NBA commissioner Adam Silver has drawn rave reviews for his banishment of Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling, but would NFL commissioner Roger Goodell—who has been running his league for nearly a decade longer—be willing to hand out the same kind of punishment in a similar scenario?
The NFL's newest $57.4 million man, Richard Sherman, doesn't think so. The outspoken defensive back told TIME Magazine's Sean Gregory that a hypothetical NFL equivalent of Sterling wouldn't be banned for life by the NFL:
No I don’t. Because we have an NFL team called the Redskins. I don’t think the NFL really is as concerned as they show. The NFL is more of a bottom line league. If it doesn’t [affect] their bottom line, they’re not as concerned.
The debate surrounding the nickname of Washington's pro football team has been one of the most prominent in the NFL for quite some time.
Do you think the NFL would have banned an owner for making comments similar to Sterling's?
Many throughout the sports world—and general population—have long advocated for Redskins owner Dan Snyder to change the team name, which is typically regarded as a racist epithet towards the Native American community.
In March, Snyder said that he wouldn't be changing the team name, but he started the Washington Redskins Original Americans Foundation in an attempt to "provide meaningful and measurable resources that provide genuine opportunities for Tribal communities."
However, many, such as Yahoo Sports' Dan Wetzel, saw it as nothing more than a public relations stunt:
Find name debate boring/pointless but Dan Snyder PR is silly. "Washington Redskins Heritage?" It's just football team http://t.co/wrHE6zbFLz— Dan Wetzel (@DanWetzel) March 25, 2014
It's classic (terrible) Beltway thinking. Listening tour. Self-important position paper. Pander to base. Throw money to silence critics.— Dan Wetzel (@DanWetzel) March 25, 2014
Sherman seems to be in the same group, and he is hoping that the Sterling issue, which saw the owner banned for life from the NBA after making racist comments, can serve as a catalyst to bring the Redskins debate back to light:
I would hope it would help. It’d help reinitiate the conversation. And at least there would be another discussion. You know, I think the discussion has stopped. And the public has just accepted it. And I think there should be more conversations. But it is what it is.
The Seattle Seahawks cornerback has certainly never been one to avoid speaking his mind about the most prominent issues, and it's clear that his new contract isn't going to stop that.
We'll have to wait and see whether or not his outspokenness helps spark any kind of change, but if the NFL continues to be a "bottom line league," as he argued, the Washington Redskins debate isn't likely to end anytime soon.
And no one will be banned.