May 11 2014, 12:11pm CDT | by Forbes
Shortly after the commissioner announced his penalties for the racist comments made by Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling that were illegally taped and released to the public, everyone seemed to be supporting Silver.
TNT’s “The Inside the NBA” crew of Charles Barkley, Kenny Smith and Shaquille O’Neal applauded Silver’s decision to ban Sterling from the league for life, and every NBA owner supported the commissioner. NBA legend and Los Angeles Dodgers minority owner Magic Johnson tweeted: “Commissioner Silver showed great leadership in banning LA Clippers owner Donald Sterling for life. The public at large also was behind Silver. “On May 2nd, the New York Times jumped out of the gate with a poll that showed 54% felt Sterling’s punishment was acceptable.
But then the polling results began to shift in a big way. A CNN/ORC International poll released on May 5th showed that 47% of the public supported a forced sale of the team, while 50% were against it. Also on May 5th, a Rasmussen poll showed that only 38% believe Sterling should be forced to sell the Clippers. This running poll by HLN has 57% backing Sterling.
I do not think people have softened on how racist Sterling’s remarks were. I think they have started to realize what, exactly, Silver is proposing: the forced sale of private property solely because of an illegally taped conversation made in the privacy of the person’s home. And I do not believe most Americans want to live in that type of society.
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