A fool and his money are parted
Published: Thursday, May 22nd, 2014
All the hubbub about National Basketball Association team owner Donald Sterling seems to have died down with his LA Clippers ownership fate ultimately left up to the courts. By now everyone is familiar with the Sterling story. He was secretly recorded by his “gal pal” V. Stiviano, whom he says “baited” him into making racist statements.
If you listen to their conversation, you can almost sense that Stiviano is leading the 80-year-old Sterling into making some pretty outrageous statements. Sterling was upset that she had posted a photo of her and former NBA star Magic Johnson on her Instagram account. He told her not to take photos with black people or take black people to Clippers games. That was dumb.
You can only guess that Sterling was jealous of his 31-year-old half black/Mexican girlfriend hanging out with black athletes like Johnson. When the recorded rantings of Sterling hit the TMZ website, there was an uproar of condemnations that headed his way. This was culminated by the NBA’s new commissioner, Adam Silver, banning Sterling from basketball for life and fining him the maximum $2.5 million for his remarks. He was also ordered to sell the Clippers team he has owned since 1981 when they were the San Diego Clippers.
Nobody doubts that Sterling’s comments about blacks were inappropriate, but they should have never seen the light of day. Many of us say things in private that we would never say publicly, and this seems to be what happened to Sterling because of actions taken by his young girlfriend.
This doesn’t mean anyone should condone the racist comments made by Sterling, but does pose an ethical question. What protection does a person have from someone secretly recording a private conversation and going public with it with obvious intent to defame the other person? In this sense, it certainly looks like Sterling was set up and will likely pay a high price. He has vowed to take his right of team ownership all the way to the Supreme Court. He may have a point there.
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