Twitter’s Reaction to Donald Sterling’s Ban
This week, an audio clip of Clipper’s owner Donald Sterling was released by his ex mistress. In this clip, which can be found here: http://deadspin.com/exclusive-the-extended-donald-sterling-tape-1568291249, Sterling criticizes his girlfriend for taking a picture with NBA great Magic Johnson due to the fact that he is black. Sterling goes on to tell her that he wouldn’t tolerate her associating with black people or bringing them as guests to Clipper games. The release of this information caused uproar in the NBA community and resulted in a high level of criticism of the NBA’s once famed standards of equality. The news rocked the core of the Clippers franchise, being that many players and the teams head coach are African Americans. Many of the Clipper’s sponsors responded to the controversy by covering their logos at the Staple Center. Players from the Warriors, who are currently in the playoffs with the Clippers, even claimed they would boycott the game unless they were satisfied with the NBA’s decision on what to do with Sterling.
At this point it was absolutely critical that the current NBA commissioner, Adam Silver, made the right decision. On Tuesday, Silver announced that Sterling was banned indefinitely from any association with the NBA and was ordered to pay the leagues maximum fine of 2.5 million dollars. In his press release, which can be found here: http://espn.go.com/los-angeles/nba/story/_/id/10857580/donald-sterling-los-angeles-clippers-owner-receives-life-ban-nba, Silver also reiterated that the NBA has the utmost concern for equality and suggested a proper apology from Sterling for his careless ignorance. Silver made sure to communicate his concern: “I am personally distraught that the views expressed by Mr. Sterling came from within an institution that has historically taken such a leadership role in matters of race relations and caused current and former players, coaches, fans and partners of the NBA to question their very association with the league.”
Silver’s decision was met with instant approval and praise from players across the league. Players commended Silver and the NBA via twitter for the swift punishment of racism within the league. Silver’s decision effectively communicated the importance of equality to the industry as a whole and as a result he benefitted the industries public perception. The responses to the decision created a massive amount of awareness to the situation and created trends in favor of the leagues decision. The massive amount of approval received via social media allowed the situation to resolve in favor of the NBA and effectively ensured that racism would not be tolerated in the league. Below are some tweets sent out shortly after the press conference: