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Adam Silver aces first test by coming down hard on Donald Sterling

Apr 29, 2014, 3:46 PM EST

Donald Sterling’s racist comments have been the biggest black eye for the NBA since the Malice in the Palace — and it all landed on the lap of new Commissioner Adam Silver, less than 100 days into office.

And he aced the test.

It was exactly the right thing too do.

Silver came down as hard as he could on a Clippers’ owner that has long been an embarrassment to the league — a lifetime ban, a $2.5 million fine and he will start the process to get approval from the other owners to force the sale of the team (something he will have no problem getting). On top of it, he expressed personal and moral outrage at what Sterling has done.

It was everything allowed in the NBA’s constitution. It was everything he could do — and with sponsors pulling out and players (not to mention core fans) livid, he knew he had to come big and take control of the situation. He did.

RELATED: Clippers release statement in support of Silver

“Sentiments of (Sterling’s expressed) kind are contrary to the principles of inclusion and respect that form the foundation of our diverse, multicultural and multiethnic league,” Silver said. “I am personally distraught that the views expressed by Mr. Sterling came from within an institution that has historically taken such a leadership role in matters of race relations and caused current and former players, coaches, fans and partners of the NBA to question their very association with the league.”

Silver dodged some legitimate questions about why the NBA didn’t take action in the past. Silver noted there was no legal verdict against Sterling — he settled the federal housing discrimination lawsuit without an admission of guilt, Sterling won the lawsuit brought by former GM Elgin Baylor — so the NBA made no actions.

RELATED: Could Clippers fetch as much as $1 billion?

That all happened on David Stern’s watch and this mess is part of his legacy.

Silver started his legacy on Tuesday, April 29, 2014.

There is no doubt Donald Sterling will fight this because that is who he is as a person. So much of his ego is wrapped up in being the Clippers owner, in basking in the sycophantic celebrity of it.

But the Silver who stood at the podium and New York and handed out punishment was resolute and strong. A guy not backing down from a fight, a guy not afraid to head into court and make the NBA’s case.

It was the perfect response. One the players loved, that fans love.

One that was the right thing to do.

  1. calkinsrob - Apr 29, 2014 at 3:49 PM

    kind of a blessing in disguise for the silver and the NBA. I thought they handled it very well. Hopefully theyll get the 3/4th vote from the owners so sterling will be out.

    • apkyletexas - Apr 29, 2014 at 4:20 PM

      I disagree that Sterling will fight this. In fact, much like Frank McCourt manipulated his divorce proceedings in order to make billions off the Dodgers, I wouldn’t be surprised to find out years from now that Sterling helped manufacture this whole mess to get the owners to “force” him to sell his initial $12.5 million dollar purchase of the Clippers for over a billion.

      When you look at it from the perspective of a ruthless LA land mogul like Sterling or McCourt, it just makes dollars and cents. And when you get right down to it, that’s all those guys are really about. Even their name and business reputation has a price attached to it.

      • calkinsrob - Apr 29, 2014 at 4:39 PM

        Could be. Wasnt related to my comment but whatever lol. You really think itll sell for over a billion? didnt the bucks just sell for like 500 million? I realize the difference between the two organizations but over a billion for it?

      • jziii - Apr 29, 2014 at 5:13 PM

        …why would he want/need to be forced to sell the team when he can sell it any time he wants?

    • realfootballfan - Apr 29, 2014 at 6:09 PM

      The vote’s going to be unanimous. Like I said when I suggested Silver could go to the other owners to squeeze him, who’s going to stand up for this guy? This has brought a black eye on their league by putting them in a negative light during some of the best playoff play overall we’ve seen in years.

  2. chicagosports2014 - Apr 29, 2014 at 3:53 PM

    I agree thanks Silver! I still think most elderly white people feel that way about blacks SMH 😈

    • asimonetti88 - Apr 29, 2014 at 3:59 PM

      Nice generalization.

    • jamesmfitzpatrick - Apr 29, 2014 at 6:24 PM

      While a lot (I would tend to think most but that is just opinion, not based in any actual fact) of elderly white folks still have some implicit bias against African-Americans (as opposed to explicit bias, which Sterling obviously demonstrated), do not liken any sort of large proportion of people to be like Sterling. They’re not.

  3. icanhazblogs - Apr 29, 2014 at 3:54 PM

    Silver definitely hit a home-run on this. Hard to see how anyone, as a fan, can’t support this punishment. The ban and the fine are well within his authority. The forced sale of the team will be done pursuant to a vote of the owners, which gives it the ultimate blessing of legitimacy. Anyone decrying that Sterling’s 1st amendment rights were violated in any way is misinformed to the point of absurdity. The NBA is a private organization and a brand. Things that are bad for the brand’s business are bad the for the NBA, and Sterling is clearly toxic.

    Some of the comments I have seen from people on the internet about this story proclaiming that this racist bigot was within his rights to say what he did are truly shocking, not only for the fact that these people are fundamentally misinformed about what they think they have the “right” to do but also for the simple fact that they could find anything sympathetic about this billionaire POS.

    • asimonetti88 - Apr 29, 2014 at 3:58 PM

      He’s absolutely within his rights to say what he did. Idiots and morons have rights too.

      • icanhazblogs - Apr 29, 2014 at 4:16 PM

        He may be within his rights to say what he did, but the NBA is within its rights to punish him. My point was directed towards people who think his punishment is in some way violating the 1st amendment.

      • boondocksaint224 - Apr 29, 2014 at 4:22 PM

        Exactly. To expand on your point, free speech is a right. Ownership of a professional sports franchise is a privilege. He had his privileges revoked, not his rights. Also, what people are saying about his rights has nothing to do with sympathy. Donald Sterling is a piece of garbage whom we would all be better off if he found himself a hole to hide in for the rest of his life. But he’s a piece of garbage with the same rights as everybody else, and we become the bigots if we decide that he deserves to have different or fewer rights because we think he’s a jerk.

      • antistratfordian - Apr 29, 2014 at 5:02 PM

        I know we like to say that, but it’s insincere. If the populace ardently believed that he had the right to say things like that, he wouldn’t be getting so severely punished for it. He’s suffering the harsh consequences because the people have found him guilty of being in violation of historical natural moral law i.e. well-established, but unwritten, customs/traditions/experiences that have evolved over the course of U.S. history. The first amendment cannot protect him from this sort of retribution.

      • asimonetti88 - Apr 29, 2014 at 5:27 PM

        “He’s suffering the harsh consequences because the people have found him guilty of being in violation of historical natural moral law”

        Right but that’s not a violation of his rights, it’s a revocation of privileges.

      • realfootballfan - Apr 29, 2014 at 6:22 PM

        Sure does have the right, just like the NBA has the right to force him to sell the team. So I don’t want to hear anyone confusing the right to say something with being immune to consequences. He’s bad for business, and Silver is going through the proper channels to punish him.

    • imnotyourbuddyguy - Apr 29, 2014 at 4:17 PM

      Are you the Thought Police, do you want to start policing peoples thoughts? No?
      Then accept he absolutely has the right to be a racist, and say racists things, just like the Owners and Players have every right to say “You gotta go, you filthy racist”

      Don’t start actually believing people don’t have the right to be as ignorant as they want to be, they do

      • antistratfordian - Apr 29, 2014 at 5:30 PM

        This is an over-simplification. While most don’t believe something like this deserves the punishment of jail time, we do believe that it deserves some sort of punishment. So Americans absolutely believe in punishing people for things that they say.

        So it’s kind of disingenuous to say, “you have the ‘right’ to say ignorant things, but we’re still going to ban you and fine you 2.5 million dollars for it.” Because that is not morally different than saying, “you have the right to say ignorant things, but we’re still going to throw you in jail for it.” It’s the same thing – a punishment by society is a punishment by society.

        So, in short, Americans really do not have the right to be “as ignorant as they want to be” with impunity.

      • asimonetti88 - Apr 29, 2014 at 6:26 PM

        “So it’s kind of disingenuous to say, “you have the ‘right’ to say ignorant things, but we’re still going to ban you and fine you 2.5 million dollars for it.” Because that is not morally different than saying, “you have the right to say ignorant things, but we’re still going to throw you in jail for it.” It’s the same thing – a punishment by society is a punishment by society.”

        lol, no it is not even remotely close to being similar. Being forced to make a billion dollars is much better than going to jail.

      • daviddmsvcp - Apr 30, 2014 at 3:24 AM

        Keep this in mind…the person or people who conspired to record Donald Sterling and publish the recording can only have had one goal in mind, to discredit Donald Sterling and make people hate him.

        Mission Accomplished. It was a beautiful sting. You might even say that the Conspirators manipulated everyone, perfectly.

        Now, it seems very likely that the reason that the Conspirators were able to do this is because this is not the first time that Donald Sterling has spoken like this, in private. They knew they could get him going. If you listen to the tape, there are a couple of places where Donald Sterling says that he wants to stop talking about this, but the woman keeps going on. Wow. He was led like a lamb to the slaughter.

        Interestingly, there are people calling Donald Sterling “filthy racist”, garbage, and the like. yet, Donald Sterling was about to receive his 2nd award from the NAACP. So, this is not an open and shut case of Donald Sterling being a racist.

        The Mob Mentality over this was breathtaking to watch. I’m afraid that the punishment was affected by the Mob Mentality. The punishment was very much meted out in the heat of the moment. Did Donald Sterling even have representation at the proceeding?

        Donald Sterling has been an NBA owner for what, 30 years? And someone who has been honored by the NAACP. Perhaps is punishment is appropriate, and maybe it is not, If he fights it, and if he wins it, then I don’t think the punishment will be seen as very good.

        In my opinion, they should have banned him for the rest of the playoffs and then after the season, talked to him about what is best for him, his team, and the league. I think it would be appropriate for him to exit basketball over this. But he should be allowed much more dignity than he was given.

        And as for all you Noble Sports Fans, who love to stand on your soap boxes and pontificate, I think you are missing the Big Picture.

    • jziii - Apr 29, 2014 at 5:18 PM

      Hard to see how anyone, as a fan, can’t support this punishment.

      You might want to work on your critical thinking skills, bro. And don’t pull out the equally misinformed “1st Amendment” argument to support your point. There are reasonable arguments against this punishment. For some, it’s not about being sympathetic toward a POS billionaire, but rather about being interested and concerned about the rule of law and the mob mentality.

      • bougin89 - Apr 29, 2014 at 5:31 PM

        You do realize the NBA has it’s own constitution. Adam Silver is acting within the “NBA law”. This has nothing to do with government laws.

        Think of it this way: Do you think if you own a home it’s not possible for the government to buy it if they need your land? You have certain rights but the government will buy your home if they want/need it.

      • icanhazblogs - Apr 29, 2014 at 5:57 PM

        Is that supposed to be representative of “critical thinking skills, bro”?

        You say there are reasonable arguments, yet you offer none?

        You say it’s not about being sympathetic to Sterling, but rather about being interested and concerned about the rule of law and the mob mentality? How does that even begin to apply to these circumstances? Particularly your reference to “rule of law”?

  4. pourman - Apr 29, 2014 at 4:02 PM

    Sterling, Silver!

  5. antistratfordian - Apr 29, 2014 at 4:08 PM

    Sure, but this was an easy test to ace.

  6. derekjetersmansion - Apr 29, 2014 at 4:16 PM

    Anyone think Magic and Guggenheim are the masterminds behind this?

    • alshonsmeathooks - Apr 29, 2014 at 4:30 PM

      i wondered when the salespiracy theories would pop up

  7. John Henson - Apr 29, 2014 at 5:37 PM

    Silvers shoot and scores!

  8. realfootballfan - Apr 29, 2014 at 6:06 PM

    Dude crushed it. Maybe that buffoon that’s ruining the NFL can take notes.

  9. jimeejohnson - Apr 29, 2014 at 7:12 PM

    His voice was shaky but his resolve was firm. Crush racists like the vermin they are.

  10. campcouch - Apr 29, 2014 at 7:34 PM

    and at the end of the day,he’ll have $3 billion dollars,the ability to affect individuals and families who are NOT millionaires nor have the media platform to step up in a $4000 dollars suit and claim discriminatory practices (while collecting a check from the same guy) and in his mind,validated his beliefs. A yearlong suspension,fine with cultural and human relations education would have served everyone better. he sees himself as always being screwed over by a minority and we have no idea how far back he has felt this way. the actions of everyone involved in this and his past lawsuits will now cement that in his mind for his remaining days, this was a failure to work on a something larger,an opportunity to reconcile and educate,a chance to help this man understand others and others understand him,but what was taken was the easier path. just eliminate the issue that is affecting a group of wealthy blacks and not a larger issue of society.

  11. florida727 - Apr 29, 2014 at 10:22 PM

    When you’re the owner of an NBA team, you face is shown on cable. When your face is shown on cable, your ego grows to the point of out-of-control. When your ego grows to the point of out-of-control, you think you’re infallible. When you think you’re infallible, you prove you’re an idiot by making racist remarks. Don’t prove you’re an idiot by making racist remarks. Get rid of cable. And upgrade to Direct TV.

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