NBA Commissioner Adam Silver delivered the blow to Donald Sterling this afternoon: a lifetime ban, maximum $2.5 million fine, lots of outrage and the desire to immediately force Sterling to sell.
Since the news broke of Sterling's remarks, Hawks legend and Vice President Dominique Wilkins has been outspoken in his disgust, which has been much-appreciated by me and I'm sure other Hawks fans. He went a step further after the ban and wrote an op-ed for CNN.com. The entire thing is a powerful take on how this situation fits into the overall discussion about race and definitely a must-read, but here's an excerpt:
I grew up in the inner-city street projects of Baltimore, moving to North Carolina when I was 16. My passion and love for a round orange ball has taken me to unimaginable heights, earning me a measure of success in the NBA. I have lived the majority of my life in the bright and narrow cast of a spotlight, so I know what it is like to live with the obligation to shape words into politically correct statements, and to mute my thoughts in moments of emotion. At times it is my job to do so.
Hearing about, and then listening to, the Donald Sterling recordings early Saturday left me and my NBA family disgusted. As one of the premiere professional leagues in the world, we take pride in carrying the banner as one of the most diverse sports industries, with a commitment to fair racial hiring practices. More than 80% of our players are men of color, and well over a third of them are African-American.
Today sets a definitive tone for not only the @NBA but for our country! So proud of Commissioner Silver!!— Dominique Wilkins (@DWilkins21) April 29, 2014
The statement made today by Commish Silver is a resounding one! Now it's up to US as community to support Adam in his bold & swift statement— Dominique Wilkins (@DWilkins21) April 29, 2014
Al Horford (@Al_Horford) April 29, 2014
Thank you Mr. Silver— Lou Williams (@TeamLou23) April 29, 2014
SayNoToRacism !!! Big Time decision Adam Silver— Dennis Schröder (@DennisMike93) April 29, 2014
Hawks owner Bruce Levenson fully supported Silver's decision in a statement today:
"I commend Commissioner Adam Silver in being diligent in how he handled this important matter. He acted swiftly and appropriately with the severity of the penalty and I strongly support his decision."