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September 21, 2023

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NBA makes statement with punishment of Sterling

New NBA Commissioner Adam Silver made his first major decision in office regarding an owner on Tuesday afternoon.

Silver hosted a nationally televised press conference to discuss what the punishment for Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling’s racist comments would be.

Knowing this one press conference, this one decision, this five-minute speech could determine his entire legacy, Silver came out and said three words that will be played on loop all week: “Banned for Life.”

For those who have not heard, Sterling told his girlfriend Vivian Stiviano, who is Latina and African American, that she should not post pictures of herself with black people. All of this started after Sterling was informed of a picture that included Stiviano with Magic Johnson and Matt Kemp.

In the 15-minute recording, Sterling was quoted saying things like, “You can sleep with [black people]. You can bring them in, you can do whatever you want. “The little I ask you is not to promote it … and not bring them to my games.”

Silver, who is three months into his new job, just made the biggest decision of his career. I applaud Silver for having the guts so early in his term to do what must be done; he made the right decision and that’s what matters.

After the decision, I was ecstatic that the NBA finally has a commissioner who is not scared of the owners. Looking back though, I have to think what other choice did Silver have?

With such prominent African Americans members on the team, like head coach Doc Rivers and NBA players union President and all-star Chris Paul, Silver had no choice but to ban Sterling.

I’m not taking away from what Silver did at all, it took guts to ban an owner who is such a large figure in Los Angeles. More guts than former commissioner David Stern had when he received complaints from players like Baron Davis and Elgin Baylor about the plantation — like organization Sterling was running.

Stern sat on that information and did nothing. It doesn’t matter if Baylor lost his case in court; when multiple players are coming to you expressing the same complaint, it’s worth an investigation. Now three months into his term Silver has to deal with it. The punishment came down but this situation is nowhere close to being over.

The NBA, in my opinion, is the best league in U.S., but we would all be naïve to think that Sterling is the only owner in the league who is racist or runs his team in that way. More than 70 percent of the NBA is African American and to think owners still try to run their teams with a plantation mindset is sad and disturbing. I can’t say I’m surprised though this is what happens when you put so much power in the hands of ignorant people.

If people did not know before, this should open their eyes to the fact that racism is still alive — it has just become hidden better. Strides have been taken towards equality and respect to all minorities, but as long as there are people like Sterling there will always be racism, sadly.

I was told by the wisest person I know, my grandmother, that if “you don’t stand for anything, you will fall for everything.” That’s exactly what Silver did – he took a stand saying that racism will not be tolerated in the NBA.

Questions still need to be answered by Silver but this was a step in the right direction. For now, well done Adam Silver, well done.

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