“We are one.”
Those were the only words on the Los Angeles Clippers’ website today after NBA Commissioner Adam Silver banned Clippers owner Donald Sterling from the NBA for life and fined him $2.5 million.
The banishment, with Silver adding later in the press conference that he urges the other NBA owners to vote to force Sterling to sell the Clippers, goes down as one of the harshest punishments in professional sports history. If three-fourths of the other 29 owners vote against Sterling, Sterling must sell the team according to the league’s by-laws.
The big questions that came after the announcement were, how will the Clippers, league and the fans respond to this announcement? Will the Clippers be ready to play? Will the fans boycott the game?
Well, the game has just started and I can say, the fans came out to support their team and the Clippers look intense, focused and ready to take their energy to the court.
With all the uncertainty surrounding this topic over the past few days, I believe that Commissioner Silver did the right thing. This decision is good for the team, fans, league and society to see that racism will not be tolerated on any level. Even in an era where at times celebrities and athletes seem to get away with everything, this time money and/or celebrity didn’t win. Some people may feel that this is a First Amendment issue. That Sterling had the right to say what he did because it was in the privacy of his own home.
I can see that point of view and how people can feel that way. But unfortunately what was supposed to be private, became public, and Sterling’s comments showed who he really was. And it’s those comments that violated the NBA’s own constitution, which gives the commissioner every right to ban Sterling from the NBA for life. A constitution that Sterling agreed to follow by being an owner of an NBA franchise.
I’m happy to see that Silver made a quick decision on what to do with this matter. And I hope that Sterling sees the error of his ways and thought process. He may be old, but he’s not too old to change for the better. I hope that he uses this as an opportunity of reflection, rather than act as if he’s the victim.
Now, as hard as it may be, I hope that the Clippers and all those involved can begin their healing process and get back to the game we all love.
We are one.