NBA: Adam Silver and the terrible, horrible, no good, very bad week

NBA Adam Silver (Photo by Steve Dykes/Getty Images)
NBA Adam Silver (Photo by Steve Dykes/Getty Images) /

The NBA has had an interesting past seven days, but what role does Adam Silver play in what has happened in the last week?

The NBA has had a very interesting week. Not only have we had great games like Mavericks vs. Nuggets a few days ago, but the Phoenix Suns inexplicably beat the Golden State Warriors, and we had the final Warriors vs. Rockets Western Conference Championship rematch of the regular season.

However, none of those things are even close to the most interesting things that happened this week.

There was also Steve Kerr saying that he was:

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"“…so [expletive] tired of Draymond [Green]’s [expletive].”"

James Dolan banning a fan for telling him to “sell the team”, and the event that probably takes the cake, when a fan reportedly yelled racial comments towards Thunder guard Russell Westbrook.

Surely during any one of these events the league or commissioner Adam Silver would step in and fix something right? Well, no.

Instead, Adam Silver spent his week lamenting AT&T’s merger with Turner Broadcasting and wondering if the NBA should allow longer player contracts. Meanwhile, there were multiple sources from around the league that called for Silver to step in and resolve at least some of these issues that have cropped up in the recent week.

The main problem with the commissioner position in the NBA is that they sort of answer to the owners of the league. Every commissioner is put into the position by the owners, and they are expected to represent their best interests, which can be a problem because that can conflict with the players best interest.

The problem with Adam Silver filling the Commissioner position in the league is that he is a product of that NBA owner system, not only filling a spot in former-commissioner David Stern’s front office, but also coming into the league as a lawyer and businessman.

Despite the problems that could arise from Silver’s background, he seems to have handled some tricky situations fairly well in the past. For instance, Silver rightfully received heaps of praise for his swift handling of the Donald Sterling incident, and he was reportedly approached by numerous NFL owners to see if he’d consider running their league instead.

The entire NBA has also drawn a lot of praise for many of it’s socially progressive choices, including not punishing players who participate in political protests and hiring women to hold high positions in front offices. Regardless, Silver has almost certainly dropped the ball on the events that happened this week.

The NBA Commissioner should be expected to uphold the interests of the players and the league as a whole, and that’s a problem because that can often go against owner interest. With that, there were two instances (there’s really no need for him to comment on the Kerr thing) that really needed the NBA’s voice here: the Utah Jazz incident and the James Dolan problem.

First, the Jazz incident. A Jazz fan reportedly started shouting racial comments at Westbrook, and fans around this man were seeing smiling or laughing, and his wife was reportedly cheering him on. Westbrook responded by saying:

"“I’ll [expletive] you up. You and your wife. I promise on everything that I love, I’ll [expletive] you up.”"

In response, the NBA released a $25K fine to Westbrook. There some people around this league who believe that’s too high a fine, maybe something more around $10k. Also, there’s an argument that the NBA should’ve stepped in and banned this fan for life. understandably, the NBA wants to push the narrative that this is a “fan and player” league, but your players are your employees first and foremost, and their safety needs to be the top priority. There can be no tolerance for this kind of thing in the NBA, and the league needed to show that.

Now, credit where credit is due, the Jazz have banned both this fan, as well as another one who’s known to be a problem for life from their arena. However, these fans could, in theory, travel to follow Westbrook and the Thunder if they wanted to, which still kind of puts his safety at risk. Or at the very least, it could lead to a much worse incident down the road.

Onto a situation where Silver should’ve done the exact opposite of what he should’ve done with the Jazz fan, the James Dolan problem. Not only has Dolan abused his power in the past to essentially bully Charles Oakley, but he also removed a fan from a music festival in 2016 when the fan suggested that Dolan should sell the Knicks.

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Now, three years later, Dolan is banning a fan from MSG for life for telling him to, what else, sell the team. There’s really no excuse here, Dolan is being a child. Adam Silver needs to step in and reinstate this fans access, as well as fining Dolan or giving him some other form of warning, because this is just unacceptable. The fact that he won’t, speaks volumes to where Silver’s loyalties currently lie.