Yesterday, NBA Commissioner, Adam Silver announced that: he was fining Clippers’ Owner, Donald Sterling, $2.5 Million; was banning him for Life, effective immediately, from any future contact with the Clippers or the NBA (to include Owners’ Meetings); and that he would encourage the other (29) Owners to force Sterling to sell the Team.
The response from current Players and Coaches, former Players, Owners and the General Public was overwhelmingly supportive; but there are still many, many questions that remain unanswered. First and foremost is the fact that Donald Sterling had revealed his Racism and Bigotry in the past. So, why was: Sterling allowed to remain an Owner–the one with the longest tenure (30 years)–for so long? Was his problem merely being swept under the NBA Rug by former Commissioner David Stern? Further questions still remain:
1. Where were the other Owners all of those years? Hey, did Adam Silver, Stern’s Deputy for the past twenty years, choose not to speak-up previously? Why not?
2. What Rules changes will be made regarding the Social Responsibility of Owners, to prevent such occurrences in the future and will there be some sort of back-dating (a la a statute of limitations) on past indiscretions. Just like Sterling, if they have spewed vitriol in the past, who can guarantee that they won’t do it again in the future?
3. Mark Cuban, Owner of the NBA Dallas Mavericks, while backing yesterday’s NBA actions, raised the question of “When will it all end?” Will it also apply to comments about Jews, Gays, the Disabled, etc?
4. How many of the Owners, while perhaps publicly backing Adam Silver’s actions yesterday, are doing some soul-searching today regarding anything that they might have said or done in the past? Might they have some concerns?
5. Will all private discussions–past and current–now be subject to public airing?
6. Lastly, a $2.5 Million fine is mere pocket change for an Owner with a $2.5 Billion Net Worth?
So, the real question is: will the NBA’s actions yesterday really change anything? Will this whole affair act as a Warning to the Owners the NBA and other Sports’ Leagues? And, in the long-run, will the recent Sterling Affair provoke real change, or will it merely result as business as usual?