Just over the weekend, LA Clippers’ owner Donald Sterling couldn’t have imagined that a private conversation he had over the phone was about to turn his life upside down. However, Sterling was officially banned from the sport by the NBA commissioner himself.
The conversation that Sterling had on the phone with his girlfriend, V. Stiviano, he let fly a few less than acceptable remarks such as:
“It bothers me a lot that you want to broadcast that you’re associating with black people. Do you have to?”
“You can sleep with [black people]. You can bring them in, you can do whatever you want. The little I ask you is not to promote it on that … and not to bring them to my games.”
“I’m just saying, in your lousy f******* Instagrams, you don’t have to have yourself with, walking with black people.”
“…Don’t put him [Magic] on an Instagram for the world to have to see so they have to call me. And don’t bring him to my games.”
Little did he know, being in the spotlight was the least of Sterling’s concerns. The media immediately went up in arms over the comments resulting in a firestorm headed in his direction along with some other blatant racism as well.
The NBA announced that they had begun an investigation where the results would be released upon their findings. At that time, Sterling faced quite the uphill battle as investors flocked away from anything branded with his name, and his entire team considered a full-on boycott.
The day of reckoning for Sterling has apparently come as Commissioner Adam Silver acted as judge, jury and executioner by relaying to the media, “effective immediately, I am banning Mr. Sterling for life from any association with the Clippers’ organization or the NBA.”
Slamming down his thunderous fist, Silver went on to explain, “Mr. Sterling may not attend any NBA games or practices. He may not be present at any Clippers’ facility and he may not participate in any business or player/personnel decisions involving the team.”
The hard hitting consequence also came with a fine where the NBA has decided to fine Sterling a whopping $2.5 million for his words.
Now, this comes down to two things – although the double standard theory was thrown out the window through the willingness of the NBA to punish the man despite his reputation and wealth, does this make the organization’s decision right?
Are we not entitled to our First Amendment rights no matter how disrespectful or obnoxious? Secondly where was the due process? If they want to condemn Mr. Sterling for what he said, doesn’t he have the right to defend himself?
Feel free to weigh in on the NBA’s decision by leaving a comment below.