Is Sterling’s Punishment Fair?

Photo Credit: Google Images

Photo Credit: Google Images

Noah Choi, Staff Writer

America has come a long way with its policies towards racism. Considering how the U.S. used to profit off of slavery, the fact that we are now struggling to fight inequality is a huge improvement.

  However, Donald Sterling, owner of the Los Angeles Clippers, an NBA team, displayed to the world that racism does still exist in America. While talking to his half Mexican half African American girlfriend, he made racist comments towards African Americans and unfortunately for him, it was caught on tape. Immediately, people like LeBron James and Barack Obama condemned Mr. Sterling. Umar Ansari (10), called his actions “completely racist and ignorant.” Also, according to The Economist, “the NBA players’ union warned the league’s leadership that its members were willing to stage a boycott and refuse to participate in playoff games if they were unsatisfied with Sterling’s punishment.” With the world supporting punishment for Sterling, this put National Basketball Association commissioner, Adam Silver, in a tricky situation. If he went too easy on Mr. Sterling, Silver would be facing a public-relations nightmare and a possible players’ rebellion.

  As a result, Silver harshly punished Sterling for his bigotry. First, he announced that the league had spoken to Sterling and confirmed that the voice on the tape was his. Silver then issued a lifetime ban, preventing Sterling from attending NBA games, facilities or board meetings. He also fined him $2.5 million, the maximum allowed by the league constitution. Silver also said he would try to force Sterling to sell the Clippers—a step that requires the support of three-quarters of the league’s owners. So far in the NBA community, Mark Cuban, the owner of the Dallas Mavericks, and the Clippers themselves have supported Silver’s severe punishment. When asked whether or not, Sterling’s punishment was fair, Justin Levine (10) agreed completely reasoning, “Because sports are a pastime that represents progression and if this went without the strictest punishment, it would be a sign that all of the equality that had been worked for was meaningless.” The NBA has clearly agreed with this concept and are dealing with Mr. Sterling’s racial intolerance inappropriately.

  Alex Berg (10), believes that “Donald Sterling will probably be forced to sell his team. It’s the only punishment that matches the crime he has committed.” Commissioner Silver is just as optimistic. It is all up to all the NBA owners in what type of precedent they want to set. Hopefully, they will move past their own inhibitions about forcing Mr. Sterling to sell his team, and make the right choice.