Recently in the NBA, Los Angeles Clipper’s owner Donald Sterling came under a lot of heat from his players , the league, and just about everyone imaginable for his less-than-admirable thoughts on African Americans. These incredibly misguided and racist remarks have netted in a lifetime ban from the NBA for Sterling. While the comments were just about as terrible as they could possibly be, this discussion is taking a look at what happened after the comments were made. This is the ongoing power intervention that is taking place in the NBA between the league itself and Donald Sterling.
After the comments made by Sterling, the association got together and decided to ban Donald Sterling for life from the game of basketball. The NBA is attempting to remove the influence Sterling has over the Clippers and over the game in general by doing this. As soon as the ruling was made, Sterling pushed back. Currently, he still owns his share of the team and is refusing to sell it. He’s also currently hiring lawyers and preparing to sue the NBA. While Sterling has no problem hearing his name repeated over and over, the NBA is desperately trying to shift the attention the media is giving Sterling away from him and back onto the NBA playoffs, which are also occurring right now. The NBA is trying to foreground the playoffs and background Sterling. To this point, they have not been successful; the mainstream media continues to follow Sterling’s every move.
This situation is a worst-case scenario for the NBA. While they are desperately trying to background the Sterling situation, they are also trying to mask the anomaly of the fact that Sterling has been a thorn in their side for years and they’ve just allowed him to continue to be the racist that he is. To make matters worse, because of this recent outburst from him, the media is also starting to dig into Sterling’s 33 years as the owner of the Clippers. The media is halting any progress the NBA can make on putting this situation behind them whenever they bring up any negative comments or actions Sterling has made in the past. The NBA has responded to these stories and has continued to try to background these anomalies when they asked the president of the Clippers, Andy Roeser, to take an indefinite leave of absence. What the NBA is trying to do is show its audience that it is doing everything it can to right this wrong.
In addition, the players have gotten involved as well and have performed their own attention intervention with the fans, their audience. Shortly after the initial comments were released by TMZ, the players of the Clippers, who are mostly African American themselves, made a statement of unity as a team by not wearing any team gear before the start of one of their playoff games. The players of the team opposing the Clippers also planned on walking out of game 5 of the series were it not for the lifetime ban passed down by the NBA. Because of the ban, player outcry has been mostly silenced as they have shifted their attention from Sterling back to the playoffs, but it remains to be seen what will happen after the playoffs come to an end. Sterling has also remained relatively silent on the whole situation, so it will be interesting what happens when he finally starts talking in an official manner. Obviously this situation is ongoing, however it will be fascinating to continue to look at it through the RSI model.