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Smile, You're on Candid Microphone
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The Spectator
founded 2004 by ron cruger
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 by Laramie Boyd
ecrboyd@aol.com
2014 Spectator Ron - The Spectator All Rights Reserved
C
        Talk about guilty until proven innocent, even Sadaam Hussein had a trial. But I suppose that's a moot point now that Donald Sterling, as reported by all the news channels, admitted, not for the public at large to hear or in a court of law, but to NBA Commissioner Silver, that it was his voice on the tape expressing his views on his girlfriend bringing African Americans with her to watch his L.A Clippers basketball team and her advertising her famous Black athletes as friends and having pictures taken with many of them. Mr. Sterling was judged by the Commissioner to have made racist statements and soundly punished by National Basketball League. We'll see how that plays out in the coming days and weeks, if not months, depending on whether or not Mr. Sterling wants to challenge that decision sometime. And the latest news today seems to indicate there may be a long drawn out legal skirmish forthcoming, with both sides ready for the volley. It could be fascinating, at the least.
        Saying I'm sorry doesn't really excuse reprehensible behavior, for sure. I believe it's just what some people say to get others to forget such behavior, and they hope to move on as though nothing was done wrong, or that anything even happened. However, Mr. Sterling gave no apology that we know of immediately after his ban from contact with the NBA, though his family was not included in the ban.
        Some time ago, Rush Limbaugh made this remark about a Black pro football quarterback: "The media wanted a black quarterback to do well and so one Black quarterback got credit he didn't deserve." Howard Cosell at one time remarked, when a Black player was running for a touchdown, "Look at that little monkey run." That was his last Monday Night football broadcast. At times sports reporters have observed that "Black athletes can jump higher and farther than whites." One who said that disappeared from announcing, with no regard as to whether it was true or not. Another remark made by a broadcaster was called out as racist when he insinuated that a Black baseball player might not have the mental capacity to be the manager of a baseball team. Where he is now I don't know. So, racial remarks by some of the sports media are not new news.
        Consider the following list of problem issues in the country today:

- the state of the economy
- illegal immigration policies
- Police searching cellphones without warrants
- Georgia allowing citizens to carry guns into church, bars, and night clubs
- Putin ignoring Obama in Ukraine takeover
- Obamacare not working
- Promises unfulfilled in Washington

and so many other issues. Hearing Donald Sterling express his personal opinions, and then seeing them somehow turn up on a tape player, I can't help but try to fit that scenario into some kind of list or order of importance in today's world. Not to ignore the man's statements, but to try to understand better what direction relationships between different ethnic groups seem to be headed after so much apparent improvement in that area. On a scale of 1 to 9, 1 being a bigger problem than Sterling's opinions, how would you rate these issues compared to Donald Sterling revealing his personal opinion about who he would like to see his girlfriend bring to his arena, and who he would like to see her hanging out and taking pictures with? Couldn't that be a little bit of jealousy?
        According to Brent Schrotenboer, if Donald Sterling decides to fight to keep his ownership of the team, "The case could drag on from weeks to years, casting a shadow over the National Basketball Association." Other USA Today journalists also point out that Sterling's remarks were "not intended for public consumption and NBA laws don't specifically forbid personal views expressed in private." They also ask, "Can league rivals force a competitor to sell his family business against his will - at a price he might not find fair - when he didn't make a specific rules violation," and it may have to be determined that the owner "willfully violated the constitution by - laws or agreements." . In other words, "Hateful opinions contrary to league principles" may not be enough. The NBA Commissioner believes that "though the remarks were initially shared in private, they are now public, and they represent his views." In other words, how evidence is gathered is irrelevant to him A little water-boarding might work.
        At times, though, it seems the public wants to hang 'em first and prove guilt afterwards. Doesn't this sound like "pass the law then see how it works." But we all feel that way at times. No one, it seems, doubts that Mr. Sterling made racial remarks. But, is it illegal to be racially prejudiced? One Al Sharpton spews out White racist comments regularly. Where is the public upheaval? Is it that just a White man's remarks about a Black man are considered racist, and not vice versa? Has Sharpton been fired, even admonished by his media bosses? I would like to hear Donald Sterling's defense, if he has any and will share it, so some of us can feel better about the sentence handed down by Commissioner Silver. Not that it will change any views about his remarks, but just so that the Rule of Law that America pretends to live by will be better served if we hear his side, whatever that takes, and whatever his defense is. Does the Rule of Law only exist in a courtroom? Is professional sports outside the law? Doesn't Sterling get a chance to defend himself in the professional sports world? Yamichi Alcindor, of USA Today says it to the point. "I have covered countless stories in the last decade where race has been made an issue, rightly or wrongly. The more I cover such stories, the more I realize how challenging it is to define "racism" or the "bad guys." Consider these words from the movie "The American President:

        "America isn't easy. America is advanced citizenship. You've gotta want it bad, 'cause it's gonna put up a fight. It's gonna say, you want free speech? Let's see you acknowledge a man whose words make your blood boil, who's standing center stage and advocating at the top of his lungs that which you would spend a lifetime opposing at the top of your lungs. You want to claim this land as the land of the free? Now show me that, defend that, then you can stand up and call this the land of the free." Who could argue?

        Another quote goes something like this: "This is a good country. With good people in it. Good people don't always agree with one another. Maybe the best thing we do in this country is agree to disagree once in a while. But with a certain amount of civility. And that's what seems to be missing these days....a certain amount of civility. We're shouting when we should be talking. We're arguing when we should be conversing. We're angry when we should be reasoning. I think the best thing we all can do is calm down. and maybe think a little bit more and talk a little less."
        Does it matter the political party of that speaker? Do you agree with it only if it's your chosen party's viewpoint? If it isn't, will you make up reasons to disagree with these points just on principle? The Duke, John Wayne is the author. Knowing that, did you go from agreeing to disagreeing? Or vice versa? If so, maybe you're part of the problems in America today. Maybe the NBA made their move not because they felt they could win in a court battle, but rather to let the basketball fan know how they feel about what they believe is racism and that they want none of that in the NBA. What is somehow strange is that Donald Sterling only paid $12 million for the Clipper franchise in 1981, and now it's value is somewhere near $500 million to $600 million, so he has nothing to lose by fighting the fight, not necessarily to win, but because it's a fight he thinks needs to be fought.