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Donald Sterling and National Basketball Association Case Study


The controversy surrounding Donald Sterling’s ownership of the Los Angels Clippers basketball team has led to divided opinions among various stakeholders across the world. The scenario has attracted the attention of sports administrators and sociologists who have given their respective interpretations of the events that led to Sterling losing the ownership of the professional basketball franchise of the National Basketball Association (NBA) in 2014. It is alleged that the business mogul made inappropriate remarks about the African American community, which was a human rights violation as provided for in the constitution (Hiltzik, 2014). In particular, his remarks aimed at attacking former professional basketball player Magic Johnson for his alleged health status and supposed negligence to the plights of the African Americans despite his huge influence within the community. Sterling further said that he did not want people from the African American community to attend games played by his team. He said this regardless of the fact that most basketball teams are owned by whites while a sizeable percentage of their labor force comes from the African American community (Demby, 2014). His remarks were very disturbing to the extent that even his players at Los Angels Clippers failed to show any form of support by stating that their main reasons for playing for the team were the fans and their own families.

Social controls were one of the major factors that led to Donald sterling losing the ownership of the team. The main reason for this is the fact that the United States has made great strides over the years with regard to the promotion of social justice and equality (Hiltzik, 2014). The constitution is very clear on issues of discrimination based on age, sexual orientation, gender, religion, or race. The American society expects everyone to promote social equality in their speech by avoiding discriminatory remarks. Therefore, whenever anyone disregards the social controls they are bound to face the wrath of the people and a possible prosecution. I believe that the social norms for men of sterling’s age do not support the use of derogatory language towards members of another race. The reason for this is the fact that the constitution promotes equal treatment of everyone regardless of one’s age or racial background (Demby, 2014). In addition, the social norms develop from a culture of political correctness that guides the promotion of human rights in the country. It is important to note that regardless of the influence that anyone has across the United States, it is customary to operate within the social controls that warrant everyone equal treatment. People often earn their respect and influence depending on their ability to act in a politically correct manner, which entails showing respect to everyone and encouraging cohesion within various communities (Hiltzik, 2014).

I believe that informal sanctions would not have deterred the behavior exhibited by Sterling. Reports indicate that over the years, sterling has had very strong opinions about members of the African American community. Sociologists argue that the comments made by sterling were a true reflection of the way he felt about members of the African American community (Demby, 2014). They further argued that his attitude towards members of this community were very ironical because they formed the bulk of the players in his team along with its fans. In addition, his real estate business has thrived over the years due to the enormous support from members of the African American community who form the largest percentage of his tenants. His comments about magic Johnson and the entire African American community were very offensive (Hiltzik, 2014). I believe that the informal sanctions would not have provided the necessary healing power to anyone who might have been offended by the comments made by sterling. The reason fro this is the fact that the remarks painted the African American community as a group of sexually irresponsible people, who do not care much about humanity (Fenno, Christensen & Rainey, 2014).

Following his comments, Ronald sterling was fined $2.5 million by the NBA as a formal sanction. According to analysts, this move was very crucial in terms of protecting the players and the integrity of the league. At the time, 28 out of the 30 teams that participated in the NBA league were owned by whites while over 90% of the labor force came from the African American community (Demby, 2014). The issue of racial composition of the NBA league has been overlooked for several years, despite being a crucial element to the development of the sport in the country. The fine imposed by the NBA was geared towards protecting the contracts of the players, which were at the mercy of the team owners. The sanction further protected the integrity of the league by indicating that no one was above the rules of the game, regardless of their contribution towards the game (Hiltzik, 2014). According to analysts, the sanction also proved that the NBA held the players in high esteem and could not afford to underestimate and ignore their value to the sport (Fenno et al., 2014). The NBA believes that all players deserve equal opportunities to use their talent and make a positive impact in their communities.

References

Demby, G. (2014). . Web.

Fenno, N., Christensen, K., & Rainey, J. (2014). Donald Sterling Built an Empire and an Image; Words Were his Undoing. Web.

Hiltzik, M. (2014). Donald Sterling and the Problem of Pro Sports Ownership. Web.

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IvyPanda. (2020, August 9). Donald Sterling and National Basketball Association. Retrieved from https://ivypanda.com/essays/donald-sterling-and-national-basketball-association/

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IvyPanda. "Donald Sterling and National Basketball Association." August 9, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/donald-sterling-and-national-basketball-association/.

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IvyPanda. 2020. "Donald Sterling and National Basketball Association." August 9, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/donald-sterling-and-national-basketball-association/.

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IvyPanda. (2020) 'Donald Sterling and National Basketball Association'. 9 August.

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