South Florida Blacks applaud Sterling's $2.5M fine, lifetime ban from the NBA

Special to the Times | 4/30/2014, 3:55 p.m.
Blacks in South Florida rejoiced with the nation Tuesday after NBA Commissioner Adam Silver banned Los Angeles owner Donald Sterling ...

Blacks in South Florida rejoiced with the nation Tuesday after NBA Commissioner Adam Silver banned Los Angeles owner Donald Sterling for life from the league and fined him 2.5 million from making racist comments that ignited a firestorm in the Black community.

From radio stations to basketball arenas, Blacks all over Miami-Dade County flooded the airwaves calling for the ouster of Sterling after an audio tape captured the billionaire sports mogul chastising a female friend for posting pictures of herself on Instagram with minorities, including Basketball Hall of Famer Magic Johnson and Los Angeles Dodgers Matt Kemp.

During the conversation, Sterling told the female not to associate with Johnson or Blacks and not to bring them to any his team’s basketball games. At the press conference, Silver said he verified the voice on the tape as Sterling's.

On WHQT Hot 105 in South Florida, popular syndicated radio host Tom Joyner fielded calls from angry listeners who were shocked by comments, telling the host Sterling had to go.

Blacks at the Joseph Caleb Center in Liberty City said Sterling got what he deserved.

“He disgraced himself and his organization,” said Charles McAllister of Miami Shores. “He doesn’t deserve that franchise after what he has done”

“”It’s pathetic,” said Bianca Simmons of Liberty City. “We’re not in the 1940s or 50s. This is a new generation. It doesn’t make any sense.”

Pierre Rancy of Little Haiti said he did not take Sterling’s comments personally.

“To me, it doesn’t change anything,” he said. “What he said says a lot about him. I am who I am.”

"I'm just shocked that he would make comments like that," said Doris Buney of Miami Gardens.

The comments also outraged civil rights leaders, players, coaches and even other NBA owners. L.A. Clippers players protest their team owner by wearing their warmup clothes inside out.

Throughout the controversy, Clippers Head Coach rebuffed calls to meet with Sterling.

"I sympathize for my players," said Clippers Head Doc Rivers, who is Black. They didn't sign up for this. And yet here they are and they are in the middle of it and they have to deal with it."

Miami Heat star Lebron James said the comments were unacceptable.

“I hate the fact that something like this has to come out when the playoffs have been unbelievable and the game of basketball continues to grow, but there is no room for Donald Sterling in our league. There is no room for him.”

The decision also pleased civil rights leader Al Sharpton.

“The lifetime banning of Donald Sterling is a bold and appropriate action in this matter. " This is a huge victory for those of us that stood against this ugly display of racism. We must continue to make unequivocal stands against bigotry and racism. I look forward to speaking to NBA Commissioner Adam Silver and beginning the dialogue with other civil rights leaders right away to discuss putting in measures to make sure this never happens again.”

Silver said he made the decision to ban Sterling Tuesday morning. At the press conference he said will immediately begin the process of trying to get Sterling to sell the team.