The public uproar and condemnation that has greeted the publication of the grossly racist comments made by Donald Clippers, owner of American Basketball team, Los Angeles Clippers has been remarkably and commendably strict, straightforward and decisive, with reactions from legendary basketballer, Micheal Jordan to multi-billionaire, Donald Trump, rapper Snoop Lion, boxer, Floyd Mayweather and even U.S President, Barak Obama from faraway Asia.
Condemed & Disgraced, Donald Sterling
This negative reaction includes the decision of the NBA to ban him from the game for life and fine him a sum of $2.5million – the highest punishment available in the game, the harshest ever issued by the league and among the stiffest punishments ever given to an owner in professional sports. He was barred from attending any NBA games or practices, being present at any Clippers office or facility, participating in any business or player personnel decisions involving the team, or being part of any league business
Quite ironically, Sterling is the NBA’s longest serving owner, having bought the Clippers in 1981, signaling that the team has been a profitable venture for him, yet the whole world knows that the overwhelming majority of NBA players are blacks and the Clippers team is no different, with the majority of his players being black.
The ignorance and stupidity of his comments come as no surprise however, as he has had history with prejudices, yet, it is beyond understanding how one could hate another merely over skin colour! He was saying that his girlfriend embarrassed him by bringing black people to “his” games. How can the game be “his”, when the majority of players are black?
As for the harshness of the punishment, it is certainly the way to go in a world where racism seems to be fast creeping back into sports, and other sporting associations such as UEFA, and FIFA can borrow a leaf or two from the NBA. If racism is greeted with as much intolerance as this, then the dark days may be well and truly over.
Donald, (2nd right) pictured here with Stiviano at a Clippers game has been banned for life from the NBA
An even stricter measure is being pushed for by NBA commissioner, Adam Silver who wants to force Donald into selling the team. While this move would result in a fortune for Donald, with the team worth a reported minimum of $700 million dollars, it remains to be seen if it would hold up legally in a court of Law, as the question of whether such a sanction is enforceable over comments made in private.
The point that this conversation was made in private also raises a lot of issues. How much punishment can someone be given because of a private conversation? Is this not a massive overreaction? Outside sports, can anyone ever be forced to sell a company of his due to a private conversation, his thoughts and beliefs when they haven’t influenced his behavior towards the company in question?
Also and very importantly, which one of us has not made comments in private of a racist / sexist / homophobic /xenophobic etc. nature, which we would REALLY not care to be made public? Still this same week, a legend of the NBA, Shaquille O'Neal publicly mocked a disabled man on Instagram. While ‘Shaq’s post has been greeted with widespread condemnation which could have been even greater had Donald’s case not been dominating the news, nobody is calling for the ex-star to quit Instagram or social media altogether.
This photo was uploaded by Shaquille O'Neal (left) comparing him to Jahmel Binion (right) – who has the rare genetic disorder ectodermal dysplasia
Finally, it is pertinent to know that Donald made his comments in a fit of anger, probably because he had reasons to believe that the girlfriend, Vanessa Stiviano was cheating on him as referenced on the recording when he said she could “sleep with them”…“or bring them to the house”…“but not further embarrass him by displaying it in public”. Which man after pampering a woman with million-dollar fortunes (a 1.8million dollar house, 2 Bentleys, a Ferrari, and a Range Rover) wouldn’t be enraged to the point of making stupid, regrettable comments if such a man believes the lady to be cheating on him?
Vannesa Stiviano's Ferrari
That Donald is a hopeless racist only served to further the cause of Vanessa Stiviano who by indications set out to set him up, with the recording being very clear, having hardly any background noise and who despite claiming she had nothing to do with the leaking of the tapes posted messages on Instagram three weeks before the scandal erupted, bragging about 'Skeletons in Closet' and 'It's all coming out!' These are questions we need to ask ourselves as we continue to condemn the ignorant Donald Sterling.
Racism is not allowed in the world, much-less sport and the NBA’s harsh stand surely sets a standard which if emulated would surely see a drastic reduction in racist incidents. We must however take note not to indulge in over-the-top hypocrisy in condemnation, so as not to set a messy precedence and so that articles such as this which could be interpreted for trying to defend foolish statements and acts don’t have to be written.
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