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What is Means to Dealing with Racism In U.S. Remains Uncertain

Darwin Campbell, African-American News&Issues

Local and national reaction in the Black community was swift, but mixed on the L.A. Clippers Owner Donald Sterling’s lifetime ban from the National Basketball Association.

The historic decision by NBA Commissioner Adam Silver banned Donald Sterling for life from association with the Clippers or the NBA. He also has been fined $2.5 million, which will be donated to organizations that fight discrimination.

The lifetime banning of Donald Sterling is a bold and appropriate action in this matter. This is a huge victory for those of us that stood against this ugly display of racism,” said Rev. Al Sharpton, President of National Action Network. We must continue to make unequivocal stands against bigotry and racism. I look forward to speaking to NBA Commissioner Adam Silver and beginning the dialogue with other civil rights leaders right away to discuss putting in measures to make sure this never happens again.”

Houston Activist Quannel X sees the decision as window dressing that veils the real remaining issues.

(Don) Sterling lifetime ban is deserved, but he is a scapegoat,” he said. “The NBA is attempting to wash its hands, but has for all this time the NBA and Silber supported a man known to be one of the biggest racist slumlords L.A. has ever seen.”

According to Quannel X, this should only crack the surface and now the NBA must investigate the matter deep beneath the iceberg.”

Kofi Taharka, National Chairman of National Black United Front, said the NBA tried to act fast to only contain the situation.

NBUF sent a stinging letter to NBA officials about the issue and challenged players to step up with greater force to demand changes.

My concerns come with three questions,” he said. ” “How can u be banned for life and still be an owner? Call a special meeting owners yesterday! 2. Will the other owners vote to force him out as owner? And 3. Will the NBA and other professional sports franchises address mentality and or policies from a structural level as stated in our letter.”

The NAACP Houston Branch applauds the bold and swift action taken by NBA Commissioner, Adam Silver against Sterling.

There is no place for this type of slave mentality in our society and the fact that an owner of a NBA team with majority African American players made vitriolic comments of this nature is reprehensible,” said Yolanda Smith, Executive Director for the Houston Branch. “The decision to ban Sterling from the NBA for Life and impose the maximum fine of $2.5 million is a strong signal that this behavior will not be tolerated by the Association. However, this serves as yet another example of why the answer to the question of whether the election of Barack Obama as President of the United States ended racism in our country and eliminates the necessity of Affirmative Action is clearly NO.”

 According to Smith, the work of the NAACP continues because racism is still alive and well and we must continue to be vigilant in addressing and advocating for disenfranchised minority citizens in our communities who face racism each and every day in all aspects of their lives.

 She said as an organization, the NAACP Houston Branch continues to receive complaints that include inequities in our Harris County criminal justice system, employment and housing discrimination, driving and shopping while black, and most importantly Education; just to name a few.

 “We hope the public outcry and disdain around this issue unifies voices across the country to join our advocacy to fight discrimination and address racism in all forms,” she said.

 However, not everyone is elated and convinced that one decision is a cure all, end all to the issue of racism in America. They want to see more.

 We are now calling on Commissioner Silver to meet with all of us to discuss the broader issue of diversity – off the court and in the owner ranks – in the NBA,”according to Marc Morial, President & CEO, National Urban League.We welcome the opportunity to open a dialogue with the commissioner in this early part of his tenure to ensure that Donald Sterling remains an anomaly among the owners and executives in the league. Sterling’s long-established pattern of bigotry and racist comments have not been a secret in the NBA. Yet until now, they have been tolerated and met with a gentle hand and a blind eye.”

 His statements are part of a joint effort of solidarity between Black organizations seeking concrete and verifiable action. Others supporting Morial include, Rev. Al Sharpton, Founder & President, National Action Network; Lorraine C. Miller, Interim President & CEO, NAACP; and Melanie Campbell, President & CEO, National Coalition on Black Civic Participation and Convener, Black Women’s Roundtable.

 According to the group, the next step is to call on Commissioner Silver to extend these efforts beyond a reactive approach to one egregious situation to a proactive approach that will allow him to set forth and enforce clear policies and codes of conduct that reflect the best of the NBA, as well as foster a league culture that is as inclusive in practice – at all levels – as it is diverse in players and fan base.