Today the NBA, led by Commissioner Adam Silver, did the right thing. They started the process of getting rid of Donald Sterling, but understand this is going to be a process and it's going to be complicated.
It's not complicated because of the actions, or more accurately the words in the tape shared by TMZ.
Donald Sterling is a racist. Donald Sterling is an adulterer.
Both of these things are known by anyone who's paying attention including his wife who not only apparently has given up (if she ever started) fighting them, but she has participated in the racism portion. You're reading this on the internet, if you want to know more look up the lawsuit settled in 2009. You'll find her name too.
This situation is complicated by the laws and the fact that Donald Sterling is a litigious cheapskate who loves to use them.
He's famously not paid coaches after firing them, making them sue him for money he plain as day owes them. If they do, he drags them through the courts and they cost themselves money. So most of them settle and Sterling gets to keep some of his cash.
This is just one small example of how Sterling has been the worst owner in sports over the last 30 years. His team has the worst winning percentage in sports over his reign and it wasn't until he was gifted the best point guard in the league two years ago by David Stern that his team became relevant.
In that time, Sterling started to change who he was as an owner in that he actually showed a willingness to invest in his team, but make no mistake he has not changed as a man.
He's still a racist. This is on the record. Forget the words from this recording. We have actions to prove that and those actions are FAR more important than what happens to him and his basketball team. This point was made by Bomani Jones on The Dan Lebetard Show far more eloquently and effectively than I could ever dream of making it and in urge you to listen to it as soon as you're done reading this if you haven't already. (Starting at 4:33)
However what happened to him was still a valid and important question.
There's a large group of people, largely the general public, who had never heard of Donald Sterling before Saturday or even Monday when they saw these comments on their daytime TV shows that are outraged by this and want Sterling's head on a platter. There's another group that's going "wait a minute, we're mad now? This is who this guy is!" and then go "this is kinda what we've got and there's nothing we can do." and in a weird way they're both right.
I can't expect someone who doesn't follow sports to be aware of who Sterling is and what he is which is a racist scumbag and not be mad upon finding out. It's like those of us who don't really follow politics finding out about some awful thing a politician said and putting it up on Facebook. More attention is good. It outs them. Which is why despite "knowing the score" so to speak, I'm all for all these people piling on. Sometimes we need a concrete reason to take action and now the NBA has a reason to do something with Donald Sterling, which many owners have wanted to do for years and that's try to get rid of him.
Today Adam Silver started just that. He was widely applauded.
For those that didn't think a lifetime ban and max fine for an 81 year old billionaire, what the hell did you want? For Silver to kill him?
The NBA did the right thing today. Sure Sterling should've been gone years ago. Sure this isn't even close to the worst thing Sterling's done.
But Donald Sterling is all gone from the NBA and anybody who tries to minimize that very good thing by bringing up other factors is doing Adam Silver, who wasn't in charge for Sterling's other incidents, a disservice.
Well done Adam. In your first test as commissioner, you've passed with flying colors.