Does Don Sterling’s Punishment Really Mean Anything?

Over the last couple of days, Los Angeles Clippers owner Don Sterling has been the topic of discussion for many people. For those of you who don’t know what’s going on, Sterling’s girlfriend, Vanessa Stiviano, released a recorded phone conversation of him telling her not to bring black people to his games or to put up pictures of herself with black people on Instagram. As a result, NBA commissioner Adam Silver banned Sterling from the NBA for life and fined him 2.5 million dollars. Sterling may also be forced to sell the team.

Although the consequences for his actions are reasonable and appreciated, is it really going to hurt Sterling? Will he suffer any loss or anguish from his reckless comments? The unfortunate reality is that it probably won’t.

Banned For Life

Sure, being banned from the NBA for life is a big deal. However, that doesn’t mean he can’t buy a football, baseball, soccer or hockey team. Hell, Sterling could even buy a slamball team if he wanted! Just because he can’t be a bigot in the NBA doesn’t mean he can’t get a team and be one elsewhere.

2.5 Million Dollar Fine

2.5 Million is the maximum amount allowed to be fined in the NBA. However, to Donald Sterling that’s nothing. His net worth is 1.9 BILLION dollars. You read that right. 1.9 billion dollars. It’s just a small dent in his fortune. He’s probably sitting at home laughing about it.

Selling the Team

Donald Sterling bought The Clippers for 12.5 million in 1981. According to Forbes Magazine the team is currently worth 575 million. If he were forced to sell The Clippers to someone else, he could make a huge profit. Not only that, but he could sell the team to a relative or friend and still profit from it.

What Can We Do?

Unfortunately, there isn’t much that can be done to punish Don Sterling further other than what the NBA has and hope other sports leagues keep him out. At 80 years old, Sterling is set in ways. Just because he dated outside of his race doesn’t mean that he will learn and grow to accept black people. It’s too late for him and its probably too late for several other people in the world who feel the same way he does.

Racism is alive and well in 2014. I don’t think it will ever go away. There are always going to be people with hatred in their hearts.

However, it’s not too late for us to take a stand. We need to stand up to racists by showing them we will not stand for bigotry. If we see someone or a group of people being treated poorly, we have to speak out about it.  We must embrace diversity and be more inclusionary of other races, religions, genders, and sexual orientations. We have to teach our children that love is more important than hate and that our similarities are way more important than our differences.


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