Tag Archives: Adam Silver

Sterling 'baited' into saying those things?

I’m going to need some help processing this “apology.”

Donald Sterling, the disgraced Los Angeles Clippers professional basketball team owner, says he’s sorry for saying those racist things to his — what shall we call her? — girlfriend/assistant/”silly rabbit.”

He said he was “baited” into uttering those disgusting remarks. Baited? Does that mean he was lured into saying things he didn’t mean? Was there some promise or payoff if he declared in a phone conversation that V. Stiviano — the said “silly rabbit” — shouldn’t be seen in public with African-Americans? Did little ol’ V. put a gun to his head and make him say those hateful things?


Well, now he tells Anderson Cooper of CNN that he’s sorry. He declares “I am not a racist,” which of course is the usual dodge from those who actually do have racist tendencies.

The National Basketball Association has banned him for life from the game. He can’t take part in any basketball-related operations; he cannot attend Clippers games; he cannot attend league meetings; he’s going to be pressured to sell his team. He’s a pariah.

The players want him gone. His fellow owners want him out.

This is a disgraceful episode that so far has produced only one bright, shining moment: the swift and decisive action by brand new NBA Commissioner Adam Silver to banish Sterling from the NBA.

The timing of the “apology” also is suspect. He was revealed to have said these things about three weeks ago — and now he offers his mea culpa?

This individual said some truly awful things. That’s no longer in doubt. There will be plenty of explanation required now to persuade many of us that he didn’t really mean what he said.

I do not believe this “apology” is going to fly.

No such thing as 'private conversation'

An old axiom is even truer in today’s world.

It is that one should never say anything that he or she doesn’t want repeated.

Welcome to the 21st century, Donald Sterling.

The Los Angeles Clippers owner has been banned from the National Basketball Association for life. NBA Commissioner Adam Silver imposed the ban and fined Sterling $2.5 million because he went off on a disgusting, racist rant in what he thought was a private conversation with his, um, girlfriend.

The rant, which has become the talk of much of Planet Earth, has consigned Sterling to a most unwelcome role of pariah. He’ll likely have to sell his team. He is no longer able to participate in any team or league activities. He’s a goner.

What does this mean, though, in terms of privacy? It means that in this world of instant communication, where everyone has a camera or a listening device, one must take the greatest care to keep from saying something he or she doesn’t want known. He likely didn’t know he was being recorded and he surely didn’t believe his girlfriend would be the one to reveal the conversation, which I am certain is the case.

Sterling went off for about an hour, telling his girlfriend he doesn’t like her associating in public with African-Americans; he said he doesn’t want her bringing African-Americans to games involving his team. He made an absolutely disgusting spectacle of himself and in the process made a hero out of Commissioner Silver, who acted decisively — and correctly — in issuing the harshest sanction possible against the team owner.

Recent history is full of examples of public figures being “outed” by people with cameras or audio recorders. For example, Mitt Romney fell victim to a recording of his infamous “47 percent” comment about Americans who vote Democratic because they depend on government. Others have had their private behavior exposed for all the world to see. They have said things they’ve later regretted.

Donald Sterling provides the latest shining example of the price one pays for speaking from the depths of his soul, which in this case has been shown to be a dark place, indeed.

Donald Sterling (cont.)

If the Donald Sterling saga continues — as I’m sure it will for some time — I am hoping it can veer toward the whole issue of race in America and the conduct not only of celebrities, but of all of us.

The National Basketball Association has banned the Los Angeles Clippers owner for life because of his hideous racist rant overheard in a phone conversation with his much younger girlfriend. NBA Commissioner Adam Silver took the bold step today and also fined Sterling $2.5 million. The owner will face immense pressure from other team owners to sell his team, presumably to someone outside his family.

That’s a good first step.

But then I heard a New York Times sports columnist, William Rhoden, take the discussion a bit farther as it relates to African-American athletes..

Rhoden, who also is African-American, called on highly paid professional athletes to begin honoring themselves by stop using the “n-word” in locker rooms. He said it’s common for these athletes to use that despicable word to each other.

Given that I am not black, I suppose I cannot quite understand why intelligent human beings would use such language … even as some kind of inside joke.

Of the many African-American friends I’ve had over many years of living, I’ve never heard any of them refer to each other with that highly pejorative term. Even in the Army back in the late 1960s, when I was bunking with black soldiers, I cannot recall a single time hearing it.

I’ll take Rhoden at his word — as well as others who’ve reported it over a great length of time — that the word can be heard in locker rooms.

Professional athletes of all racial and ethnic backgrounds have been rightly offended by what has transpired in recent days regarding the hateful speech spewed forth from this particular team owner. They’ve protested by tossing warm-up jerseys on the floor, worn black socks while competing, made statements condemning the words that came from Sterling’s mouth and called for a national discussion about race relations.

One prominent black journalist, though, made a brief point in a TV interview today that deserves to be heard over and over.

It is for African-American athletes — the targets of one team owner’s reprehensible tirade — to start speaking with respect to each other. The “n-word” must be silenced.

NBA boss earns his spurs by banishing owner

Adam Silver has been commissioner of the National Basketball Association for just a few weeks.

Today he earned his spurs, showed his chops, manned up and did quite well to punish an NBA team owner for revealing some truly disgusting views on race.

Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling has been banned from team and league activities for life; he will have to pay a $2.5 million fine and will be pressured by the NBA Board of Governors to sell his team.


That was the decision announced today by Silver … and it has drawn widespread praise from around the NBA and indeed the country. Given the terrible battering that has come over Sterling’s remarks, the league needed something off the court to cheer.

Sterling’s comments came in a phone call with his quite young girlfriend. He said he didn’t want her associating with African-Americans in public and said he doesn’t want African-Americans attending games involving the team he has owned for three decades. The sum total of the man’s tirade betrays a disgusting view of a wealthy team owner toward the vast majority of the athletes who participate in the NBA and a good many of the coaches who lead these young men in their athletic endeavors. Most of the players are black, as are a hefty number of the head coaches.

FoxSports.com reported, “Sterling still owns the team, but going forward he is immediately barred from attending any NBA games or practices, being present at any Clippers office or facility, participating in any business or player personnel decisions involving the team, or being part of any league business.”

The league cannot take the team away from the owner, but 75 percent of the league’s owners — for whom Silver works — can endorse the sanctions against him and can force Sterling to sell the team, presumably to someone who doesn’t hold this individual’s disgusting views.

And what will happen to the $2.5 million Sterling will pay? It will go toward organizations whose mission is to fight bigotry and intolerance; the NBA and its players association will select the organizations.

The action taken today by the NBA is the brightest light shining over a league thrown into turmoil. Its players have performed magnificently in light of this team owner’s bizarre rant and they deserve credit for continuing their excellence on the competitive court.

The new commissioner, though, has shown a remarkably stiff spine and an equally suitable outrage over what one of his bosses, Donald Sterling, has been caught saying out loud.

Sterling deserves due process, but …

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver says the owner of the Los Angeles Clippers deserves “due process” to determine whether that was him making some despicably racist statements over the phone.

However …

The voice on one end of that phone conversation has to be that of Donald Sterling.


How do I know that?

Because the voice has a distinctive tone. The person has a unique speech pattern. It would seem to be a sure-fire lead-pipe cinch that it belongs to Sterling, who reportedly told his girlfriend that she shouldn’t associate with African-Americans and that she shouldn’t bring them to basketball games featuring the team he’s owned for three decades.

This is an amazing, and still-developing, story.

Players throughout the NBA have expressed outrage over the racist rant overheard on that phone call. Coaches have condemned it. Owners have done so as well. The sports world is reeling over the conversation reportedly between Sterling and his girlfriend. Almost as bizarre is the fact that the girlfriend — known as V. Stiviano — is young enough to be Sterling’s granddaughter; what’s more, she’s reportedly of mixed races, half Latina and half African-American.

What has been Sterling’s response? It’s to say that he doesn’t share the view expressed by “the voice” heard on the phone. Has he denied saying them? Well, not precisely … which leads me to believe that’s him on the recording.

What, then, is to learn through “due process”? I suppose it is whether the phone conversation was spliced and edited to make it sound as though Sterling is a racist. That, too, can be determined quickly.

I don’t know what the sanctions ought to be against the owner if it turns out he said those hideous things. Can the league strip him of his ownership? Can it ban him from ever attending an NBA game in the future?

It’s incredible that the owner of a professional sports franchise with athletes comprising most African-American men would believe such things. Sadly, though, that appears to be the case.