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Sterling’s lifetime ban draws raves in Valley

Published: Wed, April 30, 2014 @ 12:10 a.m.

By Joe Scalzo

and Kevin Connelly



Youngstown State University senior Kendrick Perry has known Los Angeles Clippers coach Doc Rivers for more than a decade.

An Orlando, Fla., native, Perry started playing AAU basketball with his son, Austin Rivers, at age 11 and has been to the Rivers’ house multiple times.

So when Clippers owner Donald Sterling was caught on tape making racist comments in recent days, Perry could think of no better coach to handle the fallout than Rivers, who has been critical of Sterling while attempting to keep his team united during its first-round playoff series.

“He was the perfect person to handle it,” Perry said. “He’s always been a leader, he’s always been vocal, and I think the way he handled things, especially in a situation like this, was perfect.”

On Tuesday, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver banned Sterling for life and fined him $2.5 million, a punishment that has drawn raves from those inside the NBA — and from Perry, an NBA hopeful.

“I loved it,” said Perry, a three-time first-team All-Horizon League selection. “I think it sends a great message. It’s 2014. Racism has to stop.

“That’s a tough situation for anybody to be in, but I think what Adam Silver did was a great start to his career.”

Ursuline High School boys basketball coach Keith Gunther was shocked at how quickly the league moved on its decision, but extremely satisfied with the outcome.

“It sets a tone not only for the older generation, but for the younger generations that those types of attitudes aren’t going to be tolerated, whether you’re black or white,” Gunther said. “If it would have been stated the other way, I don’t think it’s OK.

“Our country has come so far beyond that for someone to think like that, then have employees that are primarily black — both working for them and playing for them — is just an outrage.”

Gunther has experience in handling diversity with relation to his Ursuline basketball team. With players from different cultures and different parts of society, Gunther says he’s talked to his team about race.

“Sometimes it’s really good for us to be integrated, because you learn so much from each other,” Gunther said. “Some people look at it as a negative and I think that’s a shame. We can learn so much from each other, and I think that’s one of the greatest things about Ursuline.”

Racial discrimination in society has lessened, according to Gunther, but it’s comments like Sterling’s that show it’s still prevalent.

“As you can see, we still got some steps that we have to take to continue to progress in the right direction,” Gunther said. “I can tell you that’s a step forward what the NBA did to say, ‘Hey, this isn’t going to be tolerated in America anymore. It’s not going to happen no matter how much money you have.’”

Current Warren Harding football coach and former basketball coach Steve Arnold, who is black, added: “I’ve encountered racism as a head coach, but you deal with it. It makes you angry, but sports is just a small piece of what we deal with every day.”


1tafy(86 comments)posted 4 months, 3 weeks ago

First and foremost, I do not condone Mr. Sterling's actions in any form. However, our court systems should follow suit. We have criminals walking the street who have done far worse than Sterling. I commend the NBA.

Political correctness is getting to the point where it is putting a stranglehold on our "free" nation. A person cannot speak their opinion or feelings without making someone else angry. Whatever happened to freedom of speach?

Pro sports is nothing but a bunch of billionaires arguing with a bunch of spoiled millionaires. The fun in proffessional sports is gone.

I certainly don't have the answer, but we are headed for a meltdown if we as a nation don't something to stop it.

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2polhack(129 comments)posted 4 months, 3 weeks ago

Tafy and Mark Cuban are on the right track. Sterling is a racist jerk. However, his heinous opinion, offered in private to his gold digger girlfriend (no fool like an old fool), is not subject to public punishment. Had he publicly made such remarks, or used such language to deny anyone's civil rights, he might be convicted of hate speech or inciting riot. But private ignorance, I'm not so sure. If Sterling can be punished for his private opinion, free speech is in danger. Seems to me that before we ramp up the public outrage machine over a private conversation, we should first attack the deliberate and public hate speech made for profit like most of the Rap music masquerading as art. Racism is a human frailty, born of ignorance, which will be with us always. Whether it is expressed by an ignorant billionaire, or in a trashy hip hop lyric, it won't be cured by by tabloid PC blunderbuss, but by treating one another with kindness while looking for understanding.

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3jrolley325(800 comments)posted 4 months, 3 weeks ago

i missed the part where the government is punishing him. stop trying to make it a "free speech" issue. go into your place of employment and speak your mind and see if "free speech" protects you. can't believe so many morons still have no idea what "free speech" even means.

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4jrolley325(800 comments)posted 4 months, 3 weeks ago

doesn't matter if its private opinions or not. if you own a franchise and do or say anything to damage that company's image or product, that company can do whatever it wants to protect its interests. "freedom of speech" does not mean freedom from any consequences. just government consequences.

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5polhack(129 comments)posted 4 months, 3 weeks ago

Free speech is what permits jrolley to confuse free speech with private conversation and thereby call people names.

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6walter_sobchak(1910 comments)posted 4 months, 3 weeks ago

jrolley is correct. The First Amendment states:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Government cannot erect barriers preventing people from speaking their minds and this was most notably by the Founders to be political speech. Nothing prevented Sterling from expressing his views other than his business associates of the NBA, not the government. I have to agree with Mark Cuban in that we are treading on a slippery slope with this issue by forcing Sterling to sell his team.

As a society, we have agreed that speech cannot be inciting in which panic or riots can be started. But, Sterling's comments were never meant for public use; they were private. So, what is more inciting? Sterling's private comments or those public comments of Al Sharpton with the Tamana Brawley incident or Jesse Jackson calling New York Hymietown?

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7captainpeewee(66 comments)posted 4 months, 3 weeks ago

It is a joke when 4 black racist Obama Sharpton Jackson and opera Winfrey criticize and go after a white racist like a junk yard dog only in america .

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8Knightcap(699 comments)posted 4 months, 3 weeks ago

Since Sterling's girlfriend is all over the news has there been any reference to her as a "black hispanic"? Not too long ago there was a community organizer/neighborhood security guy in Florida tagged "white hispanic".

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9eevo(51 comments)posted 4 months, 3 weeks ago

It is okay to be a racist, as long as you like at least one black person. I like Ben Carson.

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10motherjones(34 comments)posted 4 months, 3 weeks ago

I think even more disturbing is Shaquille O'neal's instagram mocking a man with a rare disorder that disfigures his face! The NBA should react to that as well. I guess it's acceptable for Blacks to degrade each other.

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11southsidedave(4780 comments)posted 3 months, 4 weeks ago

This entire scenario is such a farce...anyone reading this is a racist in some aspect of his or her daily life. Sterling just made his assertions more public than most of us.

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