Sports

The NBA Won’t Tolerate Racism, So Why Does the NFL Tolerate ‘Redskins’?

Fans hold up signs in support of the Los Angeles Clippers before Game 5 of an opening-round NBA basketball playoff series between the Clippers and the Golden State Warriors on Tuesday, April 29, 2014, in Los Angeles. NBA Commissioner Adam Silver announced Tuesday that Clippers owner Donald Sterling has been banned for life by the league. (AP Photo/Ringo H.W. Chiu)
Fans hold up signs in support of the Los Angeles Clippers before Game 5 of an opening-round NBA basketball playoff series between the Clippers and the Golden State Warriors on Tuesday, April 29, 2014, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Ringo H.W. Chiu)

[Los Angeles Times] – Now that the NBA is addressing ownership problems that fester behind closed doors, will the NFL step up to deal with a problem in plain sight?

After NBA Commissioner Adam Silver determined that Clippers owner Donald Sterling was the voice on the audio recording telling friend V. Stiviano not to associate with black people, the NBA punished him with a lifetime ban and a $2.5 million fine. The decision came after decades of wretched behavior. And the controversy is likely to drag on throughout the playoffs as the league wields unprecedented power to sanction Sterling and force the sale of the team.

If the NBA is finally willing to take a stand against owners spewing racist bile in private conversations, how can the NFL continue to defend Daniel Snyder, the owner of the Washington Redskins, which continues to use a name and logo widely seen as disrespectful to Native Americans? Oh yeah, money. Washington’s team was ranked third on Forbes’ list of the most valuable NFL franchises in 2013 with an estimated worth of $1.7 billion.

Granted, Sterling and Snyder are not a perfect bigot-to-bigot comparison. Sterling’s 19th century plantation worldview is especially stomach-churning given that African Americans represent the majority of the NBA’s players, stars and legends — and a vital fan base.

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