28 Apr 2014

Grading NBA Commissioner Adam Silver’s Statement on Donald Sterling Racist Comments

LA Clippers owner Donald Sterling didn’t give new NBA Commissioner Adam Silver much time to get settled into his new desk chair this weekend.  Silver found himself thrust into the racial controversy and when he finally addressed the media, this is how it went.

It should be noted that Silver is a lawyer by training, so it makes sense that he knows the importance of getting his words right.  That clearly shows as Silver as a heavy reliance on notes throughout the press conference in which Silver was basically just reading a prepared written statement.  Was his eye contact enough.  Yes and no.  Typically you want to have a minimum of 80/20 eye contact with an audience.  80% on them, 20% on your notes.  I put Silver’s right around 50/50.  As I mentioned earlier though, in this situation there’s a little more leeway on looking down since I’m sure Silver wanted to make sure he read the statement word for word to assure he didn’t open open himself or the league up to any legal scrutiny.  Plus, this situation was very fast moving after the alleged comments broke on TMZ.

In a perfect world, Silver could have spent more time reviewing the statement prior to reading it, which would have allowed him to become more familiar with it, thus not needing to have such a reliance on notes.  I wasn’t there so I don’t know how much time he had before he read it but my guess is it was a “rip-and-read” type situation.

We will give Silver a B+ in this instance and advise, if possible, to read the statement (out loud) a few more times before delivering it next time.

Not bad for his first big “crisis” since taking over though.