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Sterling punished harshly; where’s freedom of speech?

Published: 6/11/14 @ 12:00


Sterling punished harshly; where’s freedom of speech?

I am saddened by recent events concerning Mr. Donald Sterling. My first reaction was that every United States citizen has been guaranteed freedom of speech by our Constitution. And there is also a matter of privacy in one’s own home. Both of these rights have been violated in this situation.

If he isn’t allowed this freedom, then none of us should be allowed to express our opinions about others in the privacy of our own homes. Should there be “bugs” in every home to be sure no one, absolutely no one, speaks ill of another race/person?

The Bible says “let he who is without sin cast the first stone.” We all point our fingers and judge, but how many fingers are pointing back at us? I would say that most every person in this world has “labeled” others with what could be considered a derogatory and racist word.

Please do not take this to mean I approve of Mr. Sterling’s comments. He made a fool of himself in many ways and one of them was by taking on a young girlfriend who obviously used him for whatever he was willing to buy for her. But if she was taking advantage of a good situation, is she any different from the NAACP’s taking Mr. Sterling’s generous donations, knowing he was prejudiced against blacks? I thank God and those who wrote the Constitution and those who fought for our country. Because of them, I can still write this letter, my opinion which I always thought was protected by my right to freedom of speech. I’m thinking the day will come when the Constitution won’t be worth do-diddly. We are still hanging onto our right to bear arms. Now freedom of speech in the privacy of one’s home is being attacked.

The punishment of a criminal should not exceed the crime, and I firmly believe that Mr. Sterling’s punishment far exceeds his crime.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if everyone would expend more energy on loving our neighbors than we do on our prejudices? What a happier and less stressful world we would live in.

Gail Taylor, New Springfield


Comments


Posted by polhack (anonymous) on June 11, 2014 at 9:26 a.m.

Amen Ms Taylor. Sterling may be a racist jerk and old fool enough to take up with a gold digging bimbo, but what he says in a private conversation with said bimbo is no ones business but his own. He didn't make his statements public, the bimbo did, no doubt in hopes of more attention. And sure enough, the finger pointing, PC, hand-wringing TV talking heads gave it to her. And how about those principled players who removed their jerseys rather than be identified with Sterling's team? How many of them would have given up their multi-million dollar contracts without a protracted legal battle to backup what was a public statement on their part?


Posted by lajoci (anonymous) on June 11, 2014 at 11 a.m.

Let's get real here! Seriously!

I'm pretty sure the Constitution does NOT guarantee that, no matter how odious an owner's expressed opinions may be, the public will still be compelled to fill those $100 arena seats. The Constitution protects your right to express your political opinion; but it doesn't compel your customers to continue to be your customers regardless of your noxious statements.

Regardless of the Constitution, Sterling displayed shockingly poor business sense by giving voice (in public or private) to comments insulting to a large portion of his customer base.

As a result, the league was forced, out of shear self-preservation, to act decisively.

The league doesn't care about Sterling's opinions on race or anything else; the league cares only about butts in those seats. Sterling's vile comments harmed the NBA's brand, a brand the Constitution can't protect, a brand worth $billions$ -- no way the league will allow some crackpot with a big mouth to jeopardize that.


Posted by steivo (anonymous) on June 11, 2014 at 11:20 a.m.

I commend the NBA for their action to force Sterling out, but they seem to have no problems with crackpots with big mouths like these threatening their brand:

"(The server, Rasean Tate) claims that he was setting up a buffet in the visiting Rockets locker room before a game on Feb. 22, 2013, when he was all but chased from the area because he was gay.

“When the plaintiff’s back was turned to defendant Rockets players, he began to hear laughter and taunting voices saying ‘get this f—– out of here!’ ” according to the suit, and ” ‘He’s trying to catch a sneaky-peeky!’…

“These series of comments were repeated a number of times by defendant Rockets players and staff,” according to the suit. “Plaintiff could hear defendant Rockets players overlapping voices and laughter.”


Posted by jrolley325 (anonymous) on June 11, 2014 at 1:09 p.m.

When oh when will donald sterling apologists get through their heads that it wasnt the government who punished him? Beat the "freedom of speech" drum all you want, but he wasnt thrown in jail, the government didnt fine him, and the government didnt forcibly take his team away. Owning a sports franchise isnt a constitutional right.


Posted by lajoci (anonymous) on June 11, 2014 at 1:28 p.m.

Umm, I'm pretty sure players (however big-mouthed) are more important to the NBA than billionaire owners -- billionaire owners are, to coin a phrase, a dime a dozen.

Besides, the words "the server claims" doesn't exactly equate to "caught on tape," does it, sport?


Posted by steivo (anonymous) on June 11, 2014 at 2:02 p.m.

So, owners who make offensive remarks should be barred from the NBA for life, but players can make any offensive remark they want and it is OK?


Posted by lajoci (anonymous) on June 11, 2014 at 2:45 p.m.

Unlike in the case of Sterling, there is nothing "caught on tape" that they made an offensive remark -- only someone's allegation. "The server claims."

And the league, if they so choose, could bar them for life under the right circumstances (within the rules of the collective bargaining agreement, of course), just as they did in the case of Sterling. Whatever is good for bidness -- you get that, don't you?

Because, yes, the league's responsibility is to protect the brand. They cannot have anyone -- owner, player, popcorn concessionist, announcer -- shooting off their mouth offending the customer base! If those Rockets had been recorded bashing gays, and if they could be identified, it would have been a different story.

Right now, all you got is "the server claims."

What part of "caught on tape" vs. "the server claims" don't you get?

Seriously, eivo -- you can change your screen name, but that does nothing to reduce the thickness of the cranial wall, does it?


Posted by walter_sobchak (anonymous) on June 11, 2014 at 4:02 p.m.

jrolley
You are 100% correct. The Constitutional guarantee is that the government show make no law abridging the freedom of speech. For the Founders, this, most especially meant political speech. NOBODY ever denied Mr. Sterling to say whatever he wanted. Quite to the contrary, he most certainly said what he wanted but not what is politically correct.

It is said that your right to throw a punch at me stops at the tip of my nose. In other words, when your actions start to infringe on my rights, we have a problem. Mr. Sterling's idiotic comments, while not terribly offensive to some, were very offensive to every other owner of the NBA. Since sponsors were lined up to boycott his team singularly, there was the real possibility of boycotts for the league. This is where it affects other owners and their rights to make a living. I'm sure there are league rules regarding owners and improper conduct and speech. Ask Eddie DeBartolo Jr. if their are conduct clauses in professional sports leagues. Or, what about Oilers/Titans owner Bud Adams and "gestures". No, I don't feel sorry for this billionaire for one instance and he is rightfully paying for his transgressions.


Posted by meagain (anonymous) on June 11, 2014 at 6:14 p.m.

It’s always about money. On a side note it speaks volumes about our social and moral fiber that everyone is appalled at what he said but not appalled at the fact that he spoke the words to his mistress/lover. That should be equally as offensive to us, but it isn’t. I know men have taken mistresses since the beginning of time. It doesn’t make it right.