Sterling out, but why did it take so long


Screenshot by Shaquill Stewart/The Skyline View

Donald Sterling owner of the Los Angeles Clippers is banned for life from the NBA Photo credit: shaquill stewart

After a crazy three days of reaction from professional athletes, celebrities , fans and even President Barack Obama, we all got what we wanted. On Tuesday the NBA Commissioner, Adam Silver, gave Donald Sterling a lifetime ban from the NBA. But is it too little too late?

“The views expressed by Mr. Sterling are deeply offensive and harmful,” Silver said. “That they came from an NBA owner only heightens the damage and my personal outrage.”

Nobody will dispute that Silver got it right , and Sterling deserved the lifetime ban and the $2.5 million fine for the racist comments he made in the recorded conversation with his mistress that was posted on TMZ’s website. But please spare us from your shocked reactions. In between the praise for Silver in his trendsetting decision, shouldn’t we also be asking him, and former NBA Commissioner David Stern, where all this personal outrage was during the past decade, when everybody in the NBA knew Sterling was a racist but refused to do anything about it?

The league banned Sterling because he was hurting the pockets of the NBA owners and the NBA as a whole.So we banned someone for a secretly recorded conversation with his sleazy mistress, but refused to ban him based upon evidence in past federal lawsuits that showed a much more damaging form of racism? Really?

Where was Stern and Silver in 2006 when the U.S. Department of Justice sued Sterling, a real-estate magnate, for housing discrimination. Or in 2009 when he paid $2.73 million in a U.S. Department of Justice lawsuit alleging he discriminated against blacks, Hispanics and families with children in his rental properties.

How about the fact the NAACP was going to award him another lifetime achievement award. Yes he already has one. Yet after the tapes were released they stopped that process.

What about when NBA legend Elgin Baylor sued Sterling for age and racial discrimination. Sterling has been a racist slumlord for over 30 years. Despite that, no one has sought to dislodge Sterling from his role as owner of a major sports franchise. And with his bigotry suddenly a national story, Sterling has become an outrageous example of the inability of L.A. to police itself, and its elite.

The accountability factor is my ultimate problem with the situation. Just like when Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig, and fellow baseball owners, had their heads buried in the sand about steroids in baseball, it seems Stern, Silver and NBA’s ownership were willfully ignorant about Sterling’s racism. Everybody in the league knew about it, but nobody was willing to confront it, until TMZ left no choice. Sadly its 30 years too late.