Casting the First Stone in a Neighborhood of Glass Houses

GlassHousesby Leigh Bravo   4/30/14
The news has been overwhelming in reporting on Donald Sterling and his lifetime banishment from the National Basketball Association.  I must say, that I did not know Sterling or anything about him. I am not much of a basketball fan and therefore do not follow the NBA. When I heard he was banned from the NBA and asked to sell his team over racist remarks during a personal phone call with his girlfriend, I was appalled and intrigued. So, I decided to dig into his past and take a look at what Donald Sterling is all about! What a pandora’s box I opened.

Evidently, Sterling has been in lots of sticky situations regarding his belief system towards blacks, Koreans and women, old people, and even general managers. He has been charged with civil rights violations, racial discrimination in business, and blatant bigoted remarks. He has been sued for sexual harassment, race and age discrimination, and was described as having a “plantation mentality” by his former Clipper’s General Manager, Elgin Baylor.  Evidently he has quite a reputation within the NBA family and among most who know him or who have had dealings with him. So, the fact that he is a racist or made racist remarks is no big surprise to most.

I don’t know about you, but he sounds like a horrible human being and someone I cannot even imagine wanting to sit next to, work for, associate with, much less date.  However, is it right for him to be banned for life and forced to sell his NBA team, because of some racist remarks made during a private conversation?

I also found other interesting information regarding Sterling and his associations. Did you know that the NAACP  (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People) honored Sterling in 2009 with a Lifetime Achievement Award? Did you know that the NAACP was planning on presenting him with another Lifetime Achievement Award in May of this year? The NAACP and Sterling have had an ongoing relationship for over 15 years.  Mr. Sterling has evidently donated an unknown  amount of money to the NAACP over this 15-20 year period.  As a matter of fact, Al Sharpton, agreed to headline the dinner honoring Sterling in May of this year,  but after Sterling’s comments with his girlfriend went public,

Sharpton said,

“No one should be allowed to own a team if they have in fact engaged in this kind of racial language.”

NAACP Interim President, Lorraine Miller said, 

“If you are silent about this, then you’re accepting this. People have got to say that this is not good and do something about it.” 

So, the $64,000 question is WHY would the NAACP honor Sterling, not once, but twice, with a lifetime achievement award and WHY would Al Sharpton, agree to host the upcoming award ceremony if they, in fact, knew about all of the racial discrimination lawsuits filed against Mr. Sterling? Why, would the NBA now decide to ban Mr. Sterling, over remarks made during a private conversation when they did nothing to punish him when he lost a major lawsuit with the Federal government involving discrimination and was required to pay a record amount in penalties?

In 2009, Mr. Sterling was sued twice by the federal government for refusing to rent apartments to blacks and Latinos as well as families with children under the Fair Housing Act. The government required him to pay $2.725 million in monetary damages in this suit. He was also sued by Elgin Baylor, a LA Laker’s legend and his former general manager of the Los Angeles Clippers, claiming race and age discrimination and unlawful retaliation. Baylor lost this law suit.

On the business side, CarMax, Virgin America, Kia, State Farm, Red Bull, and others are canceling or suspending their endorsements with the Clippers owned by Sterling.

A sports business attorney with Foley & Lardner in New York said,

When sponsors are threatening or taking action to terminate their sponsorship agreements, that’s detrimental to the league.”

The Clippers have sold out 140 home games at the Staples Center arena that they share with the Lakers.  The remarks by Sterling could definitely have a negative effect on the NBA as well as the revenue realized by their popularity with fans. Again, why now? Why are sponsors pulling out now, when Sterling’s history with discrimination was common knowledge?

Is this a question of money? Is it okay to discriminate as long as you keep the donations flowing?  Is it okay for someone to be honored by the very organization that represents the fair treatment of blacks, as long as they continue to receive donations to their cause? Is it okay to discriminate as long as it doesn’t affect the money made by sponsors, merchandise and games?

Is it okay to penalize someone, ban them from a National Sport and make them sell their business because of remarks made during a private conversation? Is it legal for Sterlings girlfriend to tape and release their conversation if he was not aware he was being recorded? Do his remarks fall under “free speech?” Can he be held personally and financially accountable for exercising his right to free speech? Are his rights to free speech negated when they effect the financial well being of others? Who will make decisions deciding whether comments are right, wrong, hurtful, discriminatory or just plain distasteful? Who will be the judge?

If we look back in recent history,  there are multitudes of examples of racist remarks being made with no fanfare what-so-ever.

Jamie Foxx’s comments on Saturday Night Live about his new film. “Django Unchained?”

“I get free. I save my wife and I kill all the white people in the movie. How great is that?”

CNN contributor Roland Martin said,

“The NRA is the new Ku Klux Klan and their arming of the so many black  youths, and loading our community up with drugs and then having an open shooting gallery is the work of people who don’t have our best interests at heart.” 

Democratic Governor, Pat Quinn,

posted tweets condoning an article written in the Chicago Sun Times that compared black Republican supporters of Bruce Rauner (the Republican candidate) to Jews who collaborated with the Nazis against their brethren.

“As a general rule, individuals will sell out the interests of their groups in return for personal benefit. It isn’t just a black thing. Jews collaborated with the Nazis during World War II, helping them to round up their own people in the hopes they’d be the last to go.” 

Al Sharpton,

“We taught philosophy and astrology and mathematics before Socrates and them Greek homos ever got around to it.”

Joe Biden,

“You cannot go into a 7-11 or Dunkin Donuts unless you have a slight Indian Accent. I’m not joking.”

Joe Biden about then Senator Obama,

“I mean you’ve got the first sort of mainstream African American who is articulate and bright and clean and nice-looking guy. I mean, that’s a storybook, man.”

Jesse Jackson,

“Barack…he’s talking down to black people…telling niggers how to behave.”

“That’s all Hymie wants to talk about, is Isreal; every time you go to Hymietown, that’s all they want to talk about.”

Marion Barry,

“We got to do something about these Asians coming in and opening up businesses and dirty shops. They ought to go.”

Then let’s not forget Paula Dean, taken down for allegedly using the “N” word over 30 years ago, but Senator Robert Byrd remained in office through 2010 even though he was a member of the Ku Klux Klan and lead his local chapter in his younger years.

Who will be the judge and jury? Who will determine what is right and wrong? What is the timeline on offenses? Can the government monitor your private conversations and then use them to destroy you because they feel your comments were inappropriate or were not politically correct?  These are all very interesting questions and will, no doubt, be the subject of much controversy over the coming days and months.

But wait, thanks to a new bill introduced, we might already have an answer to these questions.  Senator Ed Markey (D-MA) and Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) have introduced a bill known as the The Hate Crime Reporting Act of 2014.  This  bill would assign, as judge and duty, the Justice Department (Eric Holder) and the US Commission on Human Rights to decide what constitutes unacceptable speech. If this bill is approved, they will be monitoring the use of telecommunications, including the Internet, broadcast television and radio, cable television, public access television, commercial mobile services, and other electronic media, to find those who, in their opinion, promote hate crimes.

Are you comfortable with the government making these decisions?  Does this infringe on your First Amendment Rights? Should they be your judge and jury? Have we entered into a time where political correctness,  sensitive egos, and selective outrage take precedence over individual rights?  Should those guilty of hate speech themselves, be allowed to sit in judgement?

Those who live in glass houses should not throw stones”

“Let him who is with our sin, cast the first stone.”

__________________________________________________
Leigh Bravo blogs at The Trumpet.

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17 Responses to Casting the First Stone in a Neighborhood of Glass Houses

  1. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    Have we entered into a time where political correctness, sensitive egos, and selective outrage take precedence over individual rights?

    That’s a trick question, right?

  2. Timothy Lane says:

    Even many conservatives have defended this atrocity, such as David French at NRO (although he did so primarily on the basis of Sterling’s past misdeeds, which were NOT why he was punished, much less punished so harshly). Inside the Beltway, they’re incapable of realizing that their liberal enemies intend to use this as a precedent for destroying all who challenge liberal orthodoxy. Liberal fascism is becoming more and more obvious the longer the Fascist Messiah goes unchecked by those same Beltway conservatives.

  3. steve lancaster says:

    The NBA has known what this guy is all about for 30 years. He has not made a secret of his bias. What is amazing is the sudden gush of outrage from known racists like Al Sharpton. The attempt to take his property should cause conservatives to cry foul and issue a 3 point penalty. This is the kind of fascist action that you would expect in the USSR. I do not like the guy, but then I also don’t like basketball and since its the LA clippers in the once golden state I could care even less. However, seizure of private property is an egress violation of the 4th amendment. The lawsuits will continue long after Sterling is in the grave and only the lawyers will profit.

    • Timothy Lane says:

      Apparently the legal justification is that in buying an NBA team, he agreed to ground rules that included the ability of 3/4 of the owners to order him to sell the team (which hasn’t happened yet). But that still doesn’t make the stench of the Thought Police any less in the end. It certainly won’t end there; slimy Harry Wormwood Reid (may he be run feet-first through a wood chipper) has now said that the NFL should use the PC precedent to force the Washington Redskins to change their team name.

    • Leigh Bravo says:

      It also makes you wonder why they waited until they had access to a private conversation before blowing a gasket. The man has been in trouble before regarding discrimination. I would like to know how many people would be okay with the public hearing an angry rant they share with a friend or family member? We all say things we don’t mean when we are angry. But. now the left wants to monitor and use against us any private conversation…outrageous!!

      • Timothy Lane says:

        Some people have very sensibly pointed this out, including (much to my surprise) Bill Maher. Liberals don’t mind this because they don’t really believe ordinary people should have any rights, and because they expect to control the Thought Police who decide whether to punish or forgive (as so far they have).

  4. Leigh Bravo says:

    Not knowing much about the NBA, is there a contract that these owners must sign that sets up laws and regulations that they must adhere to that trumps their Constitutional rights? Can they, by Sterling signing this agreement, make him tow the line because they say so?

  5. steve lancaster says:

    A contract that surrenders property rights in this manner would likely be held invalid. You cannot voluntarily surrender natural rights in a contract. The league has some agreement on morals and can place a lot of pressure on Sterling, however, he purchased the team for 30 million about 30 years ago and the market value today is estimated at 700 million. If I were his lawyer I would argue for the maximum price up front and in cash making his accusers pay through the nose just to get rid of him. It would be interesting to see these critics overpay for the Clippers and then end up bankrupting the team.

  6. Rosalys says:

    According to the NBA rule book it would seem that they do have the right to secretly tape conversations, steal property, and do whatever else they are doing to Mr. Sterling.

    The specific clause states,
    The Commissioner shall, wherever there is a rule for which no penalty is specifically fixed for violation thereof, have the authority to fix such penalty as in the Commissioner’s judgment shall be in the best interests of the Association. Where a situation arises which is not covered in the Constitution and By-Laws, the Commissioner shall have the authority to make such decision, including the imposition of a penalty, as in his judgment shall be in the best interests of the Association. The penalty that may be assessed under the preceding two sentences may include, without limitation, a fine, suspension, and/or the forfeiture or assignment of draft choices. No monetary penalty fixed under this provision shall exceed $2,500,000.

    For those who don’t understand this “legalese”, I will interpret for you.
    The Commissioner shall have the authority to, in the absence of any law, to make them up when ever he sees fit and pretty much do any damned thing he wants to.

    Now I know why Obama likes basketball so much!

    • Timothy Lane says:

      Yes, that seems to be excessive power given to anyone in authority, and all with no accountability (which no doubt makes Barry Screwtape Obama’s mouth water as much as the potential for despotic power).

    • steve lancaster says:

      I don’t know how much case law has ever been applied to sports organizations but I have a strong feeling that the owners do not want an entire law firm being subsidized by the lawsuits that could stem from this. Not to mention the players unions and concessionaires.

      In the end Sterling will be pressured to retire and will sell the team for top dollar.

      Is it possible that is his plan to get a premium price for a second rate franchise?

      At 80 something he knows he does not have many years left and if he makes the NBA buy him out at a premium he wins on two fronts. Embarrass the suits in the NBA, outrage his critics with the money he makes and a hearty laugh along the way.

      As a sidebar has anyone heard the media address the fact that Sterling is a big time Democrat contributor and has supported almost every progressive idea to come down the pike? If he were a Republican it would be the lead on every network.

      • Rosalys says:

        If he were a Republican he would have been dealt with (justly) long ago!

      • Timothy Lane says:

        Daily Caller makes a similar point today. A New Jersey Democrat holding a local office (and running for mayor) made blatantly racist comments (including the forbidden “n word”), and most of the reports neglected to mention the politician’s party ID. They contrast that with a fringe Republican in Montana who mentioned “wetback” in discussing immigration policy, and who was quickly identified as a Republican. Of course, this applies to corrupt politicians as well as racists.

        • Rosalys says:

          You can always tell the party affiliation of any ne’er do well politician in the paper or on the news. If they are Republican they tell you – if they neglect to mention it then 99 times out of 100 they are a Democrat.

          • Timothy Lane says:

            I’ve been operating on that assumption for years. I recall an article on a New Jersey mayor some years ago who was charged with some sort of corruption. The article neglected to mention his party. At the end it observed that this was merely one of a large number of such politicians caught (I think by Chris Christie), and gave as an example a local state senator whose party ID was mentioned. You will have no trouble figuring out which party each of them belonged to (as I knew because the mayor had also been mentioned in Human Events, which had a different bias).

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