From the "Talks too much" studios, not a Sterling reputation, but a definite Silver lining and a much more Stern punishment than his predecessor likely would have dropped.
NBA bans Sterling
So the NBA has spoken and new commissioner Adam Silver has issued a lifetime ban on L.A. Clippers owner Donald Sterling and fined him the maximum $2.5 million.
In a sweeping and thorough verbal scolding, Silver grabbed control of the moment and put his stamp on the league with the announcement. He also said he wanted Sterling to sell and hoped the other owners would force him to part with the Clippers.
It was a moment that felt historic, and whether you believe it to be harsh or just is your right. We believe it was the right play for Silver and the league, which could not handle the fall out that reportedly was on the horizon, including a report that the Golden State Warriors were prepared to boycott last night's Game 5 playoff showdown against the Clippers.
Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling sits courtside at the NBA basketball game between the New York Knicks and the Los Angeles Clippers in Los Angeles on Sunday. On Saturday, April 26, 2014, the NBA said it is investigating a report of an audio recording in which a man purported to be Sterling makes racist remarks while speaking to his girlfriend.
Here's what Warriors star Steph Curry told the Mercury News about the entire Warriors team walking off the floor after the opening tip: “It would have been our only chance to make a statement in front of the biggest audience that we weren't going to accept anything but the maximum punishment. We would deal with the consequences later but we were not going to play.”
Wow. That would have made Twitter implode and left sports talk knuckleheads like those Press Row yahoos speechless. Or the exact opposite.
According to Fox News, Sterling has said he will not sell, and Silver and the league would need 75 percent approval — or 22 of the 29 of the other owners — to force a sale according to the league by-laws.
The fundamental truth is the NBA had to protect its brand and make sure its stars knew the league had their back. This was every bit as much a business decision as it was a social commentary. Period.
No matter how you view the punishment, this much is clear: Thank goodness that we can get back to focusing on the excellent playoff basketball that has filled this first round.
Well, excellent may be a strong word for a couple of series — we're looking at you Hawks and Pacers and you too Wizards, who bounced the offensive-allergic Bulls — but they have certainly been dramatic and entertaining.
Let's recap another thrilling night in the playoffs:
• Clippers push through distraction for a 113-103 Game 5 win. L.A. got a huge game from DeAndre Jordan (25 points, 18 boards, 4 blocks) and an energized crowd — when the joint was chanting "We are one" it was a chill-bump moment for sure — to take a 3-2 lead over Golden State. It's puzzling how Steph Curry only got 10 shots. Speaking of puzzling...
• Russell Westbrook went for a triple-double, and he would have caught our wrath after the game. How is it that anyone this side of LeBron James takes more shots than Kevin Durant in a must-win playoff game? Durant finished 10-of-24 from the floor as Westbrook went 10-of-31 in yet another overtime loss for the Thunder. OKC fell 100-99 when Serge Ibaka's tip-in was ruled to come after the OT horn. The gritty Grizz hold a 3-2 series lead heading back to the Grindhouse. Wow.
Side note here: We are looking into how we were blacked out for this game. We could not find it on the dial — NBA TV said it was blacked out. Too bad.
• The Wizards advanced with a Game 5 win over the scoring-deficient Bulls. And if the Hawks manage to bounce the Pacers, who had the Hawks-Wizards in the Eastern Conference semifinals before the season? Yep, no one.
Tonight's schedule: Nets at Raptors — Game 5 in a 2-2 series — at 7:30 p.m. (NBA TV — allegedly); Dallas at San Antonio — Game 5 in a 2-2 series — at 7 p.m. (TNT); Portland at Houston — Game 5, Blazers lead 3-1 — at 9:30 p.m. (TNT).
That was bound to happen, no? Eventually, one of the starting pitchers was going to have a bad night. So it goes, and so it was that the Marlins battered Alex Wood in a 9-0 win that highlighted the brilliance of the past month and showed again that Miami right-hander Jose Fernandez has the best stuff in baseball du jour (sounds good, right?).
The good: Fernandez was nearly perfect. He went eight innings and struck out. The Braves have two losses in the last week and both are to Marlins ace, who used high-90s gas and the most dominating slider since Steve Carlton hung up his cleats to pitch 16 scoreless innings — allowing five hits and two walks whiling striking out 22 — in two wins against Atlanta.
The bad: Just about everything for Atlanta, which mustered three total hits. Hey at least the game lasted just 2:07. Wait, that should be under the good category.
The Uggla: Danny Uggla got the night off, a move predicated by Fernandez' dominance against right-handed hitters. Uggla, the Uptons and Chris Johnson each took a rotation out of the line-up so there's that. Entering the final day of April, Uggla is 18-for-86 (.209) with 28 Ks and 10 RBIs.
This and that
— After reading Weeds column, it sounds like there were a slew of stars present and fun stories shared at last night's Boys and Girls Club event. Good times.
— Wonder what NFL commissioner Roger Goodell and Washington Redskins owner Daniel Snyder thought as the NBA handled its business about racism from the top of an organization was handled quickly and directly. The NFL has taken the extreme step of issuing penalties for players using the N-word, but the R-word that offends Native Americans is on jackets and T-shirts everywhere. So yes Stewwie, there are countless different standards and versions.
— And go one step further. What is Mr. Goodell going to do to punish Colts owner Jim Irsay, who was charged with four felonies this winter after being pulled over for driving under the influence? Mr. Goodell to the white courtesy phone; Mr. Goodell to the white courtesy phone please.
— Trouble brewing: James Franklin reportedly contacted the alleged rape victim in the case involving several former Vandy football players. Uh-oh. More to come this for sure.
— Yet another piece of evidence that makes it nearly impossible not to like Peyton Manning. Here's video of Manning singing Folsom Prison Blues at a fund-raising dinner for the Peyton Manning Children's hospital.
— Rest in peace Bob Hoskins, the British actor from Mermaids and Who Framed Roger Rabbit. He died Tuesday at 71.
Feel free to offer your take on the Sterling punishment. Go. All views are welcome.
Plus, what's your Rushmore of bans? Does Prohibition make it? What about Ban Roll-on? Discuss.
And gang, remember Friday's mailbag.
Jay was named the Sports Editor of the Times Free Press in 2003 and started with the newspaper in May 2002 as the Deputy Sports Editor. He was born and raised in Smyrna, Ga., and graduated from Auburn University before starting his newspaper career in 1997 with the Newnan (Ga.) Times Herald. Stops in Clayton and Henry counties in Georgia and two years as the Sports Editor of the Marietta (Ga.) Daily Journal preceded Jay’s ...