Words have consequences is an adage which is no more apparent than to NBA Clippers owner Donald Sterling who was today banned for life from involvement with his team by NBA Commissioner Adam Silver. According to Fox News, Commissioner Silver also levied a $2.5 million fine against Sterling based upon his alleged racist comments made in private to his now former girlfriend.
Commissioner Silver was clear about his decision and said, “The hateful opinions voiced by that man are those of Mr. Sterling. The views expressed by Mr. Sterling are deeply offensive and harmful. That they came from an NBA owner only heightens the damage and my personal outrage,” reported Fox News.
Sterling, who was approached by Fox News about his reaction to the commissioner’s decision, indicated that he had no comment about the decision. Sliver went even further in explaining his decision by stating, “I am banning Mr. Sterling for life from any association with the Clippers association or the NBA. Mr. Sterling may not attend any NBA games or practices, he may not be present at any Clippers facility, and he may not participate in any business or decisions involving the team,”
What is unclear is just how much authority the owners or the NBA Commissioner has in forcing Sterling to sell his team which, according to Fox News he purchased for $12 million originally and it is now worth over $450 million. The other sticky wicket issue which does raise its head is just how protected is Sterling’s speech when and if it was made in the private?
It is certain that Sterling has been involved in other legal issues regarding his racist practices in housing as well as in jobs related to his holdings. The question still remains for those liberal supporters like the NAACP is, is their silence questionable?
According to USA Today, the all it was this civil rights organization which gave Sterling a “Lifetime Award” in 2009 for his work on behalf of the organization…i.e. given them money, and was up for a second lifetime award in May. In addition, he was a generous backer of President Obama’s presidential campaigns.
Now even the president is putting distance between himself and the alleged racist behind closed doors. On Sunday Obama stated,” the comments made by NBA Clippers owner Donald Sterling are “racist” and that those who make such remarks are “ignorant.”
The donor and supporter of the president was further taken to the verbal woodshed by the president who added, “When ignorant folks want to advertise their ignorance you don’t really have to do anything, you just let them talk,” according to Fox News.
The next battle for Sterling will not be for him with his team on the basketball courts of the playoffs but quite assuredly in a court of law for him as he possibly tries to retain team ownership.
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