Donald Sterling, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver, The NBA, the Players, and Business. What do they all have in common? Of course they are all involved in the mess created by Clippers owner Donald Sterling when his true views about race and racism were shared publicly for the entire NBA world, and world for that matter, to hear.
Back in the day, I wrote The Complete Idiot’s Guide to the NBA. One thing I know for sure is that the NBA strives to do the right thing, whether it is early integration of the league, NBA Cares, openly gay player Jason Collins, or what have you. Gandhi said something appropriate when asked if he was a Hindu. He said, “I am a Hindu, yes. I am also a Christian, a Muslim, a Buddhist and a Jew.” Let’s add, We are all White, Black, Asian, Latino, Fat, Skinny, and all the rest.
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver’s lifetime ban of Sterling was an appropriate and welcome rebuke, and a good start. Leaders lead. That’s what he did.
So the next question today is: What do you do when you have a similar situation, when a business associate whose views are so repugnant?
Yes, people are all allowed their private opinions, however stupid, racist, or anti-Semitic. But such opinions are not only morally repugnant, but they become the stuff of the harshest of business rebukes when deeply ignorant private opinions damage the business, when it hurts the brand, as it hurt the NBA, its players, its fans, and the Clippers.
Business leaders are leaders.
Adam Silver led.