There are several clear winners after today’s decisive action by Commissioner Adam Silver and the NBA.
First and foremost, the new Commissioner, in his first real action since taking over from David Stern, acted decisively, firmly, and correctly in imposing a lifetime ban on Clippers’ owner Donald Sterling, and in setting in motion the forced sale of the franchise. He is clearly a big winner.
For decades, the NFL supported the blatant racism of Washington Redskins founder, George Preston Marshall. It took action by then U.S. Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy and Secretary of the Interior Stewart Udall to threaten revoking the Redskin’s right to play in a stadium owned by the federal government in order to force Marshall to sign the team’s
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|first black player, in the 1960s. However, no action was ever taken to force him out, by any of a series of commissioners including the league’s own likely racist commissioner, anti-Semite Pete Rozelle, and Marshall owned the team until his death. When Major League Baseball had nazi Marge Schott and her ownership of the Cincinnati Reds to deal with, it took several years, several suspensions, and much arm twisting until she could be convinced to sell out. Unlike the other leagues, the NBA took the bull by the horns and acted.|
The players, including those throughout the league of every race and religion, were also big winners. The league and the commissioner showed the players that they stand behind them and will do what is right, even if it means eating one of their own.
The biggest winners are Los Angeles Clippers’ fans. With the current success of the team, memories have become short and fans seem to have forgotten the decades through which the team was an embarrassment to the city and to basketball. Despite their current success, some fans and pundits did continue to speculate that Sterling would, at some
|point, still figure out a way to screw it up. Instead, he screwed himself up, and by his pending exit, might well ensure many successful years in the Clippers’ future.
A big-winner-to-be-named is the next owner of the Clippers, be it a derivative entity of Guggenheim Baseball Management which includes Magic Johnson, developer Rick Caruso, or some other person or entity that could swoop in and acquire a team on the verge of a dynasty.
As to the losers in all this, that would include Sterling, but also his son-in-law, Donald Miller, who has done a fine job as the team’s Director of Basketball Administration and appeared to have a great future eventually running the team. Miller should receive kudos for stepping up and calling it like it is when he told TMZ that his father-in-law was
|ignorant and a racist, and if saying that cost him his job, so be it.
The Clippers play game five in their playoff series against the Golden State Warriors in a few hours. As bad as the team looked on Sunday, which I described here, including the possible “why”, I expect the team to come out with a great new attitude and determination, and destroy the Warriors tonight, much as they did in their game two 40-point win.
One final word, regarding Dallas Mavericks’ owner Mark
Cuban, and his comments over the past couple of days. While he deemed Sterlings’ statement “abhorrent”, he did say that if the league were to take action to remove an owner, that that was a “slippery slope” and he questioned what thoughts or statements from other owners in the future might be so bad as to warrant a similar action. In wondering where a line would be drawn, Cuban gave examples: “…homophobia? What about somebody who doesn’t like a particular religion? What about somebody who’s anti-Semitic? What about a xenophobe?” This comment needs to be seen with the knowledge that Cuban is Jewish, and it makes one wonder whether or not he has heard anti-Semitic statements from one or more other team owners, or even if he has heard homophobic statements.