5 Reasons NBA Owners MUST Vote Out Donald Sterling
May 8, 2014
The sports world has been on high alert since the release of the audio tapes that identified Los Angeles Clippers owner, Donald Sterling, making purported racist remarks about minorities. With a thorough investigation by the NBA complete, it is now confirmed that the voice recorded was indeed Sterling. Immediately, the pressure built up against newly appointed NBA Commissioner Adam Silver. With only three months under his belt as commissioner, he was now faced with what may be considered the most important decision in NBA history. Speculation arose to new heights across social media as to how severe the punishment would be for Sterling, and how much authority Silver really had to even ignite a punishment that would satisfy the African American community, as well as the league and its players. But it is fair to say that Adam Silver represented his position well, as he threw the book at Donald Sterling, banning him for life from all NBA activities, fining him $2.5M, and to the surprise of everyone, urging the owners to force Sterling to sell the Los Angeles Clippers. Silver successfully utilized his power and authority to demonstrate that discrimination would not be tolerated on any level in the NBA. But he did something else too. Silver shifted the pressure from him being a new commissioner making a tough decision, to the owners of the NBA who now have to make a stand. It is now up to the owners, as 22 of the 30 (75%) must agree in a vote to strip Sterling of his ownership in order for him to be forced to sell. For five very good reasons, this vote must pass.
1. Player’s Security
Sterling’s comments placed an insecurity on not only the Clippers players, but all players across the league. The NBA is 80% African American and each player that steps on the court for the logo on their chest and the owner that cuts their check, needs to be secure in the notion that they are appreciated and accepted. Players will not want to stay in a place where they believe their owners have a hidden racist agenda. The owners need to show their players and staff, their organization is free from that thinking.
State Farm, CarMax, and Kia are just a few sponsors that pulled away from the Clippers in lieu of Sterling’s comments. If the owners decide not to force Sterling away, then they risk potential sponsors pulling from their clubs as well. Sponsors are not so likely to be associated with any organization that condones a prejudice behavior and by allowing Sterling to stay on as an absent owner, it may send the message of approval of his actions. Leaving sponsors equal thinning pockets.
3. No One is Bigger than the Brand
Too often it is believed that money and power equal injustice. The more money you have, the easier it is to “buy your way out”. The NBA owners need to send a message to everyone and set a precedent that no one person is bigger than the brand. Rules and regulations are set in place for a reason, and by voting Sterling out, it will show the league and its fans that money is not a determining factor when deciding right and wrong.
4. Save Themselves
If for no reason other than to save face, the owners need to make this decision and fast. Various media outlets have interviewed other NBA owners and each of them that spoke made it clear there was/is no room for this type of offensive behavior in the league. They need to show that those are not just words spoke out of obligation, but meaningful views that they are not afraid to back up.
5. It’s Simply the Right Thing to Do
Mark Cuban had a legitimate point in stating, “…when you start making blanket statements about what people say and think, as opposed to what they do. It’s a very, very slippery slope.” It is understood that these comments were made in private with no intent of being exposed, but the fact is they were. And what Donald Sterling displayed was a habitual offense as far as being accused in discriminatory and racist acts. MLB got it right when they forced out then Cincinnati Reds owner Marge Schott over her similar comments involving race and reprehensible behavior. They pressured her into selling because it was the right thing to do. NBA owners must follow suit. The NBA brand as we know it depends on it.
Grigson’s Off-Season Moves Crucial for Indianapolis Colts Title Run
February 5, 2014
From the beginning, Ryan Grigson’s decision making was in question when he became the new GM for the Indianapolis Colts in 2012 and fired/released half the team (including veteran quarterback Peyton Manning). His choice of Andrew Luck first overall in the 2012 NFL Draft along with some other unseen talent, led the Colts to an 11-5 season, a playoff berth, and a huge turnaround from the 2-14 record of the season prior. This gave fans the notion that maybe his judgment could be trusted after all. Unfortunately, the 2013 off-season didn’t live up to that same billing. Grigson signed some injury prone vets and inconsistent talent to the team, ultimately proving his acquisitions to be a tad bit disappointing, even though the Colts did pull out another 11-5 record and played much improved from 2012 to 2013 (including winning their first playoff game post Peyton Manning era). As another off-season approaches and Grigson once again has salary cap space at his disposal, the fans are hoping that he spends wisely, as Indy can ill afford anymore of Grigson’s rebuilding mistakes.
The 2014 off-season is shaping up to be vital to his tenure in Indy. His future may very well depend on it. Grigson has about $40M in cap space, and there are some players on the Colts current roster whose contract need not be renewed or extended. In contrast, there are a few who are deserving of a return, including kicker Adam Vinatieri and punter Pat McAfee. He also has a quarterback that will be entering the final year of his rookie contract and will be asking – rightfully so – for a hefty paycheck in 2015, so smart spending will be a must this off-season. Losing Andrew Luck is not an option for this team. He is the franchise player and number one guy Grigson needs to be sure he can keep around. There is no title run without Andrew Luck.
Grigson must also focus on bringing in legitimate defensive players. Now since the Colts have only three draft picks (2nd, 3rd, and 5th round), Grigson will have to rely on good ole free agency (this is where it gets scary) to shape up the Colts defense. Free safety, cornerback, linebackers, and defensive ends are the team’s biggest need. Ironically, the needs that the Colts currently have are the same needs that Grigson attempted to fix last off-season (see why this is scary) and he cannot truly use the draft to assist him with the lack of picks. With free agency as his pot to delve in, Grigson had better learn to recognize the difference between a good player that another team can no longer afford versus an average player trying to score a big day. The Colts needs a stronger defense to be a serious contender. With Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie hitting the market, Grigson could benefit by picking him up instead of paying top dollar to injury ridden Vontae Davis.
Last season the Colts suffered several injuries offensively as well (Vick Ballard, Reggie Wayne. Ahmad Bradshaw, Dwayne Allen) and all of which should be returning. Grigson should consider bringing in another wide receiver – a good one this time. Last season, he acquired Darrius Heyward-Bey from the Oakland Raiders and majority of the season he played as if he had rubber on his gloves. Although T.Y. Hilton will serve as the deep threat and Reggie Wayne will definitely be that dependable possession receiver, another dangerous slot receiver can only add to an already potent offense. It would be wise for Grigson to use one of his draft picks to fulfill this.
The Colts are right on the verge of being a top 3 team in the AFC. They have most of the pieces, but are not complete. They could still use a center, still use another guard to challenge Hugh Thornton on the right side, and could use another backup running back as well. This is not the time for Grigson to play the patient game, nor to be over zealous. He cannot approach this off-season in the same manner he approached 2013. He has to make smart decisions about how he uses this salary cap space because the Colts window at a title is depending on it and so may be his career as the Colts general manager.