Silver Serves Justice: Can we enjoy it for a minute?

(Photo: FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP/Getty Images)

Yesterday was a day to celebrate rightness. A day that proved that today’s society will not permit intolerance to exist at any level, especially from people in power.  It was a day that showed that there’s been significant progress in our pursuit of equality.

Adam Silver brought the hammer down on Donald Sterling yesterday, banning him from any association with the NBA for life. Life! Outside of a miracle, Sterling will also lose his team.

The delivery of Silver’s statement, the words, the pace, the tone, the authoritativeness, brought chills. Those chills were a feeling of justice that soothed the burns caused by the incendiary words of Sterling. Relief is what we felt.

It was a great day for basketball fans, the NBA, its fans, players and coaches. It was a great day for human beings.

Yet, there are some that just can’t enjoy the moment and choose to shift the focus to negativity.

Almost immediately, questions are being brought up by some as to why this response now and not before?

Why did it take such an overt act of racism and a loud protest from the masses to elicit a response?

What about the issue of housing discrimination?

What about other NBA owners who are suspected to be womanizers, homophobic, and criminals?

Are you kidding me? Can we feel good about this for a moment?

When these people that refuse to enjoy this moment get handed a birthday gift do they complain that they were equally deserving of a gift the other 364 days of the year? Just take the gift and smile. Maybe say, thank you.

Yes, Adam Silver didn’t deliver the panacea. There are still people out there that are homeless and hungry. Yes, we have not achieved world peace. That housing bubble that burst a few years ago, yea, that stilled happened, your home value hasn’t recovered and you’re probably still upside down on your loan.

Were there previous incidents of inaction from the NBA regarding Sterling? Yes, it appears that way. Donald T. Sterling didn’t become a disgusting, vile raciest the day he was recorded on that tape. Those words he uttered on the audio tape likely left his mouth thousands of times before and probably within earshot of people that had the ability to do something, but decided to do or say nothing. Many of those same people that ignored Sterling then, were demanding for his removal now, only after the tapes were released and after the outcry from the public.

Maybe there is a line where if you stay on one side we probably will tolerate unsavory behavior. We’ll collectively yawn, ignore or pass the buck. That’s until you cross that line.  Sterling finally crossed that line that it’s a speck from where he stands.

Maybe there is a very reasonable and logical explanation as to why nothing was done before. Maybe there was no smoking gun that would have allowed them to act at that time. Maybe steps were taken but there were legal hurdles involved that prevented action. Maybe it was because all they had until now have been 2nd or 3rd hand accounts. I don’t know and right now, I don’t care.

What I care about is that something was done NOW. It was done fast, it was done hard, it was done right.

For those refusing to rejoice, I’m sorry that Adam Silver’s statement fell short of your expectations. I’m sorry Silver didn’t ban Sterling for life, move to remove him as owner AND announce the cure for cancer and that those extra 10 pounds you gained over Holidays would be gone in the morning.

I’m sorry, but please don’t attempt to rob us of this moment by your attempt to move the narrative from triumph to tribulation. Don’t sully it with the reminder that we still have a ton of work to do. We know. Lastly, I recommend that you enjoy momentous occasion as well, at least for moment.


– Fern Rea

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Writer & NBA fan who’s been hooked since the days of Magic v Bird. Love basketball debates without it ending in a knife fight. My BBall nickname: “Todo El Dia” (All Day.) Hit me up on Twitter @fullcourtfern or Instagram: @raining3sdotcom
  • Roland Kawakami

    Exceptional piece of writing. However, dont agree. Being happy in the moment is what leads to inaction as the NBA displayed with Sterling in the first place. Taking a moment even for a
    second is what will allow another Sterling to remain in a position of power longer or maybe never be discovered. I commend Bomani Jones and Witlock who took a different angle than just reveling in the joyous occasion.Privacy is an issue here and needs to be examined. The NBA not handling this earlier is an issue that needs to be examined.

    • Fern Rea

      Thank you for reading and commenting. We’ll have to disagree.

      I think by quickly trying to shift the narrative to the negative side, such as why not done earlier, what about these other guys or was this even just, takes away from what was done right in this case.

      I don’t think anybody would argue that this man could or should stay on as the owner of the team. Maybe you can make an argument as to the manner in which it was done or the way that the evidence was obtained (Witlock’s point), but nobody is going to bat for Sterling himself. So Im saying, lets celebrate getting this man out.

      In this case, with these circumstances and it involving this despicable person, it was the right move.

    • Sam Wilfolk

      Dont get you my man. This is a joyous occasion and not a time to focus on the past or try to change the focus on other issues. It takes away from the good that Adam Silver did and makes it seem like you are backing Sterling. smh