One local bright spot in the LA Clippers Donald Sterling racism spectacle was Oklahoma City Thunder chairman Clay Bennett’s response to it.
Bennett issued the below statement about NBA Commissioner Adam Silver’s action to ban Sterling from the NBA for life following the release of an audio tape in which the Clippers’ owner asked a girlfriend to not bring black people to games.
The Oklahoma City Thunder strongly supports the decisive action taken today by NBA Commissioner Adam Silver. Ours is a league of inclusion, tolerance and fairness. The Thunder organization will continue to work to foster the tenets of diversity and respect, and build on that standard moving forward.
I especially like the words “inclusion” and “tolerance” and “diversity.”
The statement doesn’t counteract all the negative worldwide publicity generated by the botched execution of a prison inmate here recently, but it does paint a different picture of Oklahomans. (Bennett is pictured right receiving an award from former NBA commissioner David Stern.)
It should be noted on a historical level that Bennett is married to Louise Gaylord Bennett, daughter of the late Edward L. Gaylord, a longtime owner of The Oklahoman, which is now owned by Philip Anschutz, a Colorado billionaire. The late Gaylord, a diehard conservative, was not known—to say the least—for tolerant views, as was documented by articles in the Columbia Journalism Review published in 1999.
The lead article in the series asked this question: “What other major newspaper in a metro area of one million people, and with a newsroom of 145 full-time reporters and editors, has only three African-Americans on its news staff?”
Bennett’s statement comes from a universe different than the one inhabited by the late media mogul, and that’s good to know.
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