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Friday, June 21
The Indiana Daily Student

sports

There's always a "Silver" lining

We’re rounding the corner on the MLB postseason, the time when baseball surges to life.

We’re just breaking into the NFL regular season, one of the most exciting times in the sport because anything can happen.

But today, I don’t want to start by talking about the MLB or the NFL.

Today, I want to start by talking about the NBA.

Yes, the NBA.

The NBA Board of Governors made the best decision for professional basketball when, in 2012, it unanimously elected Adam Silver to succeed David Stern as NBA commissioner.

In April, that board saw its due diligence come to fruition when Silver — just two months into his term as commissioner — laid down a life-long ban on Donald Sterling for racist remarks made by the Los Angeles Clippers owner in a conversation recorded by his ?girlfriend.

The Sterling sentencing earned Silver immediate respect throughout the country, establishing a rapport with NBA fans and critics alike.

Yet, when I think about Silver’s short but glorified stint as the NBA commissioner thus far, what comes to mind is not how he handled Sterling.

Instead, I visualize University of Baylor center Isaiah Austin hoisting up his jersey on the night of the NBA draft.

Despite being diagnosed with Marfan Syndrome, a genetic disorder that affects the body’s connective tissue, Austin — by Silver’s design — was drafted into the NBA as an honorary member days before the 2014 NBA Draft.

In short, it was a silver lining to the 2014 NBA ?season.

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell faces a similar situation with domestic violence as Silver did with Sterling.

Yet Monday, when Goodell was confronted with the incriminating footage of Ray Rice, he acted with cowardice and finger-pointing, rather than as Silver did, with responsibility to a higher moral calling.

Now, more than a week later, it’s still all the country can talk about.

The hashtags “#FireGoodell” and “#GoodellMustGo” continue to dominate Twitter trends.

And each time they seem to be dying out, another case of domestic violence is unearthed (see Greg Hardy, Adrian Peterson).

It’s ugly. It’s hard to watch.

But what disheartens me even more is seeing fans turn their back on the game because of the blunders of one, classless executive.

So let’s get one thing straight: the NFL is not ?corrupt.

The issues that exist in the NFL are simply paradigms of real-world issues that exist across our country today.

In the shadow of the Rice tape, the Cincinnati Bengals were quietly addressing another issue in today’s ?society: pediatric cancer.

Devon Still, whose daughter was diagnosed with neuroblastoma in June, was kept on the Bengals practice squad so he could continue to pay for his daughter’s treatments.

Through the sales of the defensive tackle’s jersey, the franchise raised hundreds of thousands in proceeds to support children in their battles with cancer.

Saints Coach Sean Peyton responded by purchasing 100 replicas of Still’s ?jersey.

As IU football fans, we know how easy it is to get deflated when the team loses in the final nine seconds to Bowling Green.

And we know, as students who attend a diverse university that supports equality, that it’s easy to be disgruntled with the NBA when racist remarks are made by its members.

But there is a silver ?lining.

With IU football, it’s Tevin Coleman emerging as a Heisman candidate.

With the NBA, it’s witnessing the gracious tears of Austin.

And with the NFL, it’s movements such as the one for Devon and Leah Still that reveal what we all need to realize: that for every disappointment, dispute and dissension in sports, there is a positive antithesis that exists elsewhere in the sporting world.

There is no doubt in my mind the NFL needs to find its Adam Silver — someone who is equipped to handle both the administrative and public responsibilities that come with being ?commissioner.

But until that time comes, it wouldn’t hurt for us to find the silver lining.

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