Adam Silver Stands Tall For What's Right

Apr 29 2014, 3:09pm CDT | by

Banned for life.

Forced to sell his franchise.

That’s all you need to know about Donald Sterling’s future with the National Basketball Association.

Commissioner Adam Silver did not mince words. He has exiled Sterling, the owner of the Los Angeles Clippers, after being caught on tape making racist comments to his girlfriend. In doing so Silver wielded a sledgehammer that shattered Sterling’s supposed privileged world and enabled the NBA to move positively away from the repugnant behavior of one of its aberrant owners.

Will the rest of the league, that is, the other 29 owners back Silver’s recommendation? That remains to be seen but Silver exerted his authority fully, properly and commendably. He stood tall the way that perhaps his predecessor, David Stern, who essentially built the league into multi-billion dollar global business did not. Stern never acted against Sterling when previous racially-charged lawsuits arose. One lawsuit involving Elgin Baylor, a long-time general manager of the Clippers, was dismissed; the other resulted in Sterling paying a $3 million for housing discrimination.

Silver has only been in the job as commissioner for a matter of months although he worked side-by-side Stern as a chief deputy for years previously. His bold action serves as a lesson for any senior leader, especially one coming into a new role. Had Silver wavered or waffled, his future as leader would have been tainted. He would have been viewed as a protector for ownership, or even an apologist for bad behavior.

Silver is savvy enough to realize this and so he did what good leaders do. Act decisively. He did not spin the issue; he faced it directly. And in doing so he provided something that all leaders need to do for their followers. Inspiration. He showed what you can do when you have authority. By not ducking, by not hiding behind PR flacks, Silver showed what leadership is all about. Doing what’s right.

There also is a silver lining – yes, bad pun intended – in this action. Silver gains the respect of the players in the league, the majority of whom are African American. He stood with them in their hurt and anger against Sterling’s racist rant. And this is only fair because there will be a time when Silver must discipline a player for actions detrimental to team and the league. Had he not levied the maximum penalty he could met against Sterling his credibility among players would have been suspect.

Additionally Silver protected the NBA against what could have been a tidal wave of sponsorship defections. Already some sponsored cancelled their sponsorship with the Clippers. Had Silver been indecisive, many more sponsors could have walked. And that would have affected the bottom line.

Professional sports are about two things: winning and money. Take your pick. While we like to talk about character in sports, in the pro game character is more an afterthought. Yes there are rules of the game governing on and off the court behavior but ultimately it’s the bottom line that talks loudest. Wining and money.

And so Adam Silver’s strong stand against the racist behavior of an owner speaks volumes about his integrity and his leadership. And so the next time he opens his mouth on this issue – or any other – people will want to listen. Silver is a man of character.

 
 

Don't miss ...

 

<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/30" rel="author">Forbes</a>
Forbes is among the most trusted resources for the world's business and investment leaders, providing them the uncompromising commentary, concise analysis, relevant tools and real-time reporting they need to succeed at work, profit from investing and have fun with the rewards of winning.

 

blog comments powered by Disqus

Latest stories

First Italian female astronaut ready for spaceflight
Rome, Nov 24 (IANS) History will be made Monday with the first ever Italian female astronaut set to go into space for a mission on board the International Space Station (ISS).
 
 
Mummy wearing jewellery unearthed in Egypt
London, Nov 23 (IANS) Spanish archaeologists have discovered about 4,000 years old female mummy wearing rare jewellery in Egypt.
 
 
Exercise and fasting could boost brain's functions
Washington, Nov 23 (IANS) Exercise along with occasional fasting is good for boosting the brain's neurons, shows a new research.
 
 
One infant dies in Pakistan hospital
Islamabad, Nov 23 (IANS) One more infant died due to lack of oxygen in an incubator and negligence of the hospital administration in Pakistan, bringing the number of such deaths to 19 in the past five days.
 
 
 

Latest from the Network

It?s direction over acting for Jolie
Los Angeles, Nov 24 (IANS) Actress Angelina Jolie says she is now looking to focus on her directing career. "I've never been comfortable as an actor -- I've never loved being in front of the camera. I didn't ever...
Read more on Celebrity Balla
 
Al Qaeda-linked fighters target two Shia towns in Syria
Damascus, Nov 24 (IANS) The Al Qaeda-linked Nusra Front and like-minded groups attacked two pro-government and predominantly Shia towns, in Syria's Aleppo province. The attack on the towns of Nubul and Zahra Sunday...
Read more on Politics Balla
 
Pattinson gets naughty with FKA Twigs in public
Los Angeles, Nov 24 (IANS) Actor Robert Pattinson seemed to be in a playful mood when he grabbed his girlfriend FKA Twigs's derriere while strolling here recently. The duo had stepped out together Friday afternoon for...
Read more on Celebrity Balla
 
Focus shifts to 'political agreement' over Iranian nuclear issue
Tehran, Nov 24 (IANS) Iran and six world powers would now look to negotiate a "political agreement" as a comprehensive deal by the Nov 24 deadline would be "impossible", Iranian officials said. "We haven't been...
Read more on Politics Balla
 
Political leader shot dead in Pakistan
Karachi, Nov 24 (IANS) A leader of the Awami National Party (ANP), Ziauddin was gunned down Sunday by unknown assailants in Orangi Town in the Pakistani city of Karachi, media reported. According to police, the leader...
Read more on Politics Balla
 
Israeli cabinet pushes to make country 'Jewish state' by law
Jerusalem, Nov 24 (IANS) The Israeli cabinet approved a bill Sunday, which enshrines in law that Israel is the national homeland of the Jewish people and that this right is unique to them. Fifteen ministers voted in...
Read more on Politics Balla
 
When Lily Allen's sex life 'lacked magic'
Los Angeles, Nov 24 (IANS) Singer Lily Allen, who says she didn't enjoy a great sex life until she was in her mid-20s, believes sex needs to be reprented as an "emotive experience" in popular media. She says the media...
Read more on Celebrity Balla
 
Bangladesh beats Zimbabwe in second ODI
Dhaka, Nov 24 (IANS) Bangladesh beat Zimbabwe by 68 runs in the second one day international (ODI) at the Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury stadium in Chittagong Sunday, to go 2-0 up in the five-match cricket series. Batting...
Read more on Sport Balla
 
Stand up for your rights, Imran Khan tells Pakistanis
Islamabad, Nov 24 (IANS) Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) chief Imran Khan said Sunday that the people of Pakistan must stand up for their rights, when the party holds a rally Nov 30 in Islamabad. Addressing a public...
Read more on Politics Balla
 
Ryan Reynolds' 'scary' father
Ryan Reynolds thought his father was ''scary''. 'The Proposal' star - who is expecting his first child with his wife, Blake Lively - has admitted that his dad worked incredibly ''tirelessly'' to provide for their family...
Read more on Celebrity Balla