Tuesday, Sept. 2, 2014

Utah Jazz CEO Greg MIller applauds Silver's decision on Donald Sterling

By Mike Sorensen, Deseret News

Published: Tue, April 29 5:35 p.m. MDT

 Utah Jazz owner, Greg Miller, with his wife Heidi watch as the Utah Jazz and the Dallas Mavericks play Tuesday, April 8, 2014 at EnergySolutions arena in Salt Lake City.

Utah Jazz owner, Greg Miller, with his wife Heidi watch as the Utah Jazz and the Dallas Mavericks play Tuesday, April 8, 2014 at EnergySolutions arena in Salt Lake City.

(Scott G Winterton, Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY — Utah Jazz CEO Greg Miller joined a chorus of NBA owners, executives, coaches and players in praising the action of NBA commissioner Adam Silver, who banned L.A. Clippers owner Donald Sterling from the league “for life” and fined him $2.5 million.

“On behalf of the Miller family, we support the decisive action by Commissioner Silver and the NBA to reaffirm that there is no place for racism and hatred in our league,’’ Miller said in a statement released by the Jazz Tuesday afternoon.

Miller went on to say, “The Jazz organization and all the teams in the NBA should act as national leaders in promoting inclusiveness and diversity. We have a responsibility in our communities to fight against discrimination and ignorance and showcase sports as an example of respect and tolerance. While this situation has been inexcusable, I hope it serves the greater purpose of reinforcing our vigilance against this type of behavior.”

Silver was praised by many for his strong stand concerning Sterling's comments, which he called “deeply offensive and harmful.’’ While Silver was in position to ban Sterling from NBA games and activities, he doesn’t have the power to take away his ownership of the Clippers. That must be done by a vote of the NBA Board of Governors with 22 of the 30 owners in support.

While Miller didn’t specifically address that issue, Silver, when asked about it at the press conference said, “I fully expect to get the support I need from other NBA owners to remove him.’’

Before Tuesday’s press conference, more than half of the NBA owners had made statements concerning Sterling’s alleged comments.

A couple, Charlotte owner Michael Jordan and Houston owner Leslie Alexander, said Sterling shouldn’t be allowed to own the team. Others, such as Dallas owner Mark Cuban urged some action by the league, while most expressed confidence in Silver.

Some of the strongest reaction came from Jordan.

“I look at this from two perspectives — as a current owner and as a former player,’’ he said. “As an owner, I’m obviously disgusted that a fellow team owner could hold such sickening and offensive views. As a former player, I’m completely outraged. There is no room in the NBA — or anywhere else — for the kind of racism and hatred that Mr. Sterling allegedly expressed. I am appalled that this type of ignorance still exists within our country and at the highest levels of our sport.’’

Chicago Bulls’ owner Jerry Reinsdorf became the first owner to publicly state that he plans to vote in favor of Sterling's dismissal, saying, "The commissioner was correct to ban Mr. Sterling from all official NBA business, to levy the stiffest allowable fine, and we will support his recommendation to press for Mr. Sterling to relinquish his ownership of the Los Angeles Clippers franchise."

Former Utah Jazz player Thurl Bailey, who now works as a broadcaster for the Jazz, told CNN Tuesday prior to the press conference that it would be “inadequate” to merely suspend Sterling and saying that he felt the audio tape of Sterling was legitimate.

Later Tuesday afternoon, Bailey talked on ESPN 700 radio in Salt Lake about the situation.

“Today was historic,’’ he said. “When you talk about NBA basketball, it is the epitome of a sport that has gone global and is about accepting diversity. A lot of people, not just in the basketball world, were really looking for some swift action to be taken.’’

Bailey also said he hopes something good can come out of the unfortunate comments made by Sterling.

“There are a lot of things we can learn and we need to sit our kids down and talk about what this means,'' he said. "Not just on the scale of NBA basketball, but in general of what people are thinking and saying and how they treat other people.''

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1. Chris B
Salt Lake City, UT,
April 29, 2014

It's interesting that Jay-Z recently wore a necklace with a large symbol from a anti-white group and it barely received any attention.

Now this guy, a prominent Democrat we should add, spouts off and he's banned for life. Jay-Z was previously a minority owner of the nets and is still heavily involved in the NBA, including as an agent of several high profile players.

We live in a world where we are hyper sensitive to white on black racism, but all too often sweep black on white racism under the rug.

2. Henry Drummond
San Jose, CA,
April 29, 2014

The Utah Jazz stated:

“The Jazz organization and all the teams in the NBA should act as national leaders in promoting inclusiveness and diversity."

Very well said. I hope this is a statement everyone will support.

3. Wally West
April 29, 2014

At least, the NFL made a dog & pony show after the travesty that was bullygate in Miami.

4. CPA Howard
Rancho Santa Margarita, CA,
April 29, 2014

I think it was a horrible decision. Mr. Sterling made these comments to his ex-girlfriend in private and were made public by someone (his ex girlfriend says she didn't release the conversation). He never expected these comments to be made public, because the image he presents to the world is different. Prior to the comments being made public he was scheduled to receive a life-time accheivement award from the NAACP.

The NBA should have just made a statment condeming his comments and let market place take care of the rest. If he continues to own the team it will lose value because the fans will stop buying tickets ( the Clippers aren't the only team in town); the sponsers will leave and he won't be able to attract new sponsers; he won't be able to keep his free agents; and he'll have trouble attracting good coaches.

The potential consequense listed above will case the team to lose value (he paid $12M and it's currently worth $600M) and he'll either have to sell or be forced to finance the team with his money.

5. jzzlvr
Salt Lake City, UT,
April 29, 2014

Totally agree with Chris B!
I thought I was the only one that saw that story.
Hardly any press is given to the hate groups that other owners like Jay-Z overtly support. The anti-white five percent nation basically preach that the white man is the devil...and why isn't the NBA, it's players and owners, outraged about that?
What Donald Sterling said seemed pretty stupid/racist...but his punishment seems really harsh given that they seem to do nothing to owners like Jay-Z. I guess a little more punishment consistency would be more appropriate so it doesn't come across as a mob mentality going after just one guy.