By now, everyone is familiar with the remarks made by Donald Sterling, “current” owner of the NBA’s Los Angeles Clippers. My eight year old may even know what the deal is by now. So, no need to repeat those here. (For a more balanced review of this incident, read Kareem Abdul Jabbar’s post). Much like the snow storm in Atlanta this year which saw stranded motorists organize help over social media, I think this was another example of how social media can be used to affect change. I think the swift decision made by NBA Commissioner Adam Silver to ban Sterling from the NBA is a direct result of the pressure and intense scrutiny from the media and social media.
But, what if we were to use social media for a more worthy cause such as education reform, ending violence amongst our youth or labor reform that includes raising minimum wage and full-time status to 30hours/week? Why not get together to pressure those who supposedly represent us in D.C. to implement the changes that our communities need, instead of what lobbyists pay them for. As one writer put it, this is good PR for companies that choose to distance themselves from Sterling by ending their sponsorship of the Clippers. While we celebrate a billionaire getting slapped on the wrist, let us remember that this is all about business. Did Commissioner Silver really do anything that was earth-shadowing? As a friend of mine put it: Sterling, Silver, … It’s all about basketball GOLD!
Kareem reminded us that we shouldn’t be surprised that racism and racist thoughts are still prevalent in society. Many of us deal with far worse on our jobs without adequate pay or health benefits. So, while this was a win for the NBA and the players, how do we make this a win for us that are more disadvantaged? Or, do we just take the red pill?