Oklahoma City Thunder point guard Derek Fisher lauded NBA commissioner Adam Silver for imposing a lifetime ban on LA Clippers owner Donald Sterling and announcing that he had the backing to force Sterling to sell the team—a decision Fisher called a "first step" in "the process to protect the association." The point guard is certainly not alone in arguing that Silver's decision Tuesday is not enough of a response to the problem of racism in the league, as the NAACP and Sharpton's NAN, among others, likewise immediately called for more action from the association.
Fisher made clear his approval of Silver's decision in a series of celebratory tweets he posted throughout the afternoon Tuesday, including the statement that Sterling's punishment “was a great first step in this process to protect our Association” and the interestingly phrased praise of Silver for “showing true leadership, boldness, & intolerance”:
Fisher's sentiment that the owner's lifetime ban and forced withdrawal is only a “first step” is shared by the NAACP, NAN, the National Urban League, and the National Coalition on Black Civic Participation who have issued a joint statement declaring that removing Sterling is not enough and have requested a formal meeting with the commissioner to discuss restructuring the NBA hierarchy to feature more minorities in top positions and to install new codes of conduct.
Mavericks owner Mark Cuban said in an interview prior to Silver’s decision Tuesday that the idea of forcing an owner to sell his team was a “slippery slope.” In the press conference Tuesday, however, Silver announced that he was going to do just that, and Cuban quickly expressed that he agreed entirely with Silver's stance.
The NBA’s decision to impose a lifetime ban on a member of the organization for statements made in private obviously has massive implications going forward. Questions about where the line would be drawn on what constituted “intolerable” racism or alleged racism or racial bias, etc., was not specified in Silver’s press conference. Nor did Silver explain what other sorts of offensive opinions would deserve lifetime bans by the association, or whether players and staff would be held to the same standard as those in positions of power. Apparently Sharpton and the NAACP have their own answers to some of those questions they would like to share with Silver.