Bed-Stuy Agrees: Throw Racist NBA Owner out of Basketball
By Stephen Witt
Bedford-Stuyvesant’s court of public opinion stood squarely behind National Basketball Association Commissioner Adam Silver’s decision of a lifetime ban on Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling from all NBA games and ownership operations.
People interviewed along Fulton Street also were in agreement with Silver’s $2.5 million fine leveled against Sterling and the seeking of a vote among owners to force Sterling to sell the team.
Sterling was caught on tape issuing racist comments to his mistress. Among these comments was telling her not to bring black people to Clippers games or post photos of herself with black people including NBA legend and businessman Magic Johnson.
“The NBA was right in their reprimand,” said U. Reilly, 80, of East New York. “What he (Sterling) said was his true honest opinion. There’s still a lot of racism in this country even though people aren’t talking about it. It’s ingrained in our DNAs.
Brian Kimber, 48, and his wife, Bridget, both said Sterling should be banned from basketball for his remarks but disagreed on how the Clippers players should handle the situation. Currently, the Clippers are in the NBA playoffs and coach Doc Rivers has stated while he finds Sterling’s remarks deplorable, both he and his players still want to compete in the playoffs.
“I think it’s a stupid thing he (Sterling) did and there’s no place for it in basketball and he should be put out,” said Brian Kimber, “but the team should still play.”
“I don’t think the players should still play because if they win they will win for him. They should take the loss,” said Bridget.
Shawn Bradley and his friend, Raymond, both 27, both said Sterling should be thrown out of basketball but the Clippers should continue on in the playoffs.
“He (Sterling) should have known that the NBA stands for Nothing But African-American players,” said Bradley, noting the league is over 70 percent black. “Yes, he should be thrown out even if he is an owner. The president gets impeached. It doesn’t matter your status in life or your riches. When you’re wrong you’re wrong.”
Brandon Lenaer, 32, said Sterling should be banned, but the team should keep playing for themselves.
“You’ve got to be in it to win it, and then after the playoffs they should go on strike,” he said.
Karen Felix, the owner of Platinum Image, Inc. hair salon at 1491 Fulton Street, said a lot of white people share the same feelings as Sterling, but because he came out and said it, it’s a big thing.
“Yes, a majority of the league is black, but you can’t be surprised. They (the league) should kick him out because you need to keep your feelings to yourself and be careful who you say what to. She (his mistress) was egging him on but he should have kept his mouth shut. The team should not play,” said Felix.
In order to force Sterling to sell the team, three quarters of the owners must vote for him to sell, said Silver.
The Brooklyn Nets organization said they fully support Silver’s decision and issued a statement on the management’s behalf. The statement was also confirmed by the Moscow office of Nets majority owner Mikhail Prokhorov.
“Today’s announcement by Commissioner Silver sends a strong message that racism and discrimination of any kind will not be tolerated in the NBA family,” read the e-mailed statement.
“The Nets organization welcomes and fully supports the decision and remains committed to tolerance and respect for all. We can all be proud that the reaction throughout the NBA – from players, management, ownership and fans – has been unequivocal and united in condemning the scourge of racism.”