LOS ANGELES, April 29, 2014 — NBA commissioner Adam Silver announced that Donald T. Sterling is banned for life from the NBA, fining him the maximum $2.5 million allowed by the NBA Constitution. The money will be donated to racial awareness and education groups.
Silver further said that he has recommended and expects the necessary support to force the sale of the Clippers, thus severing all ties with Sterling. But is it enough to shun the billionaire that is described as racist, belligerent, an ignoramus, hateful and more.
On Saturday, TMZ released an audio, which Silver was confirmed to be Sterling by Sterling himself, of a conversation between the Clippers owner and his girlfriend, V. Stiviani. In the recording, Sterling is heard making numerous racist remarks about Stiviani posting pictures of herself with Magic Johnson and Matt Kemp on Instagram because they are black.
Donald Sterling says, “I’m living in a culture, and I have to live within the culture.” Stiviani replied, “I understand that that’s the way you were raised and that’s your culture. I respect that.” Sterling’s reply was, “Then why do you have to disrespect them?”
He just wants to fit in.
Later in the conversation, Stiviani says, “People call you and tell you I have black people on my Instagram and it bothers you.” Sterling’s response is most telling of where his culture has taken him, “Yeah, it bothers me a lot that you want to broadcast that you’re associating with black people.”
To what kind of culture does Donald Sterling belong? Who are these people that call him and tell him about his girlfriend posting pictures of herself with other African-Americans? Why does their opinion of things matter so dearly to a man with more money than one could ever spend? Who does Donald Sterling fear and want so desperately to impress?
Adam Silver did the right thing, which was to unload every weapon at his disposal on Sterling. Unfortunately, the reach of the NBA’s power only stretches so far. The rest is up to us as a society.
There is a much broader issue at play here that is so much more crucial. Racism, regardless of what the Supreme Court thinks, is very much alive in this country. What Sterling thinks and what his friends think should not be glossed over, but examined and rooted out. His culture needs to be rooted out of our society. One might expect that these people’s opinions, which Sterling holds so dear, are probably not the opinions of people working two minimum wage jobs and still not surviving.
Sterling lives in Los Angeles. This culture to which he belongs resides here. This culture to which Sterling so desperately wants to adhere, was fostered here in beautiful, sunny Los Angeles.
That is a sobering and embarrassing fact for someone raised in Los Angeles.
— NBA (@NBA) April 29, 2014
Kevin J. Wells is the Sports Editor for Communities Digital News. He also writes about Major League Baseball, punk rock music and food. Kevin plays guitar in the Los Angeles punk band Emmer Effer. Follow him on Twitter @WellsOnBaseball