Is the NBA Being Hypocritical?

Published: May 05, 2014 12:49pm EDT
By shaunmerritt, Entertainment/Sports Writer for Konsume Sports

Please Note: This article was updated May 05, 2014 @ 12:49pm EDT


Before anyone starts claiming that I am a racist and that I sympathize with Donald Sterling, let me state that I could not disagree more with what he sad. Racism has no place in society and especially not with those who have power. My aim of this article is simply to ask this question, was the NBA being hypocritical with its reaction and punishment of Donald Sterling?

If we look at the harshest punishments handed out by the NBA, not a single one holds a candle to Sterling’s. Gilbert Arenas was suspended for bringing a gun in the locker room and later mocking the NBA. He put teammates’ lives in jeopardy and only got 50 games. Ron Artst ran into the stands and attacked a fan. He got 86 games. Latrell Sprewell threatened to kill his coach and then choked him to the ground. He did get a lifetime ban at first, but got it overturned and only got banned 68 games. Donald Sterling made racists comments and got a lifetime ban. Plus he got a $3 million dollar fine and is being forced to sell his team. His “comments” got a worse punishment than people those who brought a loaded gun to work, attacked a fan, and choked his coach combined. Ask yourself, which of these offenses are worse and then justify Sterling getting the harshest penalty. I myself cannot.

I am not trying to say Sterling should not be punished, far from it, but I really wonder exactly what the NBA is trying to accomplish. Are they now saying that words carry more weight than actions? Case in point Kobe Bryant. Kobe was yelling at a referee and called  him a "fucking fag" in the middle of a game in 2011. He got fined $100,000. That same year, the NBA fined Josh Smith $25,000 for making an obscene gesture as he walked past Celtic fans giving them the middle finger, right in their face of a young fan. So according to the NBA, what Kobe “said” was four times as worse than what Smith “did.” I just don’t get it.

The league needs to do a better job at trying to improve the integrity and quality of their product. When you have players that have drug abuse problems, numerous DUI arrests and gang related ties, but then hand come down the hardest over what someone “said,” you really have seemed to miss the point entirely of what is right and what is wrong. Sterling is an example of the many problems the NBA has, but an even bigger example of how it has no idea how to fix anything.

Look at Jay-Z for example. After winning a BRIT for Best International Male Solo, he threw an after party at the Merah nightclub in London. While African Americans were reportedly let through to the VIP section with no questions asked, white people were refused admittance. White people can’t come to his parties now? What about the Five Percent Nation ­medallion he wore at court side? “The rationale is that the black man is God and created the universe, and is physically stronger and intellectually stronger and more righteous naturally,” says Michael Muhammad Knight to the NY Post. He is an author of two books on the radical group. He continued, “Whiteness is weak and wicked and inferior — basically just an errant child who needs to be corrected.”  So, where is Jay-Z’s lifetime ban? How come he is not being forced to sell his part of the team? Why are his racist actions being ignored, but Sterling’s statements being punished? Oh yeah I forgot, words versus actions.

As we applaud the NBA for taking action against Sterling and his racist ways, we need to keep pressure on the league to remove racism and bigotry from the NBA. Of course we should continue to fine for the use of the word “faggot” and the like, but we also need to work towards removing the word “nigger” from the league as well. These words have no place in our vernacular, especially not in a basketball league. Its just like William Rhoden said in an interview on MSNBC, “If you continue to disrespect yourself and call each other the n-word, then, you know, you are just as bad as Donald Sterling. So stop it.”

Now that the NBA has shown that is believes that "words" speak louder than "actions," it needs to continue enforcing harsh penalties on future transgressions.  I am not saying every racist word said warrants a lifetime ban, but a simple slap on the rest will simply not cut it. While I applaud Adam Silver for taking quick and decisive action, he needs to stay steadfast and hold his league to a higher standard than other leagues. If not, by punishing Donald Sterling so harshly, it just shows how hypocritical the NBA really is. 


Comments (2)

  • shaunmerritt   May 6, 2014 @ 02:24PM
    according to the NBA's "constitution" , the NBA is well within its rights to force Sterling to sell the team. Sterling would be hard pressed to win the case seeing he has operated under those rules for over 30+ years. the bigger question is can they control who he sells the team to? if they try to do that, then he could very well have a case. -

  • Michael Owen   May 6, 2014 @ 12:04PM
    you could take it one step further and say that Sterling's got a lifetime ban for executing his constitutional right while these others committed CRIMES and basically got the rest of the year. Throw in the JayZ thing and you find yourself a very flawed system.

    I think that what Silver did was just packaging to make the league look good and make him look strong. He knows that there is no way he can enforce the sale of the team and if Sterling chooses to sue, he will likely win. -

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