NBA didn't want Sterling reputation
Posted April 30, 2014
In the end, it bothered the NBA a lot that Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling wanted to broadcast he was associated with their league.
Commissioner Adam Silver didn't want it publicized on the Instagram, or any other form of media, and no longer wanted Sterling's baggage brought to his games.
The commissioner served up a lifetime ban from the NBA and a $2.5 million fine after a recorded conversation outing Sterling as a societal fossil. Despite Sterling's protestations to FOX News that his franchise wasn't for sale, Silver expects the NBA Board of Governors to force an unloading of the Clippers.
The decision to drop the hammer on Sterling has been universally praised by NBA owners, coaches, players, media and fans. Being contrarian on the matter simply puts you in the position of having to defend a racist, and nobody in their right mind wants that kind of attention at the height of trendy faux outrage.
Instead, periphery points of departure using false equivalencies and First Amendment rights emerged in the discourse as a roundabout way of showing dissent.
Silver shut down this flimsy predicament during Tuesday's press conference, saying "whether or not these remarks were initially shared in private, they are now public, and they represent his views.”
The only thing more 'Merican than the First Amendment is money, and Sterling finally did something to mess it up for the NBA.
Those corporate dollars didn't dry up after Sterling settled lawsuits that alleged his real estate companies discriminated against minorities, which included some racial doozies in sworn testimony. The sponsorships didn't go away after NBA Hall of Famer and former Clippers general manager Elgin Baylor accused Sterling of having a “vision of a Southern plantation-type structure” for the franchise. The money was still there after sexual harassment claims.
And the other NBA owners didn't sweat it because the embarrassment was contained to the Clippers. The organization held a special designation of being the biggest dumpster fire in professional sports. Sterling and his team were a joke, tucked away in a building behind the largess of the Los Angeles Lakers.
But once they had high profile players like Chris Paul and Blake Griffin? Once the Clippers started winning and making the playoffs? Sterling's personal problems could no longer be hidden.
The First Amendment doesn't protect individuals from criticism and consequences. It doesn't protect folks who have embarrassed or threatened to torch the reputation of a private enterprise. The NBA has its own set of bylaws that gave Silver the right to kick Sterling out for those very reasons and seperate the the league from the source of scandal. Silver had to clean up a mess the previous commissioner and other owners allowed to fester for a decade.
It is amusing to see the tipping point in Sterling's world was his displeasure with a girlfriend and not because of all the other times his bizarre thinking was on display for all of us to see. It's a point not lost on ESPN personality Bomani Jones, who wrote about Sterling's racism back in 2006 and reiterated his problems with how the story has been handled with Dan Le Batard on ESPN Radio earlier this week.
Now, who is ready for some actual basketball?