Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Sterling: Banned for Life

The NBA Commissioner Adam Silver announced today a series of sanctions directed at Donald Sterling, the owner of the Los Angeles Clippers basketball team that included the death penalty with a "lifetime ban;" a maximum fine permitted by the NBA of $2.5 million and a directive to the NBA's Board of Governors to force Sterling to sell the Clippers' franchise

Sterling was outed as a racist when a leaked recording of a conversation he had with a former girlfriend (who happens to be multi-racial) was published by the salacious news website TMZ.com sports.

All these sanctions issued by Silver are appropriate and long overdue for a racist and a hater, who has been previously found guilty of racial discrimination under housing and employments laws and was also successfully sued for sexual harassment in a trifecta of just plain ugliness.

Sterling was a repeat offender, found guilty under law for engaging in racist and sexist practices, but never addressed by the NBA league under former commissioner David Stern.  His silence today is deafening.

Although Commissioner Silver said the sanctions he initiated were for a singular event, no doubt he was aware of Sterling's well documented history of systematic discrimination. 

Silver's leadership was widely applauded by members of the NBA community and among them included Earvin Magic Johnson:

I support Commissioner Silver's actions and comments.  Let's support a genuine effort in this country to confront blatant racism institutionally.  

When I was growing up during the civil rights movement, there was so much peer pressure, most racists kept their thoughts to themselves--they hid their racist attitudes. But not anymore.  

I am shocked by not only Mr. Sterling's grotesque intolerance of people of color, but also the offensive comments made by the ignorant Cliven Bundy, a rancher who is in violation of federal law by refusing to pay grazing fees.  I find their racist views to be repugnant and have no place in our increasingly diverse country.  

Anonymous on-line communications has emboldened many haters who possess unconscionable views that are blatantly racist and shock the conscience of people who embrace a civil society imbued with respect, tolerance and respect for others.  I share the sentiments of the NBA's initial push back to the Sterling revelations:

Today we applaud Commissioner Silver's leadership and we reafirm the dignity of all Americans and all those who seek a legal and safe residence in our country.  Indeed, we are one -- out of many -- one nation, a majority united in opposition to hatred of others.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

UPDATE: How the "Putin Project" is Affecting LGBTI Human Rights in Russia's Near Abroad

Right Wing Watch posted a story after attending the panel discussion:

Russia's ban on gay "propaganda" and copycat laws throughout the region have created a "license to commit violence against" LGBT people, "give the permission" for "street violence" and "create legitimacy for violence," according to human rights advocates working in Russia, Ukraine, Moldova and Kyrgyszstan who spoke last night at a panel at Columbia University. Russia's spate of anti-gay laws has quickly influenced neighboring countries, part of what Columbia professor Tanya Domi called "the Putin project" of solidifying Russia's influence in the region.  
Read the entire article here.


I will be moderating a panel at The Harriman Institute, Columbia University, on Monday, April 14th, 6:15 p.m. Joined by Olena Shevchenko, chairman of Insight, and advocacy organization for LGBTI human rights that is based in Kyiv; Anna Kirey, a researcher on LGBTI human rights, Human Rights Watch and Matthew Schaff, a program officer at Freedom House who reports on LGBTI issues.  This is so timely, especially given the xenophobia exacted against the LGBTI community in Russia,which is having a negative effect in the "near abroad" of Russia.  If you are in New York City, stop by the Harriman Institute to hear the conversation by these human rights defenders.