Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Sterling Stories

It's somewhat bizarre that Donald Sterling got the death penalty for some racist remarks in a private conversation. It was also pretty inevitable.

Donald Sterling, the longtime owner of the Los Angeles Clippers, was barred from the N.B.A. for life and may be forced to sell the team for making racist remarks, the league commissioner, Adam Silver, announced Tuesday. Silver said that Sterling would be barred from any contact with his team and the league and that he would be fined $2.5 million, the maximum allowed by the league’s constitution.

Of course lots of people would be in trouble if their every unguarded remark was recorded and disseminated to the world, but Sterling had a few counts against him, in addition to the rank and disgusting content of the speech itself. One was a long history of racist business practices. More importantly, he owns a NBA franchise, and the players in the NBA are overwhelmingly black. Not only that, but he personally dissed Magic Johnson, basketball icon, major ambassador for the game, and a leading candidate for greatest player ever.

If NBA commissioner Silver had gone easy on Sterling, convulsions in the league would likely severely damaged the league as well as the team.

Sterling has indicated that he will fight the lifetime ban Silver handed down, and, given the fact that Sterling is a lawyer and has almost two gigabucks, the courts will likely be busy for the rest of Sterling's life.