Civil Rights Groups Respond to NBA Commissioner Adam Silver’s Announcement on Donald Sterling

Joint Statement from Marc H. Morial, President & CEO, National Urban League; Rev. Al Sharpton, Founder & President, National Action Network; Lorraine C. Miller, Interim President & CEO, NAACP; and Melanie Campbell, President & CEO, National Coalition on Black Civic Participation and Convener, Black Women’s Roundtable:

“We applaud NBA Commissioner Adam Silver’s strong and uncompromising stance in taking action against Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling for the bigotry clearly displayed in the released audio recording.  Yesterday, the National Urban League issued a statement calling for a lifetime ban from the NBA on Sterling – and today, Commissioner Silver sent a bold, courageous and resolute message that the views expressed by Sterling do not represent  the National Basketball Association as an organization today or the kind of organization that it seeks to be in the future.

We are now calling on Commissioner Silver to meet with all of us to discuss the broader issue of diversity – off the court and in the owner ranks – in the NBA.  We welcome the opportunity to open a dialogue with the commissioner in this early part of his tenure to ensure that Donald Sterling remains an anomaly among the owners and executives in the league.  Sterling’s long-established pattern of bigotry and racist comments have not been a secret in the NBA.  Yet until now, they have been tolerated and met with a gentle hand and a blind eye.  We stand strong in our support of Commissioner Silver’s immediate actions.  Moving forward, our goal is for Commissioner Silver to extend these efforts beyond a reactive approach to one egregious situation to a proactive approach that will allow him to set forth and enforce clear policies and codes of conduct that reflect the best of the NBA, as well as foster a league culture that is as inclusive in practice – at all levels – as it is diverse in players and fan base.

This is an encouraging and appropriate step, and we look forward to further engagement and dialogue with Commissioner Silver and his team.”