What others say: What took the NBA so long?

  • Wednesday, April 30, 2014 5:10pm
  • Opinion

Draping his league bosses in undeserved nobility, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver on Tuesday banned for life and fined a team owner whose bigotry had embarrassed professional basketball — during the playoffs! “We stand together in condemning Mr. Sterling’s views,” Silver said. “They simply have no place in the NBA.”

What about all the other outrages of Donald Sterling’s 33 years as owner of the Los Angeles Clippers? What about the long history of lawsuits (including a federal housing discrimination lawsuit settled for $2.76 million) for all manner of ugly statements? Did those behaviors have a place in the NBA — but this one didn’t?

Sterling’s fellow owners can pretend that his sin is his egregious disrespect for his players, his team’s fans, his league and the game that binds them. But that isn’t new. Sterling’s sin is that he got caught on a microphone. He made a scene.

His fellow owners, having looked away for years, couldn’t look away. Not this time, they couldn’t.

Not with lucrative sponsors fleeing, and murmurs about a possible player revolt, and fears of what all might happen when the Clippers opened their doors for a home game.

So Sterling’s fellow NBA owners finally did what had to be done. Then they dispatched the hapless Silver to report their heroic deed, as if to have him cut down the nets. And the rest of us are supposed to applaud?

Because they didn’t deal with Sterling long ago, the owners invited a situation in which one man’s ugly words could remind American society that too often we let people divide us into tribes.

Will anyone walk away from l’affaire Sterling saying that the NBA, with swift and sure punishment, has helped bring us together? No. The takeaway here is that the NBA’s long inaction allowed one foolish man to write a chapter in its history. This from a league that once helped to integrate pro sports, and whose players are predominantly minorities.

We give the final word to a competitor, New York Times sportswriter Juliet Macur, because in three simple sentences she evoked how self-satisfaction can divide any of us from our principles:

The sad part is that it took this long. Maybe that is because until now everyone was making so much money. Maybe their pockets became so heavy they could not stand up for what was right.

— Chicago Tribune,

April 30

More in Opinion

This image available under the Creative Commons license shows the outline of the state of Alaska filled with the pattern of the state flag.
Opinion: Bringing broadband to all Alaskans

Too many Alaskans face barriers accessing the internet.

This photo shows a stack of pocket constitutions at the Alaska State Capitol. (Peter Segall / Juneau Empire File)
Opinion: Join us in voting against a constitutional convention

Voting no on a constitutional convention is vital to the well-being and stability of our state.

Michael O’Meara.
Point of View: Tell BOEM how you feel

It seems like BOEM should prioritize input from people most likely to be affected if leases are sold

The State of Alaska, Department of Administration, Office of Information Technology webpage. (Screenshot/oit.alaska.gov)
Cloud migration now underway will strengthen, enhance State IT systems

At the most basic level, cloud computing is the delivery of computing services remotely

Jessica Cook, left, and Les Gara stand in The Peninsula Clarion’s offices on Thursday, June 30, 2022, in Kenai, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Alaska Voices: Better schools for a better economy

We need leaders who care about our children’s futures

A resident casts their vote in the regular municipal election Tuesday, Oct. 6, 2020, at the Kenai Peninsula Fairgrounds in Ninilchik, Alaska. (Photo by Megan Pacer/Homer News)
Voices of the Peninsula: This is our borough and city

By Therese Lewandowski Another election already? Yes! This is our local elections… Continue reading

The Alaska Permanent Fund Corporation building is seen in Juneau, Alaska, in March 2022. (Michael S. Lockett / Juneau Empire)
Opinion: APFC keeps steady keel during turbulent year

FY2022 was a challenging year for all investors

t
Opinion: Don’t get scammed like I nearly did

I should have just turned off the computer.

Most Read