Memphis Grizzlies v Los Angeles Clippers - Game Three

Union representative Kevin Johnson calls for sanctions against Donald Sterling


NBA players want to see something done — and done sooner rather than later.

As the NBA continues to investigate the alleged racist comments of Donald Sterling, the NBA players union called for sanctions against Sterling. They did it through the voice of Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson, the former All-Star NBA guard and Sacramento mayor who is helping lead the search for a new union executive director and has been asked to help the union with this situation. Johnson and Silver met Sunday in Oakland.

“There must be sanctions that make it clear that the NBA family will have zero tolerance for such conduct. Today, tomorrow, forever,” Johnson said, according to ESPN’s J.A. Adande, who had other comments from Johnson’s press conference at halftime of the Clippers/Warriors Game 4.

Adam Silver said he wants the NBA to deal with this situation quickly. Johnson plans to hold him to that, reports Marc Spears of Yahoo Sports and Scott Howard-Cooper of

As for the idea of a boycott, Johnson sided with the Clippers players saying that is not the appropriate action here. At least not yet. The union wants to give the Clippers a chance.

The league wants to move quickly on this — everybody is talking about Sterling and not what has been a thrilling, upset-filled first round of the playoffs. Every game, every media session Sterling is the question. The league needs to get this in the rear-view mirror and the focus back on games, as much as they can. The other owners apparently want this too — if Michael Jordan is speaking out you know the other owners are frustrated as well.

The challenge for Silver is the options before him. He can’t force a sale (it’s not allowed in NBA bylaws unless the owner is behind on his payments, and the Clippers are not). Plus Sterling’s MO is not to sell — not his real estate properties, not any of his holdings. Are fines and suspensions enough?

Among those watching Silver closely is now the players union.

Thabo Sefolosha found not guilty

Thabo Sefolosha
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Thabo Sefolosha clearly believed in his innocence.

The Hawks wing rejected a plea deal of only day of community service and six months probation. That probably would have been easier than a trial.

But Sefolosha opted to fight the charges – misdemeanor obstructing government administration, disorderly conduct and resisting arrest.

Today, he was vindicated.

Robert Silverman:

Sefolosha, who missed the playoffs due to a leg injury that seemingly occurred during his arrest, has made his case clear: New York police targeted him because he’s black. Given everything else we know about policing habits, that’s certainly believable.

We’ve also seen video of multiple officers literally pulling Sefolosha in different directions and one striking him in the leg with a nightstick. We don’t know what preceded that video, but especially given the information revealed at trial, it’s difficult to justify that use of force.

This verdict probably sets up Sefolosha’ to sue the NYPD.

Report: Some Hawks executives doubt Danny Ferry’s contrition

Danny Ferry, Mike Budenholzer
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Since his racist comments about Luol Deng, Danny Ferry has mostly avoided the public eye.

He apologized through a couple statements released around the beginning of his leave of absence. He met with black community leaders. He claimed “full responsibility.”

A cadre of NBA people vouched for him. A law firm the Hawks hired to investigate themselves essentially cleared of him of being motivated by racial bias.

But there’s another side.

Kevin Arnovitz and Brian Windhorst of ESPN:

Ferry’s efforts at contrition sometimes fell short to some inside the organization. Several Hawks executives were at times put off by Ferry’s behavior during a compulsory two-day sensitive training session, especially since they considered his actions triggered the assembly in the first place. He came across as inattentive and dismissive of the exercise, some said, and fiddled with his phone quite a bit. Ferry contends he was taking notes on the meeting.

“It was awkward for everyone because I had not seen or been around Hawks employees for three months,” Ferry told ESPN this summer about the sensitivity training. “I took the seminar seriously, participated in the role-play exercises and certainly learned from the two-day session.”

the Hawks satisfied Ferry on June 22 by releasing both the written Taylor report and a flowery press release in which Hawks CEO Koonin was quoted saying, among other things, that “Danny Ferry is not a racist.” Some Hawks executives grumbled that the team overreached in exonerating Ferry, but doing so — not to mention paying Ferry significantly more than the $9 million he was owed on his “golden ticket” deal — was the cost of moving on.

I don’t know whether Ferry has shown the proper level of contrition, whether he was playing on his phone or taking notes.

But I know what he said:

“He’s a good guy overall, but he’s got some African in him, and I don’t say that in a bad way other than he’s a guy that may be making side deals behind you, if that makes sense. He has a storefront out front that’s beautiful and great, but he may be selling some counterfeit stuff behind you.”

He was not reading directly from a scouting report. He did not stop when his paraphrasing repeated a racist trope.

That’s a problem.

I don’t think Ferry intended to say something racist – but he did.

It’s a fixable issue, though. Through introspection and a desire to change, he can learn from this mistake. Maybe he already has.

That some around him don’t think he took that process seriously is worth noting. They might be off base, and Ferry obviously disagrees with their perception. But this is a two-sided story despite the common narrative focusing on Ferry’s redemption.

It’ll be up to any potential future employers to sort through the discrepancies.