LA Clippers owner Sterling $2.5 million and condemned him to a lifetime ban from associating with the L.A. Clippers and the NBA as a result of the racist comments captured on a tape and made public by TMZ. Silver also pledged to do everything in his power to work with the NBA Board of Governors to force the sale of the team.
The Donald Sterling tapes have shaken the basketball world and spilled over into the front pages of newspapers everywhere. With good reason. The L.A. Clippers basketball owner was recorded making dumb racist remarks while in conversation with his mistress. Chances are that he was set up by her, but the racist attitude is out of the bag and you can't put it back. The story has created a media uproar trending for days on Twitter and eating up air time on TV and radio news and talk shows across the country.
Commentator Jay Smooth wonders why we respond more to words than deeds, raising the roof over racist comments, but turning our head to the problem on a daily basis. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar asks what all the fuss is about since Sterling's been getting away with this for decades.
This time it's different for several reasons. The tape recordings carry the double edged sword of not only catching a racist in full-throated bigotry, but also seeing an arrogant rich man brought down. Throw a hot mistress into the mix, the background of NBA ballers battling for the championship and the history of racism in America and you have one hell of an explosive story to pontificate about. Talk about a tsunami of coincidence and timing.
This is a Rodney King moment, a harmonic convergence of pomp and circumstance captured on tape in a plugged-in world where scandal strikes like a lightning bolt. No one was surprised that members of the LAPD beat up a black man, but they were horrified and moved to action by the video which caught the incident. Donald Sterling was similarly caught, though his actions were private. Caught and punished, hopefully he'll fade into the background where he belongs, perhaps wondering how his racist behavior has served the cause of advancing civil rights and declaring institutional racism a thing of the past.