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Defending Donald Sterling
April 30, 2014 - Al Stephenson
Yes, you did read the heading correctly. What's more, I am going to be one of those people that will defend the now disgraced owner (for how long?) of the Los Angeles Clippers.
If you have heard the audio tape of Sterling talking to his girl friend, you must be appalled at his comments. So too was I. So if you are wondering how I can possibly defend the man, read on.
I listened to the tape and read print accounts of the same as well as the punishment handed out by new NBA commissioner Adam Silver. In addition, I read some of the comments that people are allowed to make after reading those articles. Yes there were people who defended the man. One such group are those who hold the same racist beliefs that Sterling professed in the tape. If they think the same as he, then you can see why they would defend him. I am not in that camp.
Some thought that since he made the comments in a private conversation that later became public, he should not be held accountable for his own personal thoughts. Therefore those people defended him, though they suggested that they did not agree with his comments. I'm like the commissioner, who said when questioned about that very fact, said the words became public and thus are no longer private. It is almost impossible in today's world of social media, twitter or cell phones (with cameras and recording capabilities), to keep any act private. I would suggest that if you are considering doing or saying anything that is immoral, unethical or illegal, that you reconsider - even if you think you will not get caught.
The last group of people that defend Donald Sterling do so by saying we have the right to freedom of speech in this country. I would include myself in that group. Though freedom of speech is not unlimited in the U.S. it is to a greater extent than most places. The speech that we are protecting is the type that will make people's blood boil. After all, if everyone held the same views we wouldn't need that first amendment protection, now would we?
Even though I would defend his right to his views, the lifetime ban from the NBA was just. The fine seems proper to me also. Whether the NBA will be able to force the sale of the Clippers remains to be seen. I'm guessing Sterling will not give up without a fight.
The view from my seat suggests that Donald Sterling's defenders are correct in that he has the right to voice his prejudiced thoughts. His right to speak his mind also comes with the fact that his words could have consequences.
Perhaps he should be reminded that what he has the right to say, may not be the right thing to say. I think Mr. Sterling got what he had coming.
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