So the NBA has dropped it’s hammer on Los Angeles Clipper’s owner Donald Sterling with a life time ban. Good for the NBA. The action a strong and deliberate act which sends a zero tolerance message to all of those who communicate hate and intolerance. It looks like NBA owners are jumping on-board too with many issuing statements supporting the punishment.
Sterling’s comments and prior actions have shown the world his true colors and that is probably a good thing. While painful in the short term, and a reminder that racism is alive and well, his outing undoubtedly will help weed out the bad blood which still exists in the NBA and beyond. As a media trainer and coach though, I have some unanswered questions. Did the NBA’s quick response and media conference beat Sterling’s plan for his own? Or does this guy still not have a plan to address this? The way this played out, I see only one course of action for the Clipper’s owner: A media conference offering an act of contrition. Sterling needed to step up to the mic, admit his shortcomings and tell the world his view of people of color is wrong, what he said was wrong, and he planned to take action to correct it. He needed to speak to the diversity of the NBA and why that is a good thing. He needed to place the blame where it belongs. Not on his former girlfriend, but on himself. And this needed to happen yesterday. Maybe it still will but by then it will be too late. Damage done Donald. Epic media fail. Epic humanity fail.