What others say: What took the NBA so long?

Draping his league bosses in undeserved nobility, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver on Tuesday banned for life and fined a team owner whose bigotry had embarrassed professional basketball — during the playoffs! “We stand together in condemning Mr. Sterling’s views,” Silver said. “They simply have no place in the NBA.”

 

What about all the other outrages of Donald Sterling’s 33 years as owner of the Los Angeles Clippers? What about the long history of lawsuits (including a federal housing discrimination lawsuit settled for $2.76 million) for all manner of ugly statements? Did those behaviors have a place in the NBA — but this one didn’t?

Sterling’s fellow owners can pretend that his sin is his egregious disrespect for his players, his team’s fans, his league and the game that binds them. But that isn’t new. Sterling’s sin is that he got caught on a microphone. He made a scene.

His fellow owners, having looked away for years, couldn’t look away. Not this time, they couldn’t.

Not with lucrative sponsors fleeing, and murmurs about a possible player revolt, and fears of what all might happen when the Clippers opened their doors for a home game.

So Sterling’s fellow NBA owners finally did what had to be done. Then they dispatched the hapless Silver to report their heroic deed, as if to have him cut down the nets. And the rest of us are supposed to applaud?

Because they didn’t deal with Sterling long ago, the owners invited a situation in which one man’s ugly words could remind American society that too often we let people divide us into tribes.

Will anyone walk away from l’affaire Sterling saying that the NBA, with swift and sure punishment, has helped bring us together? No. The takeaway here is that the NBA’s long inaction allowed one foolish man to write a chapter in its history. This from a league that once helped to integrate pro sports, and whose players are predominantly minorities.

We give the final word to a competitor, New York Times sportswriter Juliet Macur, because in three simple sentences she evoked how self-satisfaction can divide any of us from our principles:

The sad part is that it took this long. Maybe that is because until now everyone was making so much money. Maybe their pockets became so heavy they could not stand up for what was right.

— Chicago Tribune,

April 30

More

Wed, 04/18/2018 - 21:28

What others say: Communities should opt in to smoke ban, rather than out

A bill that seeks to ban smoking in bars, restaurants and public places may finally get a vote on the House floor after being held... Read more

Voices of Alaska: University of Alaska provides Alaskans with affordable workforce training

As the primary provider of the state’s workforce, the University of Alaska is identifying more affordable ways to educate Alaskans. Alaskans often think of our... Read more

Editorial: Soldotna thinking globally, acting locally

Change has to start somewhere, and in the case of plastic grocery bags on the central Kenai Peninsula, it’s going to start in Soldotna.... Read more

What others say: Ketchikan Daily News

Forecasts for low returns of wild king salmon to the Unuk River and other king spawning waterways in Southeast Alaska have prompted substantial reductions in... Read more