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Updated Apr 29, 2014 - 7:11 pm

Colangelo: Silver made ‘moral’ decision in Sterling controversy

PHOENIX — Nearly everyone seems to have an opinion on the “Sterling Gate,” but perhaps few are more apt to speak on the outcome than former Phoenix Suns owner Jerry Colangelo.

“He (Adam Silver) put the hammer down and made a real mark for himself early in his new role as commissioner of the NBA and I think he used everything available to him,” Colangelo told News/Talk 92.3’s Mac & Gaydos Tuesday. “I think it was a great time for him.”

A “great time” that seems to have gotten the NBA players and much of the public on the new NBA commissioner’s side.

“Not only was Adam Silver the commissioner of the NBA (in Tuesday’s press conference), he was the player’s commissioner, also. That was huge. I never heard that before,” Colangelo said.

Silver banned Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling from all games and practices “for life” and fined him the maximum penalty of $2.5 million. He also encouraged the NBA to remove Sterling as the team owner.

It’s pretty common knowledge that the NBA has a vetting process for prospective owners, complete with a criminal background check and a litigation history. With Sterling’s purchase of the Clippers way back in the early ’80s, many are asking how it got this far to begin with.

“I don’t remember how well the betting was back in those days; I really don’t,” Colangelo explained. “And let’s give everyone the benefit of the doubt — maybe in 1983 or ’82, you wouldn’t have found very much, going back that far.”

But Sterling’s recent racist remarks are not necessarily “new,” as stories of Sterling’s unsavory attitudes toward minorities have been circulating for years.

“Now, in terms of someone’s track record over a period of time…people are entitled to make a mistake and if they ask for forgiveness, you can forgive them,” Colangelo said. “But if there’s a series of things that happen, then you have a pretty good idea who that person is or isn’t.”

And as for the comments made by Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban?

“Well, would you rather avoid a slippery slope or do what’s right, morally?” Colangelo asked. “That’s what I think Adam Silver did today.”

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