Former NBA commissioner David Stern is generally regarded as the best head man of any of the major sports in the United States. He turned a league which once had its championship series on tape delay after the late local news and turned it into a global force.
In less than three months, however, his hand-picked protégé, Adam Silver, has already surpassed him — solely based on how he handled Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling.
In fact, Silver has surpassed all other commissioners with one swift stroke — most notably NFL head Roger Goodell and MLB commissioner Bud Selig. In his first major act as the head of the NBA, Silver swiftly and concisely did what Stern was unable — or unwilling — to do when it came to handling Sterling, in which he suspended him from NBA activities for life, saddled him with a $2.5 million fine and will do everything in his power to force Sterling to sell the team for his racist remarks
Anyone who has followed sports for any length of time must be saying: what took so long? It’s been known for years Sterling is a racist and a bigot, a slumlord who has a track record of discrimination against black and Hispanics. But it took a secretly recorded conversation between Sterling and a girlfriend that became public to finally take him down.
Sterling has owned the Clippers since 1981 and has had several lawsuits filed against him regarding these issues, yet former commissioner Stern never took any action. Silver deserves respect for doing what other commissioners have failed to do — take a stand on divisive issues.
Goodell and his predecessor Paul Tagliabue never did. The NFL still has a team that uses a racial slur for one of its team’s mascots — the Washington Redskins — but have yet to do anything about it, seemingly incapable of forcing Washington owner Daniel Snyder to change.
We all know Selig’s shortcomings — the biggest being turning a blind eye to the steroid issue, as well as his feet dragging on the Oakland A’s-San Francisco Giants’ territorial issue.
And yet all these former commissioners have been feted upon their retirement or have been praised for turning a league (the NFL) from a billion-dollar entity into a multi-billion dollar tour de force.
The common refrain is professional sports commissioners work for the league owners and do their bidding. Silver proved that his job — first and foremost — is to do what is best for the integrity of the league. His handling of Sterling proved he is willing to take a stand, unlike the others.
But it would be hard to believe Silver would take such unprecedented steps without having several key owners in his corner, knowing, ultimately, it will be the other 30 NBA owners who will decide if Sterling is forced to sell his team.
It’s time the NFL and MLB follow the lead of Silver and act in the best interests of the leagues and not to kowtow to other owners. It’s time professional sports owners are held accountable for what their peers do.
Sure, Silver’s announcement may have had nothing to do with a racist owner and everything to do with preserving advertising dollars. Whatever the reason, the NBA finally needed to deal with Sterling and it was Silver who was willing to take the drastic steps.
What will the NFL and MLB do?
Hannah Farr — a Hillsborough native, St. Ignatius graduate and current Stanford soccer and lacrosse player — was named the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation women’s lacrosse Player of the Year, as she tied for the team lead in goals scored (27), helping the Cardinal to the MPSF title.
The Sequoia baseball team will be hosting its third annual SEQ Baseball Golf Tournament at Shoreline Golf Links May 31. Cost is $150 per golfer or $550 per foursome.
The cost includes greens fees, a cart, full banquet dinner, welcome packs, prizes and raffles. All proceeds benefit the Sequoia baseball program.
Those interested in signing up can find a link at SequoiaBaseball.com. Questions can be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Hillsdale is looking for a girls’ varsity basketball coach for the 2014-15 season. Those interested can complete an application on www.edjoin.org or contact Hillsdale athletic director Brett Stevenson at email@example.com.
Nathan Mollat can be reached by phone: 344-5200 ext. 117 or by email: firstname.lastname@example.org. You follow him on Twitter@CheckkThissOutt.