Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling has the city of Los Angeles and the entire NBA community in an uproar ever since Saturday, April 26th. TMZ leaked recorded audio of Sterling’s disgusting racist remarks to his alleged mistress, Viviano Stiviano, expressing his dislike of her Instagram picture that she posted with NBA Hall of Fame point guard, Magic Johnson.
Sterling is a racist and his comments in regards to his girlfriend’s picture are proof enough.
“You can sleep with them, you can bring them in, you can do whatever you want. The little I ask you is not to promote it and not to bring them to my games,” Sterling said.
NBA players and fellow owners had immediate responses to establish that those comments are not a representation of the NBA, rather a representation of an ignorant racist.
Miami Heat forward LeBron James, the face of the NBA didn’t take the situation lightly.
“If the reports are true, it’s unacceptable. It’s unacceptable in our league. It doesn’t matter if you’re white, black, Hispanic, whatever, all across the races,” James said.
“It’s unacceptable and as a commissioner in our league, they have to make a stand, and they have to be very aggressive with it. I don’t know what it’s going to be, but you just can’t have that in our league.” Bold comments from the “King.”
The Clippers were the ones who felt the blow the most. With the majority of the team made of African-Americans, the Clippers found out the news just days before their game four-playoff game against the Golden State Warriors.
Without many players from the team going to the media, as a unit they did a silent protest before game four of the playoffs. During warm-ups the Clippers players removed their shooting shirts, turned them inside out and threw them on the ground at half-court. They had t-shirts on as well but wore them inside out to show that they did not want to represent Sterling’s remarks by wearing the Clipper logo.
The Clippers weren’t focused during their game, losing to the Warriors by 21 points. Who could blame them with all of the controversy? African American Clippers head coach, Doc Rivers, gave his take on the situation.
“”It’s very difficult to get everyone to think in one likeness right now, and that’s what we’re trying to do,” Rivers said. “That’s what I’m trying to do.”
Rivers was asked if Sterling were able to keep ownership of the team, would he continue to work for him and remain head coach next season.
““Don’t know yet. And I’m just gong to leave it at that,” Rivers said.
The rest of the NBA has been supportive to the rest of the Clippers organization. The Miami Heat duplicated the Clippers silent protest in their last game against the Bobcats.
Players, coaches and league officials around the NBA wanted Sterling to suffer a justly punishment for his racist remarks. The players reached out to Sacramento mayor and adviser to the NBPA, Kevin Johnson, and gave him a blue print of how they wanted the situation handled.
“The players are waiting for the commissioner to act decisively,” Johnson said.
“They want the maximum of what the constitution and bylaws will allow and we’re trying to figure out what that is. They want the maximum. They want a decision to be made quickly and decisively. If you don’t respect the players in this league, then the values that we all espouse are for naught.”
Chris Paul, leader and starting point guard for the clippers expressed his displeasure playing for a racist owner and asked “Mayor Kevin Johnson to expand his responsibilities with the NBPA, to determine our response and our next steps.”
First year NBA commissioner Adam Silver had a lot on his plate dealing with such a unfortunate series of events in such little time. After listening to the opinions of players and everyone around the NBA, on April 29th he came down hard on Sterling swiftly to everyone’s satisfaction. Silver banned Sterling from the NBA and is forcing him to sell the team so that he no longer has any ownership of the Clippers. Silver tacked on a hefty $2.5million fine as well.
People around the sports world are applauding Silver for his hasty and harsh punishment. Athletes and other sports world professionals took to twitter to express their satisfaction. Silver is still disappointed in the event that occurred.
“The views expressed by Mr. Sterling are deeply offensive and harmful,” Silver said. “That they came from an NBA owner only heightens the damage and my personal outrage.”
Now that the punishments have been given, the Clippers organization can be finally rest on that note. That doesn’t make up for the fact that the damage is still done and it will be a healing process for the Clippers players. However the NBA should be applauded for sending a message that racism does not, and never will have a place in our league.