Local civil rights leaders cheer NBA’s actions against Donald Sterling

Kansas City civil rights leaders praised the NBA on Tuesday for banning owner Donald Sterling for life.

“A ban for life, I think, is sufficient,” said the Rev. Nelson “Fuzzy” Thompson, longtime president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference’s Greater Kansas City chapter. “But I don’t know what kind of a financial penalty you give him when he’s got so much money. When you’re worth $2 billion, what’s $2.5 million?”

Anita Russell, president of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People’s Kansas City branch, said she also was pleased with the decision — and its speed.

“I think the commissioner handled it well, and I was happy with how quickly the decision was made,” she said.

Russell said she was discouraged when she first learned of Sterling’s remarks.

“To think that in this day and age, we’re still having to fight this fight,” she said.

Gwen Grant, president and CEO of the Urban League of Greater Kansas City, said the punishment was appropriate.

“When you’re someone who holds a position of power, with that should come a higher level of accountability,” she said. “They held him accountable for his behavior, and in a way that was befitting for the comments that he made.”