Donald Sterling, owner of the Los Angeles Clippers NBA team, has been quite a hot topic in the media this past week. TMZ released a recording of Sterling having a conversation with his girlfriend and throughout this conversation, Sterling speaks negatively about African Americans and tells his girlfriend that he does not want black people at his games. He says, “It bothers me a lot that you want to broadcast that you are associating with black people. Do you have to?” This is not the first incident of racist comments made by Sterling. Many people have taken to Twitter to express their feelings about Sterling’s comments.
The Clippers had a game against the Golden State Warriors on April 27th, just days after this incident came out. Rather than boycott the game, the Clippers wore their warm-up shirts inside out to protest Sterling and the team logo. The next day, Miami Heat players did the same in their game to show support for the Clippers. On Tuesday, April 29th, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver announced that Sterling would be banned for life from the NBA and fined $2.5 million for his actions, which is the maximum fine you can receive. He also said that he will be encouraged to sell the Clippers.
Since this announcement, I have seen some people comment saying that it is a violation of his first amendment rights. However, that is incorrect. No one is taking away Donald Sterling’s right to speak, they are simply removing his platform that allows him to be heard. Racism is something that should not be tolerated anywhere today, let alone in such a high-profile organization like the NBA. I absolutely believe that Silver made the right decision. A team owner should have respect for his players and his coaches, and Sterling clearly had none. Someone with his views and opinions should not be in such a high position of power. I cannot imagine how the African Americans who play for the Clippers must have felt hearing what Sterling had to say. For their sake, I hope Sterling sells the team to someone who gives them the respect they deserve.