In the wake of the scandal involving NBA owner Donald Sterling, the age-old issue of racism in sports has come to the forefront.
Audio recordings of Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling making racist remarks was recently discovered and released by TMZ. The 10-minute recording was a conversation between Sterling and his girlfriend, V. Stiviano. Stiviano had posted pictures on her Instagram account of herself with African American males.
The man on the recording, confirmed to be Donald Sterling, told the woman that he doesn’t want her bringing any black people to the basketball games with her. One of the photos Stiviano posted is of herself alongside NBA great, Magic Johnson. Sterling told her to admire Johnson in private and not out in the open for the world to see.
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver fined Sterling $2.5 million and banned him from the NBA for life. As a result of his lifetime ban, Sterling is “prohibited from attending NBA games or practices, stepping foot inside any Clippers’ facility, taking part in business or personnel decisions, or having a role in league activities such as attending NBA Board of Governors meetings.”
Many people, including NBA owners and players, applauded Silver for his stance and his decision to show no tolerance for Sterling’s remarks. Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson, a former NBA All-Star said, “I hope that every bigot in this country sees what happened to Mr. Sterling and recognizes that if he can fall, so can you.”
Although Smith’s decision was met with widely spread support, many now wonder about the fate of the team. Smith, as well as those within the league, are working to push Sterling to sell the team. Silver, himself, said that he will do everything in his power to get the NBA Board of Governors to force Sterling to sell the Clippers.
It is unfortunate that in a country where equality is so highly regarded, the existence of racism is still prevalent in our society. Sterling’s comments were directed against African Americans, and ironically, his team is composed primarily of African American players. How can he make such inflammatory statements against the very people who make him his millions?
Racism is a serious societal issue that may never completely go away, but it is important that those in a position of power take a stand and work toward eliminating the problem. Silver had the right idea in his tough ruling against Sterling. He will not stand for racism in his league, and he wants the world to know that there is no room for racism in the NBA.