Let me say from the get-go that Donald Sterling, the now banned owner of the Los Angeles professional basketball team, is a jerk. Forget what he said to his girlfriend about not bringing blacks to games. As many have pointed out, he has a long history as a landlord of discriminating against minorities, a fact conveniently overlooked by the National Basketball Association.
You can be a nasty landlord for decades, but the NBA doesn’t care. It’s only when you say something racist in private that the NBA commissioner acts.
The reaction to Sterling’s comments were swift and downright self-righteous. Nothing like condemning a billionaire who’s married but appears in public with his girlfriend, she of black and Mexican ancestry.
One of the reactions that caught my eye was the threat by the players’ union to boycott playoff games. Get this guy now or we’re off the court. No due process. Just do it. This is the same group that would demand due process for any union member accused of something.
It’s also troubling that the indignant reaction to Sterling focused on private speech. Now this is not a First Amendment issue. That involves the government and the NBA is not the government.
But still people were demanding Sterling’s head over something he said in private. The people who wanted something done because of something said have not thought this through. If you can go after Sterling, who’s next?
By the way, did anyone notice that in discussing the ban, the commissioner of the NBA said he hoped that the sponsors who fled the Clippers would return.
Now there’s speech for you.