Tonawanda News

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May 2, 2014

LEFFLER: Donald Sterling issue not black and white.

Tonawanda News — Color me conflicted.

Some people have told me over the years that I’m wishy washy at times. I used to get this complaint on a somewhat regular basis back in my broadcast days. It’s not that I’m wishy washy, though. It’s that I have what I consider to be a unique ability to see several sides of an issue simultaneously.

That’s where I stand over the decision to ban Los Angeles Clippers Owner Donald Sterling for private racist remarks he made that were then made public.

Many people feel the “bold move” made by NBA Commissioner Adam Silver is a step in the right direction, showing without doubt that the basketball league will not tolerate racism. Meh.

Others feel that Sterling’s private comments are just that and should not be counted against him in his public life — meaning as owner of the Clippers.

I can see the second point of view more than I can see the first, to be honest. While I abhor racism, we are still in America and people have the right to say what they feel. That doesn’t mean that NBA patrons and advertisers are required to put up with racist comments, however. And many can and would react by boycotting the team — maybe even the league.

This is where I can see the reasoning behind Silver’s decision to ban Sterling from the league. From my point of view, it has little to do with standing up to racism and a lot to do with protecting the financial well-being of the league.

Others will sugar coat it and say that Silver and other NBA owners are actually standing up to racism. I say hogwash; they’re standing up for capitalism. And there’s nothing wrong with that. Kind of.

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