The Hammer

By: Connor Lenahan

On February 1st of this year, Adam Silver became the fifth commissioner in NBA history. Not long after taking the position from David Stern, Silver was faced with one of the biggest scandals the league had ever seen with Donald Sterling’s racist remarks. The question coming out of this all was two fold: How would the league react? Also, how would Silver handle it? He is the new kid on the block after all.

“Effective immediately, I am banning Mr. Sterling for life from any association with the Clippers organization or the NBA. Mr. Sterling may not attend any NBA games or practices. He may not be present at any Clippers facility, and he may not participate in any business or player personnel decisions involving the team.

He will also be barred from attending NBA Board of Governors meetings or participating in any other league activity.

I am also fining Mr. Sterling $2.5 million, the maximum amount allowed under the NBA constitution. These funds will be donated to organizations dedicated to anti discrimination and tolerance efforts that will be jointly selected by the NBA and its Players Association.

As for Mr. Sterling’s ownership interest in the Clippers, I will urge the Board of Governors to exercise its authority to force a sale of the team and will do everything in my power to ensure that that happens.”

Drop. That. Hammer. Silver.

So let’s recap what happens now. Sterling will never be involved with the Clippers again. This had to happen. After what he said and his track record of abhorrent behavior, Sterling shouldn’t be anywhere near the league. Good on Silver to make sure it happened. Further, giving him the maximum fine was a no brainer. The amount of outrage that was caused by Sterling’s remarks more than justify the price tag. If there wasn’t a cap on the penalty I believe there would have been a fine more than four times what it ended up being. Most importantly however is the provision Silver alludes to last. He is not legally capable of forcing Sterling to sell the team. This is unfortunate because this is exactly what should happen. Thankfully there’s a provision in the NBA constitution that allows for Sterling to be forced out. As is my understanding, if three quarters of the league owners agree that Sterling has to go, he will be forced to sell. In reality, that past “if” should have been “when” because I cannot fathom a world where Sterling is in this league by the last game of the NBA Finals.

Hopefully the right thing will happen now. The perfect ending to this story is for Sterling to be forced to sell to Magic Johnson and have the world laugh at him as he exits the league in utter disgrace. This is how it must end. Thankfully Silver has handled things beautifully thus far and set a precedent that he is not to be messed with as a commissioner. Bravo Silver.

Connor Lenahan (@ConnorLenahan) is a freshman at Boston University, majoring in journalism. He can be contacted at