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April 30, 2014

Clippers owner banned from NBA for life for racist statements

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The National Basketball Association (NBA) came down hard on Donald Sterling, the billionaire owner of the Los Angeles Clippers, after a recording emerged of Sterling making racist remarks to his girlfriend.

In the recording, Sterling said he did not want his girlfriend to publicly associate with black people, including posting photos with them on Instagram or bringing them to Clippers games.

The statements stirred outrage in the league and inspired an on-court protest by the Clippers, all but two of whom are black.

“Effective immediately, I am banning Mr. Sterling for life from any association with the Clippers organization or the NBA,” said Adam Silver, the new NBA commissioner. “Mr. Sterling may not attend any NBA games or practices. He may not be present at any Clippers facility, and he may not participate in any business or player personnel decisions involving the team.”

The league fined Sterling $2.5 million, the maximum amount allowed under the NBA constitution, and plans to force Sterling to sell the team to a new owner.

NBA players immediately praised the decision on social media and at a Los Angeles news conference, where former player and current Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson spoke.

“I believe that today stands as one of those great moments, where sports once again transcends, where sports provides a place for fundamental change on how our country should think and act,” said Mayor Johnson.


Warm up questions
  1. If someone you heard someone you didn’t know making a racist comment what would you do or say to them?
  2. If you heard a friend making a racist comment what would you say or do?
  3. How has the language used to talk about race changed over the last 50 years? What is considered acceptable now? What parts of the conversation still are taboo?
Discussion questions
  1. Did you think that the NBA’s decision was fair? Why or why not?
  2. What message did the NBA send about racism within the league? Should they have done more or less?
  3. Do you see any problems with the punishment for Donald Sterling’s remarks?
Writing prompt

Examine the graph below from The Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sports. What does it tell you about the NBA? How does or doesn’t this pose a problem? What changes might increase the representation of African Americans in roles of leadership?

diversityNBA

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