In the days since racist comments allegedly made by Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling came to light, numerous NBA owners have released their own statements condemning the comments. The owners’ reaction has been much slower than that players and media members, but they are slowly coming out. Tonight Cleveland Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert joined owners such as Mark Cuban of the Dallas Mavericks and Wyc Grousbeck of the Boston Celtics coming down against Sterling. Here is Gilbert’s statement in its entirety:
“It is shocking that anyone could hold the kind of offensive and feeble minded views that are being attributed allegedly to the Clippers owner, Donald Sterling. The diverse staff members of the Cleveland Cavaliers franchise are unified in encouraging Commissioner Silver and the NBA to respond with swift and appropriate action consistent with a strong zero tolerance approach to this type of reprehensible behavior.”
As prepared statements go, this is pretty run of the mill content. Still, it is nice to see Gilbert come out and publicly denounce Sterling. What this statement does not do, however, is tell us how Gilbert would vote when/if the NBA asks it’s owners to punish Sterling, who has a well-chronicled history of racism. At the end of the day, it will be up to Sterling’s fellow owners (what I’ll dub a much less awesome Billionaire Boys Club) to hold him accountable for unacceptable behavior. Gilbert, as one of more public NBA owners, will likely have his voice heard when the matter is discussed. And as NBA Commissioner Adam Silver’s boss, the owners really are the ones in control here.
Silver will be holding a press conference tomorrow in what will be his first public comments on this situation. Stay tuned as we learn more about how this situation unfolds and what role Gilbert plays in the matter.