A Defining Moment for the NBA--
Saturday afternoon basketball fans and players were startled to hear Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling had been recorded making racist comments to his girlfriend about African-Americans--a group making up a majority of his team and making millions for him. Apparently people who know Sterling well enough were not surprised, as he has had a past of racist actions and antics.
With the NBA Players' Association (NBAPA) not having an Executive Director since Billy King's departure, NBA legend and Sacramento Mayor, Kevin Johnson has taken the lead in ensuring the union is an equal partner in Commissioner Adam Silver's first major issue as the league leader. After meeting with Silver yesterday, Johnson said the NBAPA has 5 priorities he discussed with the Commissioner:
1. Sterling should not attend any games for the remainder of the playoffs.
2. The NBAPA would like a full account of all prior incidents of racism on Sterling's part, and why no sanctions had taken place in response to them.
3. The NBAPA wants Commissioner Silver to explain the full range of sanctions available through his broad set of powers.
4. Assurance from the league to the players they will be fully engaged in the process of resolving this matter.
5. Certainty the process in handling this matter will be done quickly so as to not distract from the playoffs any further and allow everyone to get back to basketball.
The NBAPA is pressing the need for 2-way accountability--requiring the league and its owners to be held to the same high standards they are when representing the league on the court and off.
To show their solidarity, the Clippers staged their own silent protest before yesterday's game against Golden State. In addition to the Clippers players, who were obviously in a tough position, other players, including LeBron James, Kobe Bryant, and retired great Michael Jordan all voiced their support of the team. Many have agreed there is no room for racism in this league--let alone anywhere else. Many fellow owners, like Jordan, have denounced Sterling's alleged comments.
We hope this is resolved quickly, but fairly through the league's due process. This is a defining moment for this great league. Let's hope they continue showing their excellence and integrity.