Yesterday the NBA handed down the harshest penalty allowed under its constitution to Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling. In light of the recent controversy surrounding Sterling’s extremely racist views, which were recorded in a September conversation with his girlfriend, Commissioner Adam Silver banned the real estate billionaire from having anything at all to do with his team or any other team for life.
Oh, and they fined him $2.5 million, too.
And all the owners are going to vote whether or not to force him to sell the team, with three-fourths needed to make it happen.
So the league’s actions were swift and they were severe, and they pleased pretty much everyone—owners, players, and fans—which is rare. However, it turns out that if the penalty had not been severe enough for the players, they were prepared to take some pretty harsh measures of their own.
According to NBA Players Association vice president Roger Mason, if the players were unsatisfied with Sterling’s punishment, they were prepared to boycott Tuesday night’s games, effectively shutting down the first round of the NBA playoffs.
Here’s Mason’s explanation:
I reached out to other players around the league and made it clear the players were ready to boycott the games if this type of action was not something that Adam Silver felt was necessary. We’re happy with the decision but we’re not content yet. We want immediate action. We want a timetable from the owners as far as when this vote is going to happen.
It’s unclear how far along the NBAPA actually got in making these plans to boycott. We do know, however, that the Golden State Warriors had a very elaborate plan of their own in the event that Sterling’s punishment was not severe enough.
Here it is, as relayed by Marcus Thompson of the San Jose Mercury News:
The Warriors were going to go through pre-game warm-ups and take part in the national anthem and starting line-up introductions. They were going to take the floor for the jump ball, dapping up the Clippers players as is customary before games.
Then once the ball was in the air, they were just going to walk off. All 15 of them.
Luckily, no boycotts were needed, and all three NBA playoff games went off without a hitch last night.
Hat Tip – [Bleacher Report]