November 18, 2019

No Place On God’s Earth

There is no place on God’s earth for the unprofessional and unworthy comments on race as recently uttered by the owner of one of professional basketball’s top teams.

The National Basketball Association (NBA) has announced its severe punishment of Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling, the longest-tenured league franchise owner. He is banned for life from the NBA and faces a $2.5 million fine. The league hopes to force him to sell his franchise.

“Shortly after the release of an audio recording this past Saturday morning (April 26) of a conversation that allegedly included Clippers owner Donald Sterling, the NBA commenced an investigation, which among other things, included an interview of Mr. Sterling,” said NBA commissioner Adam Silver. Continuing, Silver noted:

That investigation is now complete. The central findings of the investigation are that the man whose voice is heard on the recording and on a second recording from the same conversation that was released on Sunday is Mr. Sterling and that the hateful opinions voiced by that man are those of Mr. Sterling.

The views expressed by Mr. Sterling are deeply offensive and harmful; that they came from an NBA owner only heightens the damage and my personal outrage.

Sentiments of this kind are contrary to the principles of inclusion and respect that form the foundation of our diverse, multicultural and multiethnic league.

I am personally distraught that the views expressed by Mr. Sterling came from within an institution that has historically taken such a leadership role in matters of race relations and caused current and former players, coaches, fans and partners of the NBA to question their very association with the league.

To them, and pioneers of the game like Earl Lloyd, Chuck Cooper, Sweetwater Clifton, the great Bill Russell, and particularly Magic Johnson, I apologize. Accordingly, 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.

Everyone connected with the NBA and the sports world has denounced Sterling’s remarks – and rightfully so. “I am proud of Adam Silver for providing the leadership and strength necessary in this situation. He has my full support,” said Detroit Pistons owner Tom Gores.

Sports are not immune from the wicked vices of our country and the world. Instead of using evil thoughts, foul language and racist comments, I pray that the world of sports would recognize the gifts of God given to them and thank Jesus our Lord in a more profound and frequent way.

Let’s pray that what comes from all the headline-grabbing rhetoric involving Sterling and the NBA can come a peaceful assurance that God is the guiding light in the sports, entertainment and music industry. This change cannot happen overnight yet we can sure pray in earnest for a conversion.

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Written by
George Eichorn

GEORGE EICHORN is the long-time executive director of the Detroit Sports Broadcasters Association and sports editor and columnist for a Detroit weekly newspaper. For more than three decades, he has covered the Olympics, Super Bowls, World Series, NBA Championships, and Stanley Cup finals. His articles have been published in the Detroit News, Basketball Times, Basketball Digest, Red Wings Magazine, Baseball Bulletin, Sports Fans Journal, Soccer World, and Bowler’s Digest. During the 1980 Winter Olympic Games in Lake Placid, New York, he proudly covered the historic “Miracle on Ice” hockey game when the United States shocked the Soviet Union. Through the years, he has won numerous broadcasting and writing awards, and most recently received the National Polish-American Sports Hall of Fame’s Special Recognition Award. In 2003, he authored a book about the rich history of Michigan sports broadcasting, Detroit Sports Broadcasters: On the Air, for which the late Detroit Tigers broadcast legend, Ernie Harwell, wrote the forward. He is the married father of two daughters and a graduate of Wayne State University.

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Written by George Eichorn
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