Donald Sterling fouls out over racist comments

Miami Times Editorial Department | 4/30/2014, 3:57 p.m.
Basketball fans in Miami and across the nation are going wild this week but not because LeBron James and the ...

Basketball fans in Miami and across the nation are going wild this week but not because LeBron James and the Heat swept the Charlotte Bobcats in the first round of the NBA playoffs. Emotions are running high over a flagrant foul committed by Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling, who ignited a firestorm after an audio tape that contained explicit racist comments have once again left the billionaire exposed as a bigot in front of the American public.

The tape captured Sterling telling his girlfriend, V. Stiviano, who is Black and Mexican, not to associate with Black people or bring them to any of his games. Sterling also told her not to put NBA legend Magic Johnson on Instagram for the world to see.

But the world does see how this chief executive has insulted his Black coach, team and the entire league that’s filled with people of color. The comments have also outraged basketball legend Michael Jordan along with millions of sports fans, players and even businessmen, many whom are considering withdrawing their corporate sponsorships from the team.

Maybe that would help Sterling finally learn his lesson. Racist behavior and remarks come natural for Sterling. He has been sued twice by the federal government for allegedly refusing to rent apartments to Blacks and Latinos. Sterling’s bigotry has also cost him nearly $8 million in damages and legal fees. But as fellow NBA owners and the country unite against him, this latest incident may cost him even more. In fact, Sterling may have well fouled out of the game.

So far, Sterling has been publicly quiet as Americans continue to vent their disdain and outrage on talk shows, in sports bars and at basketball arenas. Blacks and people of other races awaited the verdict from newly appointed NBA Commissioner Adam Silver, who faced his first challenge since succeeding his predecessor, David Stern. NBA executives vowed to deal with Sterling in a swift manner and their promise is welcomed.

So Silver's recent ban that removes Sterling from the NBA forever, has brought immediate closure to Sterling's shameless behavior and allows Americans to return to the fun, excitement and thrills of the playoffs. Sterling’s comments were racist, but they are also old, tiresome and distracting. Sterling should stay on the sidelines and get help, but no one should give his comments more power than they warrant by fixating on his ignorance. With the playoffs in full gear and the Heat on the verge of another NBA championship, it is time to move on.