Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Adam Silver's Big Decision

Miami Heat v Oklahoma City Thunder ? Game OneIn about an hour, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver is about to hold a press conference at 1 PM CDT that will shape the perception of his leadership during this first major test of his brief two months in office.

He'll have to make the decision about what to do concerning LA Clippers owner Donald Sterling and  his disgusting racial remarks that have overshadowed the playoffs, pissed off the players in a league that is 70% African-American and sent Clippers advertising partners fleeing for the exits. 

Some of Sterling's fellow owners aren't happy either about the firestorm that has happened over the last few days

Detroit Pistons owner Tom Gores probably echoed the sentiments of the other 29 team owners watching this PR disaster when he said, "There is no place for prejudice and intolerance in our league, or anywhere else. That's not a debatable point.  It's a first principle." 

Leslie Alexander, the owner of my fave NBA ballers told the Houston Chronicle that while the NBA constitution only allows an owner to be summarily stripped of his franchise for gambling, the Rockets owner does think something needs to be done to ensure "this kind of event never happens again."

But the question in everyone's minds right now is what is that something?  What kind of punishment can you come up with that hurts a multibillionaire who is a serial racist that sticks? 

Silver, like the other major sports league commissioners has 'best interests of the game' powers that do give him some latitude here.  He could declare all of the Clippers players free agents while indefinitely suspending Sterling and assessing him a substantial fine.  He could call for a meeting of the owners that could result in them voting to strip him of the club.  

But the only person that knows what's going to happen is Commissioner Silver.   He is also quite aware that the world is watching and the NBA does have to tread carefully to avoid legal trouble. 

Bottom line is Sterling should have been dealt with by the NBA when the DOJ discrimination suit came down and he paid that hefty fine.   But now that his racist chickens have come home and pooped all over the NBA's porch, they have to deal with it.

And it will be interesting to see just how that happens.

TransGriot Update:  Commissioner Silver dropped the hammer.   Slapped Sterling with a lifetime ban from the sport and a $2.5 million fine. The meeting will be held soon with the owners to get the authorization to force the sale of the team.

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