NBA commissioner bans Clippers owner Sterling, pushes to 'force a sale' of team
The lesson of Bundy and Sterling—your racist friend isn't okay anymore
By Matthew Yglesias
Twitter Explodes With Hilarious First Amendment Fails Over Racist Clippers Owner’s Ban
"I'm no racist but...," said almost every conservative on the Internet.
Donald Sterling’s stunning comeuppance: The supreme satisfaction of swift action
NBA's Adam Silver brought a tone of moral outrage. Now owners should reckon with something else: The other victims
By Joan Walsh
It was a satisfying moment: Rarely do we see racists get such a quick comeuppance. Silver seemed genuinely, personally aggrieved by Sterling’s disgusting comments about African-Americans in a league that runs on black labor, talent and fandom. He praised great black NBA pioneers including Earl Lloyd, Chuck Cooper, Sweetwater Clifton and “the great Bill Russell.” His quick, tough action earned him praise from NBA Players Association advisor Kevin Johnson, also the mayor of Sacramento. “Today the players believe the commissioner has done his duty,” Johnson declared in a press conference following Silver’s announcement. “He is not just the owners’ commissioner, he is also the players’ commissioner.”
Still, Silver’s tough sanctions against Sterling can’t erase the fact that the NBA did nothing about earlier allegations of Sterling’s racism and ignored his ugly off the court behavior as a slumlord repeatedly charged with discriminating against black and Latino tenants. In fact, the bold move almost served to underscore how long the league had looked away from the festering sore that was Donald Sterling. Taking questions after his announcement, Silver said, “I can’t speak to past actions. When we had evidence, we acted on it.” He added that he only considered Sterling’s recently recorded racism in deciding on his lifetime ban, but said the owners would consider the entire record when deciding whether to force him to sell the team.
Pundits love to mock Twitter's ability to stoke anger—but the rapid fall of a corrupt NBA owner shows its value
By Andrew Leonard
But why now? Everyone who seriously follows the NBA has known for decades that Donald Sterling is a horrible human being, a bigot and an abuser of women. Eight years ago, Bomani Jones wrote a piece for ESPN lamenting that a man who had settled the largest housing discrimination suit ever brought by the Department of Justice, could skate by without any sanction from the NBA. Sterling managed to be both an abominable person and the worst owner in professional sports (as measured by wins and losses) and yet his position was still untouchable. So what’s so different today, that the release of one audiotape could set off an avalanche of fury so apparently meaningful? Why are a few words so much more hurtful than actual deeds?
The amplifying power of social media has to be part of the answer. Of course, it’s not the whole answer. The narrative of race in America is always a touchy subtext in the NBA, a league in which the teams are 70 percent African-American, but the ownership is overwhelmingly white and male. The smoking-gun nature of the audio recording speaks more directly to our hearts than any Department of Justice legal filing ever could. And the simple fact that the NBA world had its full attention focused on the most thrilling first round of competition anybody can recall in recent NBA history has certainly helped focus the media’s attention. A zillion TV cameras were already pointed at these playoffs. You want drama? You got it.
But just as “black Twitter” forced the murder of Trayvon Martin into the mainstream; and just as social media took Romney’s 47 percent video and spread it instantly to an entire electorate; so to has the ubiquitous transmission of TMZ’s Sterling scoop meant that the man’s racism—and, by extension, the beating heart of racial privilege in America—was front and center in everyone’s news feed and timeline.