TCS: Sterling only part of a bigger problem

Zach Hannigan, Staff Writer

Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling made waves when TMZ released audio of racist comments he made.

Essentially he told his alleged mistress, who is only known by the name of V. Stiviano and has been accused of selling the audio, that he does not want her to associate with black people or bring them to Clipper games.

On Tuesday, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver made a resounding decision, Sterling would be banned for life from the NBA and be ordered to pay a $2.5 million fine.

Silver’s decision was hailed by many as the right decision, including Magic Johnson, who was mentioned in the audio, who tweeted “Commissioner Silver showed great leadership in banning LA Clippers owner Donald Sterling for life.”

Johnson went on to tweet, “Now let’s hope that the other 29 owners do the right thing.”

What he is referring to is that he wants the other 29 owners to essentially vote to force Sterling to sell the Clippers.

This is a great start, but Johnson is missing the point. Sterling’s comments point to a bigger issue in the NBA. The culture.

The culture in which zero of the 30 owners represent the overwhelming majority of NBA players.

Therein lies the problem.

If the other 29 owners really wanted to do the right thing, they would put rules in place that African Americans must be better represented in the front offices of the NBA.

The NBA is still stuck in a certain culture. Maybe Sterling, who in one of his few moments of clarity, put it best.

“I don’t want to change the culture, because I can’t. It’s too big…”

While he is also referring to American culture, it also describes the NBA. There is a culture of economic racism, if you will, and that’s what must change.

The owners, including Sterling, are making billions of dollars from the NBA. Much of the money is going towards the ones who don’t do a lot of the work.

This is the elephant in the room in the NBA, one that former commissioner David Stern ignored while he was in office. Sterling has always been a racist and has a history of bigoted comments.

However, Sterling is product of his generation and environment. That same environment is the one that must change for the NBA to really make a difference.

It’s time to look at the bigger issue that Sterling let out of the bag and it’s time to address it.