National Basketball Association commissioner Adam Silver handed down the harshest penalty allowed by league bylaws to Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling on Tuesday after lawyers confirmed that it was Sterling who uttered racist comments on recordings leaked last weekend. Silver fined Sterling $2.5 million and banned him for life from participating in NBA activities including attending games and practices. Silver also noted that he “will urge the Board of Governors to exercise its authority to force a sale of the team.”Sterling’s alleged history, not with words, but rather with action, may actually speak more loudly to the issue of structural inequity. But where was the outrage when Sterling paid a record setting settlement of $2.725 million to the Department of Justice for allegations of housing discrimination in 2009? On Saturday’s Melissa Harris-Perry, join us as we delve into the fear of being labeled a racist and why society seems to be primarily concerned with language – and sensational recordings – rather than law and policy. The fight over whether death row inmates should have a right to know the source of the drugs used in their executions took another turn on Tuesday when Oklahoma prisoner Clayton Lockett suffered a fatal heart attack during a botched execution. It took Lockett 43 minutes to die during which witnesses say he writhed, gasped for air, and even spoke. While the director of corrections, Robert Patton, claims that the method with which the drugs were administered caused the malfunction, Lockett’s death has added fuel to the argument that compounding pharmacies could be supplying faulty drugs. Wondering what’s going on in voter suppression this week? Voters in Wisconsin won a big victory when a federal judge struck down a state law requiring each voter to provide state-approved photo identification at the ballots. And down in Texas, a Democratic group called Battleground Texas is hitting the pavement in a quest to get Texas’ Hispanic population registered to vote. Why? Battleground Texas, a group made up of mostly young, non-white, females ran the numbers and found that Texas could turn purple, or even blue if they can get this group to the polls. However, Texas’ tough rules on voter registration could significantly hinder their efforts. More on that on Saturday’s MHP.
Attorney General Eric Holder this week announced the creation of a new initiative aimed at curbing racial bias in police activity. The creation of the National Center for Community Trust and Justice comes on the heels of a report we covered in March, The Essence of Innocence: Consequences of Dehumanizing Black Children.