In an unexpectedly swift and final move, the NBA bans Donald Sterling for life for being a racist and slaps him with maximum fine. Twitter explodes accordingly.
When TMZ shared an audio recording of Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling (allegedly) telling his girlfriend that he didn’t want her bringing African Americans to games, or sharing photos on Instagram of herself with African Americans, people were outraged. But it wasn’t until a forensic analyst was able to verify that the recording didn’t appear to be doctored that the NBA was able to act.
Now, in some of the best news of the week, Donald Sterling has been banned for life from the NBA. He is, of course, still the owner of the Clips, and will continue to amass wealth from them (not that he needs it, he’s reportedly worth $1.9 billion), but it is telling of the ways in which the powers that be are starting to stand up against racism that they are willing to punish someone so very powerful.
From the New York Times:
Donald Sterling, the longtime owner of the Los Angeles Clippers, was barred from the N.B.A. for life and fined $2.5 million by the league’s commissioner, Adam Silver, on Tuesday for making racist remarks. Silver said that Sterling would be barred from any contact with his team and the league and that he would urge the league’s board of governors to force Sterling to sell the team.
The fine, Silver said, was the maximum allowed by the league’s constitution.
“The views expressed by Mr. Sterling are deeply offensive and harmful,” Silver said. “We stand together in condemning Mr. Sterling’s views. They simply have no place in the N.B.A.”
Of course a $2.5 million fine is to Sterling what throwing a quarter in a wishing well is to the rest of us, but it’s the symbolic power of the maximum fine that matters here.
Twitter exploded at the news with witty, sarcastic, touching and powerful tweets that trended to the top almost instantly, and articles praising Adam Silver and the NBA appeared all over the Internet.
#bannedforlife THANK THE LORD. No room for prejudice of any kind. NOW let’s get that win CLIPS!
— Alex Aiono (@alexaiono) April 29, 2014
In an interesting turn, soon after the news of Sterling’s ban broke, and #BannedForLife and other related terms starting trending, so did the name Dan Snyder. How are these related? Dan Snyder is the owner of the Washington Redsk*ns (a name that is widely recognized as a racial slur), who despite the urging of the President and many Native American groups like the National Congress of American Indians and the EONM, has said he will never, ever change the name of his team.
Dan Snyder sweeping everything for bugs right now. — 29thduggar (@aTerribleMuriel) April 29, 2014
Now when will the NFL ban Dan Snyder? #fb
— elisa nader (@elisanader) April 29, 2014
Wait! Sterling can be co owner of the Redskins with Dan Snyder.
— Michael Deneen (@This_Is_Mike_D) April 29, 2014
What do YOU think of the fine and the ban? Will Donald Sterling ever change his mind about being a racist? Will this change set precedent for huge organizations like the NBA to expel other racists and reject racist systems and names?
Should Sterling be forced to sell the Clippers, if Adam Silver can find a way to make that happen?