National Basketball Association Commissioner Adam Silver dealt swiftly with allegations of racism against Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling after an audio recording about his lover’s friendship with blacks emerged on the TMZ gossip site last week.
“Effective immediately, I’m banning Mr. Sterling for life,” Mr. Silver said Tuesday after the NBA had concluded its investigation of the recording’s authenticity and determined that the voice on it belonged to the 80-year-old franchise owner.
Calling Mr. Sterling’s views contrary to the values of a multi-ethnic league, Mr. Silver banned him from association with the Clippers and said he will try to force him to sell the franchise. He was also fined $2.5 million.
Mr. Sterling never denied that the recorded voice was his, but insisted that the views aren’t his — whatever that means. On the recording, Mr. Sterling’s contempt for the black athletes who account for 75 percent of the league is clear. Such views would make it impossible for any person of color to work for him and should make it difficult for fans to buy tickets that put money in his pocket.
Some may say that a lifetime ban is excessive because opinions, not actions, are being punished. They are wrong. There is no room for someone with this kind of bigoted attitude toward one’s employees — in the NBA or in any modern workplace.