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 NBA.com.
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.