By Jennifer Maerz
It didn't take long for the shit to hit the fan with LA Clippers owner Donald Sterling, who has been in everyone's news feeds over the last couple days for allegedly unloading plenty of backwards, racist opinions to his girlfriend. First former and current basketball players spoke out against him, and today NBA Commissioner Adam Silver announced the NBA was banning Sterling for life and fining him $2.5 million.
According to USA Today, Silver said during a news conference Tuesday, "The central findings of the investigation are that the man whose voice is on the recordings ... is Mr. Sterling and that the hateful feelings are those of Mr. Sterling. The views expressed by Mr. Sterling are deeply disturbing and alarming." He added, "As for Mr. Sterling's ownership interest in the Clippers, I will urge the board of governors to force a sale of the team and will do everything in my power to ensure that happens."
The Clippers are in the midst of the NBA Playoffs; tonight will be Game 5 in a series against the Golden State Warriors at Staples Center in LA. Yesterday, Warriors coach Mark Jackson urged both Clippers and Warriors fans to boycott tonight's game, even though both teams planned to continue playing in the series. "Should the Clippers boycott? They're getting paid to play," Jackson said. "They've got families and bills. This is their job. This is their livelihood. They dreamt their whole life for it. Same thing with us."
It's good to see such swift action taken against Sterling's shameful badmouthing of black people – but, as one caller on yesterday's KQED Forum program pointed out, the issue is deeper than one man's words in private, and more about the culture where, in 2014, a very public figure with a lot of power still thinks saying this kind of shit is ok.