I will say at the offset that I don't have a problem with what the NBA owners did. Not because I think private speech should be punished or that racist speech is worse than other type of "hate" speech, but because I believe in the rule of law. Part of that rule of law is contract law. The NBA franchise agreement gives the owners the right to fine and suspend others with a simple majority vote. When you sign that, you agree to the terms and conditions. Mr. Sterling doesn't have a legal leg to stand on to stop the suspension or the fine.
But there is a great number of people who are being left out of this conversation. We can start with former commissioner David Stern. It isn't like Mr. Sterling's comments should come as any surprise. He was fined one of the largest fines in the history of the country for discriminating against minorities in housing. His racists views were well-known long before that phone call became public. David Stern did nothing about it. Neither did any of the other owners, well at least as far as we know. There may have been talk behind closed doors, but publicly no one did anything.
We then can move onto the Los Angeles Chapter of the NAACP. To me they come out looking far worse in this than Sterling ever will. It shouldn't be overly surprising that a 80-year-old white man has racist tendencies. It was a perfectly acceptable way to be and to think when he was growing up. Yes, he should have "evolved" by now, but he is far from the only one from that generation that has not. What I can't possibly fathom is the fact that organization was about to give him a "Lifetime Achievement" award knowing full well he has history of discriminating against minorities. Apparently to the NAACP it matters none if you actually are racist if you write some big ol checks along the way. Did the NAACP not know about his housing discrimination issues? Or did they just want the money more? Sterling is just a racist. The NAACP Los Angeles chapter are a bunch of money-grubbing opportunists that will allow the people they are said to be protecting to be violated against as long as they get theirs. They will close their eyes to the very serious offense of housing discrimination as long as they are getting paid to. Which just further proves that the organization has long since outlived their usefulness and should disband. How can they possibly be taken seriously after this? Not that I took them seriously about this beforehand, but I hope that some people will open their eyes. Especially when you consider they are still saying today, they are "willing to work with him" as long as he finances some things. Another words, write them another check.
Now we can move onto the Congressional Black Caucus. They seriously want the government to get involved with the NBA and how they set up their franchising? Really? They pounced on this to keep themselves in the news and to prove to the few people in the country who think that they actually accomplish anything are doing something. C'mon the very last thing any professional sports franchise needs is the government getting involved. They are actually profitable. That will turn around quickly if the feds get their grubby mitts involved.
We then have dear ol' Rev. Al who couldn't wait to get his five minutes in front of the camera. He is now calling for more diversity in the game of basketball. I suppose close to three-quarters of the players being black isn't good enough. The NBA has more minority coaches and front office personnel than any other major sports in the country. They have done the job of letting the free market decide who does and who does not have ownership as well as management positions all their own. They don't need any interference from others.
I now that many people are upset that Sterling is being punished for a private conversation. I agree that shouldn't happen. The problem is that we just can't ignore the conversation now that it is out there. That conversation shined a light on his other transgressions that were wildly well-known within basketball circles that no one bothered to do anything about. Yes there is a great deal of faux outrage involved. But the NBA is far better off without this man in their ranks. They real shame of the whole thing is that they waited so long to do it.
But I have to say the most ironic part of the entire story is this:
Sterling was investigated, tried and convicted for housing violations by none other than that "racist" George W. Bush administration. His AG office tried and fined him. The NAACP of Los Angeles was going to give him a lifetime achievement award. You really can't make this stuff up folks.