Sterling

What do you think of the Sterling incident? Any problems with the way it was handled and how it is being viewed?
Lois

There’s an inverse correlation between wealth and empathy. Since he’s worth 1.3 billion, he can be a complete ass and not be punished. So he’s fined 2.5 million, and can’t be involved with the team he owns (except to collect profits from it). Big deal. I know it would hurt the players, but I think they should purposely lose every game to drive the value of his investment down as much as possible.
(Note: Since I don’t bother with basketball, I wouldn’t know anything about it if every damned news outlet didn’t constantly talk about it.)
Occam

The only problem I have is Sterling’s lifetime ban from basketball came 10 years too late. The man has a history of racist behavior. Apparently, though, he has no problem with his 20-something girlfriend sleeping with black men, he just doesn’t want her being seen in public with black men. The world will be a bit better place when he dies.

I’ve tried not to pay attention to any of the stuff, but it seems that there was some mention of his wife. So is he married or divorced, does he have a girlfriend or is that a polite word for mistress?
Occam

He is 80 years old and married. His girlfriend appears to be in her 20s.

The only problem I have is Sterling's lifetime ban from basketball came 10 years too late. The man has a history of racist behavior. Apparently, though, he has no problem with his 20-something girlfriend sleeping with black men, he just doesn't want her being seen in public with black men. The world will be a bit better place when he dies.
I'm afraid you've missed my point. It isn't that I don't think he's a racist. He obviously is. My question is Does he have a right to be a racist and express it privately? He has engaged in outright racist behavior publicly and nobody has called him on it before. Why is that? Why have people been willing to look the other way all this time? Why did his private conversation suddenly bring out the public sanctimony when everyone was willing to overlook his racist behavior before? Did it have to do with the fact that his money and power was useful to the players, executives and fans when they could conveniently sweep it under the rug? Do I smell hypocrisy! He's a billionaire and has a young mistress. Should that be against the law? Should what he says to her in a private telephone conversation deserve to be aired in public and used against him as it has been? Do people, billionaires as well as you and me, have a right to privacy or not? Should all of our private conversations be a matter of public scrutiny? Think about your own private conversations. Would you want them to appear on the front page of every newspaper in the country? We're talking about laws here that should apply to everyone equally, billionaires as well as ordinary people. Or should we have different laws for different levels of financial worth? Lois

You raise some valid points, Lois. I too smell hypocrisy. The NBA commissioner had to act now because Sterling’s words were costing the league money. He got a free pass on his views until the money started drying up.
And I agree he has the right to express his views privately, no matter how abhorrent the views. But this is not about laws. The NBA is a private corporation and has the right to censure and exclude owners who negatively impact its bottom line.
As for my private conversations I have learned over the years to not say things I would not want made public. Also, there are different legal standards for public figures, and Sterling is a public figure.

You raise some valid points, Lois. I too smell hypocrisy. The NBA commissioner had to act now because Sterling's words were costing the league money. He got a free pass on his views until the money started drying up. And I agree he has the right to express his views privately, no matter how abhorrent the views. But this is not about laws. The NBA is a private corporation and has the right to censure and exclude owners who negatively impact its bottom line. As for my private conversations I have learned over the years to not say things I would not want made public. Also, there are different legal standards for public figures, and Sterling is a public figure.
Are we talking about laws in the court of public opinion or actual laws? He hasn't been charged with anything legally has he? He is being punished in the only way he can be. His free speech is protected so only other peoples free speech can judge him and punish him, and that is what's occurring in my mind. I think this is all very telling about how our culture has changed because of the civil rights movement. We did not really learn to value all people equally and get over our racism, we learned not to talk about it. Racism has gone kinda underground and people who have really racist ideas in their heads did not really come around to a less bigoted way a seeing other people. I can't help but point out that there are plenty people out there who would be defending him if this were 1970, or even 1990. They are still out there upset that he is being punished for speaking his mind, but his case is just on the other side of the line, where to defend him is to sacrifice yourself. If his statements weren't so unequivocally racist, Fox would be defending him. This all makes me think about the issue with the Mozilla CEO brouhaha. I am not saying that homophobia and racism are on par, they are not the same. But, this is how bigotry eventually goes from ok to not so ok, to not at all ok. The lesson is that racism and bigotry don't go away, they just become more and more embarrassing until they go into hiding. Maybe we actually just have to wait until all the people who learned racism etc. have all died off. Sadly some kids are still being indoctrinated with racism, so this will actually take some considerable time to finally come about. Will we ever really reach the ideals written into our constitution? What new form of prejudice will we learn about next? I myself, am of a background that gives me challenges to understand how I have been raised to see people of other races etc, and women. I have a lot more to learn about transgender people. I don't like knowing that I have certain predispositions about these groups of people, but I don't choose to kid myself that I harbor no bigotry, sexism, or racism. I find little weeds in that garden all the time and pull em up as fast as I see them. Some stay gone, but some grow back. I can really only hope that because I have no children, I am not passing any of it along to younger generations.

It appears that his very young mistress was a beautiful African-American who got pissed (probably had to take all sorts of humiliation and recognized that he was going to find someone new to degrade), so taped him and released it. While everyone around him knew of his vicious racist attitudes, they probably didn’t have this kind of clear evidence until now.
Occam

Sterling was set to receive an award from the NAACP…they are still willing to work with him, it appears. :lol:
http://abcnews.go.com/US/naacp-forgive-clippers-donald-sterling-yanking-award/story?id=23501911
The entire incident (including public response) is business as usual.

I can’t believe how naive people are; including everyone in this thread except for Mike. It has nothing to do with racism. Of course it’s about money and we’ll find out sooner or later whose idea it was to record the conversation. How about Magic Johnson who now knows that Lakers are not for sale?

Too much for me to respond to anyone directly, so here’s my thoughts. Prosecuting any kind of harassment case in the workplace always takes years. It is expensive for the employer if they don’t have their ducks in a row, have plenty of documentation and evidence of consistent behavior that doesn’t change despite warnings. You have to read more than one article on this to find it, but Sterling has a history and it is safe to assume he has had a few meetings. Of course his having money and influence and lawyers makes it harder.
The NBA is an entertainment company. They don’t exist without good public relations. They have every right to enforce rules like this. You can be cynical and call that “all about the money" but that’s backwards. If they were putting on chicken fights and fired someone because they wanted to be more humane to the chickens, that statement would make sense. This is the opposite of that.
This is for Handydan]

You raise some valid points, Lois. I too smell hypocrisy. The NBA commissioner had to act now because Sterling's words were costing the league money. He got a free pass on his views until the money started drying up. And I agree he has the right to express his views privately, no matter how abhorrent the views. But this is not about laws. The NBA is a private corporation and has the right to censure and exclude owners who negatively impact its bottom line. As for my private conversations I have learned over the years to not say things I would not want made public. Also, there are different legal standards for public figures, and Sterling is a public figure.
As Voltaire is credited with saying, "I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it" Even public figures are allowed to say things privately--and even publicly if they wish to. If they weren't no politician could express his opinion. The NBA may be a private corporation but since when do private corporations have the right to fine someome for saying something they don't like? Since when do private corporations have the right to interfere with a person's civil rights? If you were employed by a private corporation that didn't like your opinions should the corporation be allowed to fine you and take away your privately owned business? Do you want to live in a country where that is permitted? I wonder wherethe ACLU is in this. Lois
It appears that his very young mistress was a beautiful African-American who got pissed (probably had to take all sorts of humiliation and recognized that he was going to find someone new to degrade), so taped him and released it. While everyone around him knew of his vicious racist attitudes, they probably didn't have this kind of clear evidence until now. Occam
But it isn't "evidence" that coud ever be used in a court of law. His privately held opinions are not against the law, no matter how abhorrent they are to some people. You are an atheist. Suppose you could be fined and publicly excoriated for stating such publicly or privately? There are plenty of people in this country who would say that is a vicious attitude to hold and to express. Having vicious racist attitudes is not against any law and it doesn't matter if someone publicly expresses them. It is evidence of nothing legally. The only time a law is broken is when it can be demonstrated that a person has put his racist opinions into practice in a way that is against a particular law. Do you really want to go back to a time when a person could be convicted for having unpopular opinions? Lois

This is not just “unpopular opinions". Maybe you need to go through the Museum of Tolerance too Lois. I’m not sure where to point you on the website, but at the Museum, you go through the history of Germany between the World Wars and see how Jews were portrayed in the media and how that escalated into the holocaust. You can dismiss this as an extreme example, or you can analyze it as a real lesson of history, your choice.
Sterling had committed actual crimes. He was sued for housing discrimination. He once said, “Personally I would like to have a White southern coach coaching poor Black players." How much more of admission of discriminatory practices do you want? Have you noticed those EEOC statements at the bottom of job ads, they actually mean something.

Evidence does not only have meaning if it is actionable in a court of law. We still live in a time were you can be punished for your opinions. No one anywhere has said he does not have the right to have his opinions. He is not being charged in a court of law. He signed a contract with the NBA and agreed to abide by its rules and pay fines etc. accordingly. He will likely sue the NBA and that will determine if the NBA has acted outside the provisions of the contract they have with The Clippers owners. His partners in business who will be financially damaged by his behavior have a legal right to compensation for that financial damage. The right to free speech protects the right to say or think whatever you want, but it does not absolve you or protect you from the ramifications of your free speech in the court of public regard.
Any public figure of any kind has always and will always have their public image damaged by the exposure of their opinions and attitudes if those opinions and attitudes are considered repulsive by the culture he or she lives and thrives in. They make their living by public approval and are subject to how fickle that approval actually is. That’s the cost of doing business and everyone knows it going in.
I am curious how those who want to defend his free speech might describe the way or ways the law should protect him from the ramifications of the ruin of his public image that he, himself damaged.

I'm afraid you've missed my point. It isn't that I don't think he's a racist. He obviously is. My question is Does he have a right to be a racist and express it privately? Lois
Exactly, that is a lot of what makes this so hilarious. Are we supposed to believe that plenty of people he knew were not aware of his attitudes? Possibly even NBA officials. It is just that is has become TOO PUBLIC. What has he done that is actually illegal? It would not surprise me if he could not actually sue the NBA over the banning and win. Of course there would be nothing he could do about all of the Clipper sponsors dropping out. psik

I know you’re not asking me, but I answered the “what has he done” question. Psi and Handy are avoiding that answer. The legal part of this is that an employer, in this case an organization, has a right to hire and fire, or in this case, enter into a contract. And they have a right to set boundaries in that contract. They have the right to require certain kinds of behavior. At my office, it is called the “respectful workplace” policy. I’m not a lawyer, so I can’t explain the details of what behavior can be contractually obligated, but really, do want to live in a world where someone can say they prefer hiring white employees?
That is not private speech when you are in a position to hire. That is not a thought, it is an expression of a potential action. That alone, or the recent audio alone would not constitute a breach of contract, but there is a litany of incidents, which is exactly how you get yourself fired. There is enough evidence to make a case that he was acting on those thoughts. And I really don’t care what deals all the rich lawyers work out, I’ve heard enough to pass judgment on the guy.

I know you're not asking me, but I answered the "what has he done" question. Psi and Handy are avoiding that answer. The legal part of this is that an employer, in this case an organization, has a right to hire and fire, or in this case, enter into a contract. And they have a right to set boundaries in that contract. They have the right to require certain kinds of behavior. At my office, it is called the "respectful workplace" policy. I'm not a lawyer, so I can't explain the details of what behavior can be contractually obligated, but really, do want to live in a world where someone can say they prefer hiring white employees? That is not private speech when you are in a position to hire. That is not a thought, it is an expression of a potential action. That alone, or the recent audio alone would not constitute a breach of contract, but there is a litany of incidents, which is exactly how you get yourself fired. There is enough evidence to make a case that he was acting on those thoughts. And I really don't care what deals all the rich lawyers work out, I've heard enough to pass judgment on the guy.
In other words, the NBA had the right to "fire" him, or to put it another way, to end his membership. I don't think they have theright to fine him or interfere with his private business. It's your right to pass personal judgement on Sterling. It is no one's right but a government's to impose a penalty on him. And, according to US law, it requires due process, which is not being followed in this fiasco. People may be surprised to know that it is not against the law to do any of the following Be a racist Express racist opinions privately or publicly Commit adultery Amass large amounts of money Buy and run a sports team or any business as one sees fit as long as it follows democratically passed laws Be a gold digger Be taken in by a gold digger Be "creepy" What civil, democratically-passed law has Sterling broken? The players on his team had the right to refuse to play and to refuse Sterling's money. They didn't do that. Their sanctimony and indignation apparently didn't reach that level. Funny how that works. Lois

Lois, here is a legal definition of Freedom of Speech:
Freedom of Speech
The right, guaranteed by the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, to express beliefs and ideas without unwarranted government restriction.
Can you please give an actual example of Sterling’s right, as defined, being violated?