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The NBA acted faster than any league in history in banishing one of their own.
It took the better part of six years from the time that Major League Baseball began investigating the controversial utterings of Marge Schott until they finally succeeded in ousting her from the game. It took six months to ban her manager, Pete Rose, for gambling. The Black Sox Scandal, the case that created the modern sports commissioner, dragged on for two years.
For the NBA it took just a matter of days to ban Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling.
But don’t mourn over a the perceived lack of due process. In the end, this is not a criminal law dispute. Each league has its own constitution, a basic agreement between each of the owners and the man that they collectively hire to run the league. Donald Sterling broke that contract and will pay the price, ironically just as his Clippers were becoming a better team than their building mates, the LA Lakers.
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver, like David Stern and Larry O’Brien before him, is a big-time Democratic donor. He is also the head of a league in which 76% of uniformed personnel is African-American. It’s playoff time and nobody’s talking about the games. He had the power and the inclination and he didn’t dither. There’s something to be said for that.Published in