LGBT Sports Coalition: Clippers must be sold

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Coalition: No NBA coach, player or fan should ever have to bear comments like those espoused by Cippers owner Donald Sterling.

The LGBT Sports Coalition today called for the sale of the Los Angeles Clippers and stand in support of the black members of the NBA, including its fans, who came under attack from comments by Clippers own Donald Sterling.

See the press release here. You can find the Coalition on Facebook. Outsports is a member of the Coalition.

CHICAGO (April 28) - The LGBT Sports Coalition calls on Adam Silver, the commissioner of the National Basketball Association, to act immediately to remove Donald Sterling from his active role as an owner in the National Basketball Association and require Sterling to sell his stake in the Los Angeles Clippers. We understand there are complexities that make this difficult; These complexities do not diminish the need for this conclusion.

We stand with the black coaches, players and fans of the Clippers and the NBA who have been directly and indirectly attacked by Sterling's now-infamous racist comments to a past inamorata. We can only imagine the pain felt by head coach Doc Rivers, his entire coaching staff and the Clippers players as they took the court Sunday for their team. The decorum they have demonstrated is laudable and must certainly be a struggle for them. We hope out of this episode grows more lessons that continue to curb racism in this country, so that no black player or coach ever feels he or she has to take the court for any NBA franchise owned by a known racist.

Sadly, the utterance by Sterling of these words is nothing out of character for him. His discriminatory actions as a landlord eventually brought him to the attention of the Department of Justice, which found that three of his companies were guilty of refusing to rent to people of color. All of this, including the latest episode, disqualifies him from owning an NBA franchise.

We are glad to see sponsors share this sentiment, as CarMax, Virgin Airlines and others have abandoned their relationships with Sterling's NBA franchise. But punishing a team and its employees is not the ideal solution. Fans have often heard that teams are a form of public trust. To make real the idea that a team belongs to the men and women who invest in it as fans and consumers, or who devote their lives to it on the court or within the organization, to respect a team's role as a public trust, leaves the LGBT Sports Coalition with no alternative other than to call for Sterling to be immediately removed from his active role as an owner in the National Basketball Association and to require the sale of his stake in the Clippers.

Sports reflect the equality in our society and the virtue of merit on the court. Nothing about that is reflected in Sterling's comments or his actions, which are disgraceful not simply for a sports owner, but for an American. In short, Sterling has no business owning a sports team.

About the LGBT Sports Coalition

The coalition is an association of organizations and individuals committed to ending anti-LGBT bias in sports by 2016. It was formalized at the LGBT Sports Summit in Portland, Ore., in June 2013. Coalition member organizations include National Soccer Coaches Association of America LGBT Committee, Coaching Peace Consulting, Empowerment Through Sport, International Gay and Lesbian Football Association, GLAAD, National Center for Lesbian Rights, It Gets Better, Equality Coaching Alliance, You Can Play, Outsports, GLSEN, Ben Cohen StandUp Foundation, Women Sports Foundation, NIRSA: Leaders in Collegiate Recreation, SHAPE America, Federation of Gay Games, Campus Pride, Br{ache The Silence, NCAA Office of Inclusion and GO! Athletes. Individual members include Nora Cothren, Caitlin Cahow, Kirk Walker, Christina Kahrl, Sue Rankin, Erin Buzuvis & Pat Griffin, Anthony Nicodemo, Chris Mosier, Stephanie Wheeler, Laurie Priest, Jeff Sheng and Sherri Murrell.

LGBT Sports Coalition media contact

Christina Kahrl
773-391-8520
ckahrl9@gmail.com

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