The sports team owner who best understands bad publicity isn’t Donald Sterling

By Laurie Bennett

May 1, 2014 at 7:46am

No NBA owner wants bad press.

But the one to run from it fastest obviously isn’t Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling. It’s Micky Arison, owner of the Miami Heat and chairman of Carnival Corporation.

Few industries have suffered worse publicity in recent years than cruise ships.

Arison, who inherited Carnival from his father, stepped down as CEO last year after the humiliating voyage of the Carnival Triumph. Who can forget the photos of the sick and exhausted passengers finally reaching land after five days stranded at sea?

(Incredibly, the company’s next annual report failed to mention the Triumph by name. Instead, it referenced “voyage disruptions that drew public attention to the safety and reliability of our products and services.”)

Three years earlier, 32 people died when the Carnival-owned Costa Concordia ran aground in Italy.

In both instances, Arison did his best to stay out of the limelight.

This time, he rushed to distance himself from the disgraced Sterling.

“Great job Adam,” Arison tweeted after NBA Commissioner Adam Silver announced that Sterling was banned for life because of racist comments. “The @NBA is in good hands. You have my full support.”

Arison is a member of the league’s finance advisory committee, which has scheduled a conference call today to discuss the Silver’s recommendation that Sterling be forced to sell the Clippers.

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