Let me get the full disclosures out of the way quickly. Donald Sterling is a pig and a moron. So far as I know however, being a pig and a moron are not yet against the law, nor does there exist anywhere in our Constitution, any provision by which a punishment is proscribed for those who think or behave shallowly. There is no inalienable right to be shielded from offense of sensibilities yet codified in our central founding law, no matter how sever the psychological ramifications of such offense may be. The second point I'd like to make is that while it is fun to watch the feeding frenzy of the Political Left eating one of their own, right is still right, and wrong is still wrong. Donald Sterling has long been one of the huge donors for the Democrat Party, and his Progressive bona fides run deep and strong. While you will most certainly notice that the bulk of the Sterling Defenders, few as they might be, tend to be from the Political Right, (I believe there are Six of us,) the defense of Sterling has not been based on political considerations, but philosophical ones.
Yesterday, a fellow inhabitant of the Political Right asked me, "why are you defending the actions of this Democrat Apparatchik, who is only receiving the hatred and vitriol he so richly deserves? Let them eat their own, and take responsibility for the fact that a member of their camp has proven himself to be an unrepentant racist and bigot." As appealing as that thought is, and as much fun as I have with my feeling of schadenfreude, I can not in good conscience ignore the fact that we are contemplating the removal of a fellow citizen's private property for what in essence is a thought crime. Make no mistake about it, Sterling was charged, tried sort of, and convicted of having a thought that ran contrary to the prevailing politically correct opinion, and not one thing more in this instance. (I'll return to that qualifying statement later on.) The case was adjudicated by the NBA Commissioner, and his punishment for the offender was a substantial loss of property, $2.5 Million and his ownership of the Franchise that he's owned longer than any other owner in his association.
Do you know what's way worse than a person being a bigoted racist, who hates minorities or any group based on such shallow grounds? I can think of two things without thinking beyond a second and a half. One is the charge, trial, and conviction of thought crime. That scares the living hell out of me, far more than goose stepping morons marching through the streets chanting about a final solution. I would just like to point out that those goose stepping morons from Pre WWII Germany by the way, also made thought crime a part of their repertoire, and used that particular tool as one of their main means to inflict their will upon others. The other thing that's way worse is the invasion of privacy suffered by Sterling in order to have his private thoughts broadcast nationally in the first place. So long as Sterling was behaving himself publicly, what business is it of anyone, even the NBA and the sports reporting world, what ugly thoughts exist within the darkened corridors of his sick mind?
Is Sterling a moron? You be the judge. He was an 81 year old married man, with a string of paid companions who's ages never went beyond the 20's. Beyond that, he was shocked to learn that their loyalty to him never extended beyond his largess. He was sued repeatedly by these former employees upon every instance in which he'd terminated their service to him. His previous and often times illegal forays into racist behavior had become the stuff of legendary court room proceedings and front page news. His status as a pig and a racist were well known to the NBA, who previously had used other means to convince Sterling to act differently in public. For the previous 10 years or so, you might say that Donald was on his best behavior, and indeed was scheduled to receive some sort of award from the NAACP for a rather sizable check recently written. With all of this, the fact remains that the recording of his reprehensible thoughts was itself obtained illegally, at least under California Law. The professional gold digging girlfriend of Sterling, meaning his hooker, who was being sued by Sterling's wife of 50 years for payment received for services rendered, decided to have a conversation with the old man. She was the one who insisted on leading the conversation back to race, even though he asked her several times to change the subject. She brought it up repeatedly, and then rushed the tapes to publication, all while leading him to believe that their thoughts would remain private. Who or what was behind the set up remains unclear, but if a connection is ever drawn between the prostitute and any one else connected with the NBA or a new proposed ownership group, the ensuing court case should be a lot of fun. (Sterling's net worth can be expressed as a large enough percentage of $1 Trillion to not be considered ridiculous sounding. He is an 81 year old man with nothing else to occupy his time now, except for revenge and other deeds of ill will. He may not take this lying down. My guess is that at some time in the future, there will be some pretty shady private investigators with limited moral restraint, combing their way through other NBA owner's private affairs. Someone may wish to warn the new NBA Commissioner to tidy up his past. No one on the planet is so squeaky clean that they'd survive the scrutiny of having their entire private lives laid bare for all to see and interpret without sufficient context. Playing dirty is not my game, but I'd be willing to bet that Mr. Sterling has become fairly accomplished at it.)
I get it that the new League Commissioner of the NBA wishes to establish his politically correct vision for the league. I also get that this pig of a man is an exact example or what the league wishes to not portray. The fact is however that Sterling was found guilty previously of actual crimes that could have had him removed, and for what ever reason, the NBA chose to ignore that. Since that time, Donald Sterling has been careful to head their warnings and has actually kept his nose clean. They've looked the other way while he brought prostitutes to league functions and Clipper home games, and as long as he kept writing checks to minority groups, nobody said too much, if anything at all, about his truly racist past. If the new Chief of the NBA were in any way smart, he would have just waited for Donald Sterling to actually screw up, as is his want.
There is a third thing that bothers me here, and that is the fact that what is happening is perfectly legal. We've passed enough silly laws here in America to make a morally reprehensible decision one that fits perfectly within the scope of current law. Donald Sterling will lose what would be a considerable sum of money for anyone else, all due to his conviction in the court of public opinion of a thought crime, and not one single law has been broken anywhere. That should scare the hell out of all of us.