In case you have been living under a rock since April, you have at least been hearing some intermittent updates about what has been happening with Donald Sterling and the LA Clippers. In case you need a refresher, here’s a quick recap.
On April 26, TMZ released phone calls Sterling made on his personal phone where he said he did not want African Americans to attend his games. The general public did not like this and called for the NBA Commissioner, Adam Silver, to do something about it. Eventually, it was ruled that the NBA would force the sale of the team. Sterling fought this idea, obviously wanting to keep his team. Eventually, his wife made the sale to Steve Ballmer, the former CEO of Microsoft. After a legal battle of his mental capacity to make the sale and be responsible for doing so, the sale was finalized today for $2 billion.
The sale of the team gets it out of the hands of someone who may not have the highest opinions of a certain racial group, which is exactly what most people wanted. Many say there is no place in sports for racists, which is something that makes sense. However, once all of the rage settles from the initial comments, everything became quiet until today’s sale. The question that seems to still be lingering is how the sale really settles anything.
Here’s a little lesson in history. In 1981, Donald Sterling purchased the San Diego Clippers for $12.5 million. In 1984, the Clippers moved to Los Angeles, and in 1999, they began playing in the Staples Center. Since moving to the Staples Center, the Clippers have become consistent contenders in the Western Conference.
That being said, something that sticks out is the amount of money he initially spent on the team. He bought the team for only $12.5 million. The team was just sold for $2 billion, or 160 times the purchasing price. If that number isn’t bothersome, maybe this one is: Sterling just made $1,987,500,000 for making racist comments.
Thats right. Sterling, who made a few racist comments and was forced to sell his team by the league as a result, just made close to $2 billion. What message is this sending to everyone? Nothing good will come from paying an alleged racist to just go away.
As the shock continues to set in, many may begin to wonder what the proper punishment should have been. The NBA filed a lawsuit against Sterling over what happened, but this is only a consequence of a poor decision from the start. It’s a shame that this series of events has occurred because this is the first thing that NBA commissioner Adam Silver will be remembered for doing. Unfortunately, the consequences of the lifetime banishment and forced sale of the team have the very real potential to tarnish the reputation of Commissioner Silver.
If there’s something to take away, just remember that people were outraged that Sterling made his racially disparaging comments, but no one has expressed any discontent for the amount of money he made after selling the team. Can people really be angry at him if they ignore this fact?