This morning I awoke with an uneasy feeling about the Donald Sterling matter.
Not necessarily because I think Sterling got a raw deal here. Sterling is an 80-year old slumlord who just a few years ago settled a housing discrimination lawsuit with the federal government originally filed by the George W. Bush Administration. He promised the city of Los Angeles a homeless shelter in 2006 that has still never been built. He married the mother of his three children in 1955 and then left her for his 29-year old girlfriend. Over the course of four decades he’s overseen perhaps the worst and most embarrassing franchise in all of professional sports.
But as Ben Shapiro points out over at Breitbart News, Sterling is hardly the NBA’s lone villain. Shapiro details NBA figures who have killed people, strangled people, attacked NBA customers in the stands during games, pressured their girlfriends to murder their own children, and pointed a gun at their fellow player—yet none of them received lifetime bans from the NBA. Heck, according to Shapiro it appears Sterling isn’t even the NBA’s lone racist owner.
Now, I know why the NBA did what it did here. It’s a business, and its brand was being tarred and feathered ever since these controversial recordings of Sterling were released by TMZ. Not to mention I believe a private business has a right to decide who it wants to do business with and associate with
Yet herein lies why I am uneasy about all of this.
I have been working and interacting in national media for several years now, including many places considered “mainstream” or “liberal” media. So I have a pretty good idea how these things work, who these people are, and what they think. And that’s exactly what has me concerned.
Sterling was a slumlord and there was no external pressure brought to bear on the NBA to get rid of him. That’s something that truly ruins people’s lives, especially people far less fortunate than either Sterling or any active member of the NBA, yet nobody said anything.
Zip. Zilch. Nada.
In fact, most of us didn’t even know about this until the current controversy surfaced.
But the minute Sterling says some stupid and offensive stuff (to his fellow adulterer no less), suddenly now words of discrimination stings more than actual discrimination does. Maybe it’s just me, and I just can’t possibly understand as a suburban white guy that typically votes Republican, but I kind of think there’s something wrong with that.