Let me start with a disclaimer. This post is NOT a justification or defense of Donald Sterling. I think Donald Sterling is a cheating, bigoted idiot.
That being said there are a couple of things that bother me about what has happened. First, a private conversation was recorded and released without his permission or knowledge. It is becoming more common these days that people are recording everything that is said and done without the knowledge or permission of the other person. Should we now assume that we can no longer express our thoughts out loud even within the privacy of our own four walls? Everyone we talk to these days has their phones out during conversations. Are they recording what you are saying? Think about your interactions this week. Did you whisper to a co-worker or a friend or a relative something critical of another person or make a joke at someone else’s expense? Are you sure you weren’t being recorded? If you are not sure, it could come back to haunt you. In this 1984 Big Brother society, everything is up for public fodder.
Sterling has had a reputation for decades for making inappropriate comments and remarks concerning race. The woman involved in this knew how he felt about the subject of race and yet she freely accepted the Rolls Royce, 2 Bentley s, money, jewelry, tickets, court side seats, etc. from him. She also knew he was married. His thoughts and opinions were all OK and acceptable until the relationship went south. She doesn’t seem to feel any remorse for what she did. I guess she is determined to get money one way or another. Regardless of his views and opinions, he is still entitled to have some amount of privacy.
The second issue is with the players. Sterling has been sued several times for discrimination including suits from a couple of players. These are public court cases because Sterling doesn’t do battle under the radar. After all of that, there were no players refusing to sign and play for the Clipper organization. The players came to play, took Sterling’s money and have/are living pretty fat and happy. Sterling made his money on the backs of black players. The players happily cashed the checks even though they knew his reputation. Where were the protests before the tape? Why weren’t they calling the media and complaining about Donald Sterling long before this tape was released? Suddenly now everyone wants to protest. Seems they are trying to catch a wagon that has already gone.
Social media has made us a society without boundaries. There is no more privacy. We have given up freedom of speech for the endless 15 minutes of fame. We can’t have an opinion that differs from the majority lest we be cast out into the light. We discourage people from being leaders or standing for what they truly believe. We live under the radar until what’s done in the dark comes to light. People who stood by and silently perpetuated the wrongs are now standing up because no one wanted to be caught on TV or in the paper not being part of the reaction.
If Sterling is right, I’m sure we will find many more have ugly skeletons that will fall out of closets.
So the next time you go to throw a stone, remember your unwanted 15 minutes of fame could be one recording away..