Donald Sterling banned and fined $2.5 million due to racist comments.
The NBA’s commissioner Adam Silver came down hard on Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling over racist comments that were shared in private, recorded and reported to TMZ on the morning of April 26, forcing him to stay out of his team’s business and urging him to sell his franchise. He was also given a $2.5 million fine. The commissioner does not have the power alone to make an owner sell his franchise; the only way an owner can be forced to sell a franchise is if three-fourths of the NBA owners vote to have that owner removed. This is exactly what needs to happen. The NBA simply cannot tolerate or allow a racist to own a team in a league comprised of 80 percent African Americans.
Keeping Sterling around will have a significant negative financial impact on the franchise. Sterling bought the Clippers for $12 million in 1981 and now his team is worth roughly $575 million. With dozens of sponsors dropping their support of the Clippers almost immediately, his franchise will lose value. The Clippers is a young team with loads of potential and a possible buyer would be willing to pay top dollar for this up-and-coming team. The longer Sterling waits to sell his team, the less it’s worth. If an African-American free agent has a choice of avoiding the Clippers and playing for a racist owner, he will do so at all cost, even if he receives less money from another team.
Not only are sponsors of the team separating themselves from the Clippers, but so is the general public. Fans are protesting by not attending the Clipper playoff games, and those who do are not keeping it a secret about how they feel while they hold signs condemning Sterling for his racist comments.
Sadly and obviously the biggest losers in this debacle are the players. They are rightfully outraged. The same day the tape was released the Clippers had a playoff game against the Golden State Warriors. Before the game started all the Clipper players gathered at half court and removed their warm ups to reveal red shirts that were inside out to hide the Clipper logo. In support of the Clippers the Miami Heat decided to do the same thing at their game the following Monday. In an article in The Huffington Post, Miami Heat superstar and 4-time MVP LeBron James said, “There’s no room for Donald Sterling in the NBA. There is no room for him.”
The comments Sterling made toward African-Americans are inexcusable even if they were said in private. Whether or not he is protected by his right to practice the First Amendment he should sell the Clippers anyway. Professional sports are a natural thing for kids to gravitate to and racism should not be linked to something kids could look up to in any manner. With a bit of luck, the rest of the NBA owners will force Sterling to sell the Clippers. The incident is making the entire league look barbaric for having a racist owner in the 21st century when the majority of the league is comprised of African-Americans.
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