Racist remarks and the expected reaction

by Alex Castro on October 19, 2015 - 11:08pm

       “NBA bans LA Clippers owner Donald Sterling for life over racist comments” is a Sports article published by Jon Swaine in The Guardian on April 29th, 2014. The article is an informative piece explaining the aftermath of comments made by Donald Sterling in regard to the skin color of individuals Sterling’s mistress was accompanying to LA Clippers basketball games. In response to a recording released on April 25th, 2014 by TMZ showcasing Sterling telling V Stiviano to no longer bring black guests to the basketball games, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver requested a lifetime ban for Sterling. In addition to a $2.5m fine, the ban consisted of Sterling no longer being allowed to take part in any event or activity within the NBA organization. This included attendance at Clippers games, practices, and any official functions part of their organization. Sterling also could not influence any decisions regarding the business, staff, and or players. Citing the NBA as a “diverse, multicultural, and multi-ethnic league”, Silver finalized the fine and ban just days after word spread of Sterling’s remarks as the league would not tolerate his continued involvement within the organization. Reactions to Sterling’s ban were overwhelmingly positive with many former and current NBA stars giving praise for Silver’s decision.

        The author wrote the article from an objective perspective, choosing not to take a stance nor give an opinion on the incident. There is also no mention of racial words or references to ethnicity with exception to quotes from Commissioner Silver as well as Sterling’s comments themselves (the author uses “black” as a description for the target of Sterling’s remarks). The mention of these few words do not enforce the idea of race and therefore do not hinder the quality of the article. I agree with the actions taken against Donald Sterling because the ownership of a franchise predominantly played by members of ethnic minorities should not belong to someone that bigoted and racist. It is absurd for players in the NBA to hear about remarks of that nature in the year 2014. On the other hand, I do believe the reactions from many members of the African-American ethnic group contribute to Audrey Smedley’s idea of ‘Afrocentricism’ from her article about scientific racism and the resulting consequences. With the rallying against future remarks like Sterling’s, some individuals may inadvertently support the biological definition of race seeing Black individuals as substantially different from other colors regardless of whether or not it is in a positive light. Smedley also remarks that such an approach does very little to destroy racialized worldviews. Similarly, Sterling’s banning does not necessarily mean the majority of people have changed or will change their attitude towards minority groups, it only means individuals with these views will be more inclined to keep them secretive. Essentially, it is good to see such a positive response to the ban of a racist and bigot, however it is possible for individuals to get the wrong idea about race as well as further internalize any existing racist views.


I chose to comment on this post because I am an avid sports fan and I found this article very interesting since it is sports related. In my opinion, the actions that Silver took with regards to the allegations that Sterling made were fair and justified. Not only were Sterling’s words completely inappropriate on an ethical level but also on a professional business level. Not only should people no longer affiliate with Sterling on a personal level due to his racist behavior but his words also tarnish the leagues reputation if they allow him to remain affiliated with the NBA. I think the lifetime ban as well as the 2.5 million dollar fine is completely appropriate. Through my experience, when punishments are not strict enough for any unacceptable behavior in general, the offender will most likely not take the situation seriously and will see no wrong in repeating the behavior. It also sends a message to others that this behavior is somewhat acceptable or that they can get away with it. By being this severe, the league is sending a clear message that it does not and will not stand for any kind of racism. Although this particular situation was handled properly, it also sheds light on hidden racial prejudice in the sports industry. This brings up the question, how many other Donald Sterling’s are also hiding in the world of sport?

I chose to comment this article because the topic is of interest to me and because I am a fan of
the National Basketball Association. The N.B.A is a multicultural league with players of different races.
that is why a team owner being racist being racist has caught my attention. The owner of the team was
racist towards black males, which dominate that the sport. Does the stereotype of black males off the
court effect the way he views on the court. The punishment enforced on Donald Sterling was a good
one. A 2.5 million dollar fine and lifetime ban is a clear message to those who are racist. I think it is
unacceptable to be racist in an organization like the N.B.A, which generates most of the revenue off of
black males. To own a N.B.A franchise is very special, that is why it puzzles me to why he would blow
such an opportunity. I believe that his actions are due to power, being the owner of the franchise,
he thought that he would get away with his actions. Donald sterling will be a lesson to the world. This
raises the question, is he the only one …..

About the author

Alex, 19, myth of race & reality of racism student.