Nothing sets my teeth on edge faster that racism. Therefore, I was ecstatic to see the new NBA’s Commissioner Adam Silver come out swinging during a press conference this morning. In essence, he banned Donald Sterling from even thinking about looking at a basketball ever again in his life. Bravo!
On The View this morning, Whoopi Goldberg opined that we too are guilty for not knowing that Mr. Sterling had a long history of racism. Apparently, he ran his team with a “plantation mentality.” The U.S. Department of Justice had slammed him with a lawsuit which was settled for a record-setting $3 million for being a racist slumlord.
I was proud that retired players like Magic Johnson leveraged their prestige to call for Mr. Sterling’s ouster. I was proud that many NBA sponsors pulled the plug. The court of public opinion is far more swift and just than any court of law.
I’m an old woman, and I haven’t witnessed intense racism like we have in the United States now since I was a little girl surrounded by Nazi-sympathizers in the bad old pre-Civil Rights days. I was appalled that the U.S. Supreme Court last week essentially gave the states a green light to return to racism when they told Michigan that it could eliminate affirmative action in college admissions. They’ve essentially rolled out the red carpet for a return of Jim Crow laws which restrict voting rights.
When this is coupled with stand your ground laws and some elected officials urging their constituents to pack heat, we are on a very dangerous precipice. It will be open season on the rights of everyone who isn’t a privileged white male.
I wasn’t nearly as troubled by what Mr. Sterling said as I was by his arrogant confidence that he could make ugly, hateful, racist comments with impunity. He clearly believed that he would not be held accountable and that there would be no consequences.
I am ecstatic because by having the courage and integrity to hold him accountable and to deliver swift, severe consequences, the NBA has sent a strong message that racism will not be tolerated. I hope that under Mr. Silver’s leadership that the NBA’s next step will be to hold domestic violence perpetrators similarly accountable.