Donald Sterling’s name is now a fixture on Twitter with more days of trending sure to come. In the days and hours since the alleged explosive audio between Sterling and his girlfriend was released by TMZ, we’ve heard from all corners of the basketball and sports world. Hell, President Obama was asked about it on his trip to Malaysia, so you know it’s escalated to a global level. The one group we haven’t heard from is Sterling’s fellow owners.
The only one to respond was Michael Jordan, who says he was ‘outraged’ by the audio. Unless you personally share Sterling’s unappetizing views, who wouldn’t be? Heat owner Mickey Arison called the comments “offensive, appalling and very sad.” Outside of Arison and MJ, there’s been mostly silence from the rest of the owners. Zippo. Nada. Zero. Perhaps the most vocal and bombastic one of them all, Mark Cuban, has kept his mouth shut during this stinky mess, which must’ve taken every ounce of willpower to do.
There should be more owners sharing their disgust with Sterling, but their fraternity is clearly sticking together on this one. Maybe they’re petrified that some of their own foibles or inequities will be out examined and picked apart in the open. If anything, this needs to serve as a shining example of why there needs to be more minority owners not only in the NBA, but all sports leagues. Former commissioner David Stern deserves some of the blame here as well. Sterling, by all reports and or lawsuits, had a disturbing point-of-view about minorities and continued to do whatever he wanted so long as he kept lining everybody’s pockets. Stern was a forward thinker in many ways, but he whiffed on this one. He should’ve dealt with Sterling a long time ago.
Now Adam Silver must act swiftly and decisively to boot Sterling out of the league for good, although he’s not instilling a lot of confidence. Why does he need an investigation? Why not just ask Sterling straight up – Is this your voice? There isn’t a precedent for Silver to go on, but if Ron Artest was punished 86 games for going into the stands in Detroit, Sterling deserves the absolute harshest and stiffest penalty ever given.