NBA Commissioner Adam Silver responded to Donald Sterling’s lawsuit to block the sale of the Los Angeles Clippers in a halftime interview during Game 3 of the NBA Finals.
“It’s so unfortunate that that’s what we’re talking about,” Silver held. “The next step for the league is to frankly step back and allow this dispute between Donald and Shelly Sterling to play out.” Noting that Shelly Sterling indemnified the NBA against a lawsuit by her husband as a condition of her sale of the team to former Microsoft executive Steve Ballmer, the commissioner maintained, “We’re on the sidelines.”
But Sterling dragged Silver onto the court earlier on Tuesday in his statement explaining why he’s fighting the NBA in court.
The NBA has a history of discriminatory practices which is supported by the numerous lawsuits filed by NBA employees claiming gender based discrimination. Adam Silver has worked for the NBA since 1992. He must know about the discriminatory practices of the NBA which are all matters of public record. The reason Adam Silver is focused on the sale, instead [of] the larger social issue, is because doing so would require him to examine the NBA’s own discriminatory practices, including those that occurred under his many years in leadership. If the NBA is sincere about their approach, Adam Silver needs to publicly examine the NBA’s own conduct and the conduct of each and every Owner.
“I have no idea what he’s talking about,” Silver maintained. “And the focus shouldn’t be on me or the NBA.”
Silver meted out a $2.5 million fine and a lifetime ban to Sterling after TMZ.com revealed recorded conversations of the Clippers owner petitioning a mistress not to bring African Americans to his team’s games or pose with them in pictures. Prior to Shelly Sterling having her husband declared incapacitated and agreeing to a sale, the league had begun proceedings to force a sale of the team.
Silver called the $2 billion sale of the Clippers “an incredibly positive sign” for the league. “The market is speaking.” He divulged that he speaks often to former NBA commissioner David Stern, characterizing their relationship as that of “close friends.”
The interview focused almost exclusively on the Sterling soap opera. The new commissioner seemed bothered that the spectacle has diverted eyes from the on-court product. “Watch this game,” he told viewers of the Heat-Spurs matchup in Miami. “It’s an incredible finals.”