LA Clippers owner Donald Sterling has been banned from the NBA for life, fined, and it looks like he will be forced to sell the team.
Obligatory disclaimer: Sterling's comments were bigoted and proof he is a small, cowardly, and petty man. Maybe he's a racist. He's definitely a bigot. If there is such a thing as "good" bigots and "bad" bigots, at least the good ones make their views known publicly so we all know what we're dealing with. It takes a special degree of a-hole-ishness to hide your views and only be an a-hole when nobody is looking.
Having said all that, it's a sad day in this country when we celebrate such punitive measures against a person because of what they say.
Out him, ridicule him, fine him,boycott his financial interests, don't play for him, let his wife start cheating on him with a young black man, whatever. But when the NBA says you will not think a certain way or we are going to hit you in the wallet and force you to sell your team, we have crossed a line we should all be uncomfortable with.
As an organization, the NBA can do whatever it wants. I don't care. And let me make it clear: they have the right to make whatever rules they want to for anyone involved with their organization. But will they apply this same level of scrutiny and punishment moving forward for everyone in their league? Does Sterling deserve special scrutiny for his thoughts and words because he is an owner? What about GM's, coaches, players?
Here's a story about students at Duke who are trying to eliminate phrases like "man up" because sexism, women can be strong, too, blah, blah, blah. They also include phrases with derogatory terms about gays, the female anatomy and so on.
Fine. But let's say we start equating all these various types of offensive phrases and the viewpoints the students claim they represent. So the next time an NBA players tells a teammate to "man up" because he's playing soft defense is the league going to come down hard on that guy for his sexist comments? Or when one player calls another a p***y? Or any of a number of sexually offensive terms for a gay person? And that's just for what people are saying in public.
Of course it's an extreme example. That's the point. Sterling's comments were small-minded at best and racists at worst. Let's just make sure we're being consistent here moving forward. I expect recording devices in all locker rooms and boardrooms of teams. Then we can really start the fining and banning.
And why is nobody talking about this married guy parading his girlfriend out in public!? And he's been doing this for years. So nobody in this country and media cares about an old married guy openly cheating on his wife with a trophy girlfriend. Ok.