After Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling was found to have been the voice behind horribly racist comments that were released over the weekend, new NBA commissioner Adam Silver found himself in an unfamiliar position. Silver immediately called for an investigation into the recording and called meetings with other NBA owners to decide on a punishment for Sterling.
In a press conference this afternoon, Silver announced his decision to level Sterling with unprecedented sanctions, including being banned from NBA activities for life and a fine of $2.5 million. The league will also move to force Sterling to sell the Clippers.
These punishments will be remembered as Silver continues his reign over the NBA, and for good reason. The immediate actions of Silver have cemented him as the leader of the NBA going forward, and he should be applauded for taking these drastic and unprecedented steps so early in his tenure.
The commissioner’s decision should quell any tension prior to tonight’s Clippers-Warriors playoff game and get the spotlight back onto the court. By putting a quick end to this situation, Silver made it known that the NBA will not tolerate any racist behavior under his watch. By doing so, Silver will definitely establish himself as player favorite early on in his tenure as NBA commissioner.
The sanctions were not surprising, though the manner in which they were delivered was. The NBA seems to have found the right man to lead them through troubled waters in Silver. While David Stern was solely responsible for the growth of the game, it is now time for a man to lead them through the pains of that growth.
So far, with only three months on the job, Silver has knocked this out of the park.