David Stern is now in the Basketball Hall of Fame. He did a ton for the NBA, helping to solidify it as one of the major sports in the country, as well as getting some serious recognition around the world.
There's no question he deserves enshrinement.
That's not to say Stern doesn't have a few skeletons in his closet, however. One of the bigger ones being that the league did nothing about its well-chronicled racist team owner Donald Sterling until Adam Silver took the reigns.
While Sterling's recorded and published comments about his displeasure with his mixed race mistress hanging out with men who weren't white were certainly disgusting, they weren't surprising.
So why didn't the league do something about him before now? Why did it take the players and coaches of the Clippers threatening to boycott games to get results?
David Aldridge recently sat down with Stern and discussed just that topic:
Me: Donald Sterling was --
DS: Careful. I have a cane.
Me: He was there, on your watch, for a while. Why couldn't something have been done about him earlier?
DS: You know, that's an interesting question from some quarters, when the NBA has a history of allowing the judicial process to take its own course. And we've become particularly sensitized to that, especially with respect to our players. And so there was never a final determination of that kind with respect to Donald.
Me: You couldn't do anything?
DS: That's not the way we operate.
Me: Because, legally, he had been convicted of no crime?
DS: That's not how we operate.
Me: Was he buzzing in the back of your head all those years?
DS: You know, over the years, we were working on so many different -- you mean, when we were working with Magic Johnson and HIV, or dealing with Latrell Sprewell and the thing with his coach? We were dealing with Ron Artest going into the stands, we were dealing with [Tim] Donaghy, we were dealing with Gilbert Arenas. We were dealing with subsequent lockouts. We managed to keep very, very busy -- like, Holy Moses, what's up today? What's on the table? And so, for us, there was a lot to do.
Ok, um, what? The NBA allows the judicial process to play out? That's all well and good, but there was no judicial process in this case. Silver banned Sterling and sold his team off based solely on recorded comments. The only judicial process in this whole fiasco came from Sterling suing to try and keep the team.
He uses the present tense about getting rid of Sterling without the judicial process when he says, "That's not how we operate." Well, apparently that's exactly how you operate because that's exactly what happened.
And that bunch of bull about being too busy? Come on. "Oh, we had to put the racist owner on the back burner because Spree just choked somebody." Give me a break.
The only reason Donald Sterling is no longer the owner of the L.A. Clippers is because the league had no choice, but to remove him. Any talk of morals or ethics or "the right thing to do" is simply whitewashing over the real reasons. The public outcry for his head was too loud. The idea of player boycotts was too messy. The prospect of losing money from people turning away from the league was too dangerous.
Tell the truth Stern, you didn't do anything about Sterling because you didn't have to. Period.
@ericblaisdell13 Eric Blaisdell 8/13/2014 01:01:00 PM Tweet