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My view: The power of sports and lessons learned from the Donald Sterling case

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  • Badgerbadger Murray, UT
    May 23, 2014 9:39 a.m.

    "Dennis Rodman was fined for making hateful remarks against Latter-day Saints"

    But Sterling was banned. Rodman? Nope.

    Sterling was known for saying racist things for years. Why not act years ago. Okay, he got fined, but not banned. Why the ban now? Why take his team now?

    Probably because Magic wants to buy it, and set him up so he could get it.

    Otherwise he would just get fined again, as they have always done, to those of every race, creed, religion, etc.

  • wrz Phoenix, AZ
    May 23, 2014 9:54 a.m.

    In the first place what Sterling uttered was in the privacy of his own home. Is there no such thing as privacy anymore?

    Secondly, it was not a racist comment. Racist involves the idea that one's own race is superior. There was nothing in Sterling's comment indicating that. In fact, Sterling has helped many Blacks throughout his life in athletics programs and has donated millions to the NAACP.

    Third, what happened to the First Amendment's guarantee of freedom of speech? People should be able to say anything they wish without being punished... including comments that some might consider racist.

    And fourthly, what about racist comments by Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson, Lewis Farrakhan, et al, who've all made racist statements about Whites? Why did you not cover their comments in your article?

    And finally, where are your comments about the so-called Affirmative Action in the professional sports world? As was stated by Magic Johnson and others, 80 percent of players in the professional sports world are Blacks. Shouldn't there be equality of White/Black in professional football/basketball industry as is required in all other industries/businesses?

  • caleb in new york Glen Cove, NY
    May 23, 2014 3:21 p.m.

    oh please, like the NBA and its owners are a bunch of moral examples for us? How ridiculous. Sterling is an imbecile and made some racist comments, but he presently employs a coach with black skin and players with black skin and pays them fair market value and trusts them to do their jobs in the organization. Sterling did some bad stuff in the past. But the NBA's reaction to this is just following the political and pop culture worlds' current trends to zoom into PC overboard while giving minimal thought to the inner good. though their lips speak of goodness and love and righteousness, their (the NBA's) hearts are far removed from those things.

  • PeanutGallery Salt Lake City, UT
    May 23, 2014 3:24 p.m.

    The NBA’s reaction was outrageous and WAY over the top. People were offended at Sterling’s comments (and rightly so), but have racist words now become the unpardonable sin?? A $2.5 million fine, and the forced sale of your team??!! Wow. Sterling’s super-extreme punishment, and the fact that so many people appear to support it, are both sad and scary.

  • BigRich Orem, UT
    May 23, 2014 3:40 p.m.

    It's interesting that the Mav's owner is getting hammered for comments he made that are exactly what Pres. Obama said in 2008 when talking about his grandmother. Hate speech is one thing. Personal opinion, no matter how off-base, is still a personal right.

  • USU-Logan Logan, UT
    May 23, 2014 3:47 p.m.

    A very well written piece by Professor Rodney K. Smith!

    and @wrz
    "People should be able to say anything they wish without being punished... including comments that some might consider racist."

    You need to go back school to refresh US government/civics 101. People are able to say anything they wish, without being prosecuted by government, but they have to face other consequences... including some strong comments that against you and other results.

    NBA is a private business organization, even if you condole Donald Sterling's racist remarks, you can not deny that his remarks harm the organization’s business interest, harm the brand name, 3/4 of NBA players are black, they want him go, the team lost some sponsors due to this controversy and it directly harms the profit outlook of the whole league.
    This business organization can make decision to kick him out based on their constitution and bylaws, they don't need your approval.

  • BYU Track Star Los Angeles, CA
    May 23, 2014 4:26 p.m.

    Mark Cuban, the owner of the NBA Houston Mavericks team, in a recent national interview, publicly expressed his own race fears. It is all over the Internet for the Des-News readers purview. Where is the Public Outrage over this NBA Owner's views? Where are the NBA fines and Sanctions?

    The take away from the d'affair Sterling is: 1.) There is no longer privacy. Private conversations no longer exist. 2.) Never say anything not nice about anyone period. 3.) Never date anyone 50 years younger than yourself, it comes to no good end. 4.) Entering into or Breaking off a Contractual(romantic?)relationship for a Billionaire may not be worth it anymore.

  • liberal larry salt lake City, utah
    May 23, 2014 4:43 p.m.

    USU Logan is right on!

    Sterling was threatening the financial interests of the NBA with his reprehensible comments, and was in violation of his contractual obligation to not bring shame upon the league.

    Conservatives should be applauding this triumph of good old FREE ENTERPRISE!

  • Logit ,
    May 23, 2014 5:34 p.m.

    Rodney Smith, you start this piece with the story of your mother washing your own mouth out with soap when you were young and said something hateful. Now that you're an adult, if you again said something hateful in the privacy of your own home, if someone tattled to your mother about it, would you still expect your mother to barge in and come wash your mouth out with soap? Is that still your mother's (the NBA's) job?

  • Frozen Fractals Salt Lake City, UT
    May 23, 2014 5:47 p.m.

    @wrz
    "Third, what happened to the First Amendment's guarantee of freedom of speech? People should be able to say anything they wish without being punished... including comments that some might consider racist."

    The First Amendment protects from the gov't intruding on free speech, not business.

    @BYU Track Star
    "Where is the Public Outrage over this NBA Owner's views?"

    His statement was an acknowledgement of personal biases that he considers wrong.

  • the truth Holladay, UT
    May 23, 2014 10:59 p.m.

    To
    USU-Loga
    liberal larryn
    Frozen Fractals
    and the writer of the opinion piece

    Are you claiming you have right to hurt sterling simply because you do not like what he said?.

    Where does your right end and his begin?
    Is he entitled to privacy in his own home?

  • liberal larry salt lake City, utah
    May 24, 2014 7:00 a.m.

    The only person who possibly violated Mr. Sterlings "rights" is his girlfriend, V. Stiviano, who surreptitiously taped their conversation.

    Donald is free to pursue legal action against Ms Stiviano, (Donald's wife is already suing her).

    The NBA has every right in the world to protect its business its interests against the behavior of one of its owners.

    I think Republicans are just upset about those darn tape recorders!

  • liberal larry salt lake City, utah
    May 24, 2014 7:00 a.m.

    The only person who possibly violated Mr. Sterlings "rights" is his girlfriend, V. Stiviano, who surreptitiously taped their conversation.

    Donald is free to pursue legal action against Ms Stiviano, (Donald's wife is already suing her).

    The NBA has every right in the world to protect its business its interests against the behavior of one of its owners.

    I think Republicans are just upset about those darn tape recorders!

  • The Real Maverick Orem, UT
    May 24, 2014 7:55 a.m.

    Cuban is the owner of the Houston Mavericks?

    Interesting.

    So are the Dallas Spurs playing the Oklahoma City Lakers in the playoffs? How about the San Antonio Rockets? Will the Utah Celtics get a good draft pick at #5? I wish we had the Phoenix Thunder's Head Coach, Jeff Hornacek.

    I think many of the opinions expressed can be discredited already because their writers don't even know the owners or the actual names of these teams.

    The problem with sterling is that while many knew he was a racist they didn't actually have evidence to prove that he was. The same thing happens with NCAA violations. Everyone knows Cam Newton's father shopped his kid around. But without a paper trail, it cannot be proven. Until just a few weeks ago, no one had hard (audio) evidence that Sterling was a racist.

    What's interesting is to see folks rush to Sterling's defense. In particular, repubs. As if racist comments made "in private" are somehow excusable.

  • 4YI Salt Lake City, UT
    May 24, 2014 9:40 a.m.

    For the NBA to have integrity, I believe they should ban for life any player, coach, employee, or owner, who utters the 'n-word' or any other ways that references to any race may be slurred.

    This should apply under any circumstances, including in movies, music, interviews, locker room talk, personal conversations, etc.

    Put this penalty clause in everyone's contract and have a no-tolerance policy that can be applied retroactively.

    Additional punitive fines from the NBA should be based on a comparison to the words used in the current $2.5 million case.

    I believe Mr. Sterling is simply the tip of an enormous iceberg in the NBA.

  • Jim1027 St. George, UT
    May 24, 2014 10:57 a.m.

    Obviously, insulting, or harming anybody based on race is unkind, stupid, and illegal.

    So, if black athletes refer to whites in any derogatory or stereotypical manner be penalized the same way?

    If we publicize the private remarks of anybody that has anything substantial to be taken away, what would that look like?

    If we knew and heard the private comments of the NBA commissioner, would he reveal anything he didn't want others to hear or know?

    Or is all of this really reverse discrimination and basically reparations from past wrongs?

  • USU-Logan Logan, UT
    May 24, 2014 11:13 a.m.

    @the truth
    "Are you claiming you have right to hurt sterling simply because you do not like what he said?"

    Well, it is not my fault that Sterling’s comments hurt NBA's financial interests, and it is not my fault that NBA wants to protect their own business interests by kicking him out.

    --------
    "Is he entitled to privacy in his own home?"

    Sure, but it is also not my fault or NBA's fault that his private conversation somehow went public. But it is his fault that his existence in NBA hurts the league.

  • Howard Beal Provo, UT
    May 24, 2014 11:27 a.m.

    The truth is racism isn't so black and white. On one hand Sterling had housing projects where it seems like people of color had a hard time getting access to. On the other hand, I believe Sterling hired the first African-American general manager (Elgin Baylor) and stayed loyal to him far beyond what you would expect because Baylor made many terrible decisions and drafts by any reasonable measure. As stated above, he hired an African-American head coach and gave him other responsibilities higher up in the organization. Even his mistress is multi-racial. And then there are the donations by the NAACP. So Sterling is a mixed bag of sort, like I suppose many Americans out there.

    I guess I find it troubling that the NBA has chosen NOW to draw the line in the sand. Like I alluded to before, Sterling did other things far more serious in denying access to people of color in regards to housing. And that was common knowledge. And the fact that a private conversation was taped and is being used to oust Sterling is troubling and I believe deserves more attention. This is a scary development to me.

  • Frozen Fractals Salt Lake City, UT
    May 24, 2014 1:42 p.m.

    @the truth
    "Are you claiming you have right to hurt sterling simply because you do not like what he said?."

    Employers can fire employees for things they say, if you want better job security in the work regarding free speech I'd recommend supporting stronger labor laws because we do not have much in the manner of protections for that (some are union negotiated, think teachers and tenure).

  • wrz Phoenix, AZ
    May 24, 2014 9:04 p.m.

    USU-Logan:
    You need to go back school to refresh US government/civics 101. People are able to say anything they wish, without being prosecuted by government..."

    Try falsely shouting fire in a crowded theater. Maybe you need Civics 201.

    "NBA is a private business organization, even if you condole Donald Sterling's racist remarks, you can not deny that his remarks harm the organization’s business interest, harm the brand name..."

    Per news reports, Sterling committed what could be considered racist conduct years ago. Did that hurt the organization's business interests?

    "...3/4 of NBA players are black, they want him go..."

    Shouldn't Whites have more representation in the industry based on the principles of Affirmative Action which other industries have been required to adopt?

    "... the team lost some sponsors due to this controversy..."

    And they lost me as a game attendee/viewer. Not because of what Sterling said but because of that the Commissioner did to him.

    Frozen Fractals:
    "The First Amendment protects from the gov't intruding on free speech, not business."

    See above.

  • cjb Bountiful, UT
    May 25, 2014 2:12 p.m.

    Lesson learned? You are (quite likely) always being listened to or at least you conversations are being stored for future evaluation. So act accordingly.

    A few years ago the minutes on my cell phone kept going up and up much faster than I was using them. I didn't put 2 and 2 together back than, but I believe my phone was being used to listen to my conversations, and what ever agency of the government was doing this didn't have the decency to pay for the minutes to do this. I had to argue with Verizon to not charge me an overage charge for overuse of my plan minutes.

  • Mark B Eureka, CA
    May 25, 2014 10:27 p.m.

    I'm sure Mr. Sterling appreciates wrz's support for his efforts to resist the NBA's rough treatment. Sterling is obviously a man of principle and has no interest in the nine figure profit that selling the Clippers will get him. I look forward to hearing from wrz when Sterling's Thankyou card arrives.

  • USU-Logan Logan, UT
    May 26, 2014 10:10 p.m.

    wrz @9:54 a.m. May 23, 2014
    You own words: "People should be able to say anything they wish without being punished". Does that also include falsely shouting fire in a crowded theater?

    "Per news reports, Sterling committed what could be considered racist conduct years ago. Did that hurt the organization's business interests?"

    Did his behavior back then created a PR disaster like this one? causing black players heavy protest? sponsors withdraw? national TV coverage day after day?

    "Shouldn't Whites have more representation in the industry based on the principles of Affirmative Action which other industries have been required to adopt?"

    Why should a private business have to implement race-based affirmative action in the first place?

    "And they lost me as a game attendee/viewer. Not because of what Sterling said but because of that the Commissioner did to him."

    Sure, but even you will never watch NBA, it does not have much impact for their profit outlook.

  • YBH Sugarland, TX
    May 27, 2014 10:06 a.m.

    @Logit
    "Rodney Smith, you start this piece with the story of your mother washing your own mouth out with soap when you were young and said something hateful. Now that you're an adult, if you again said something hateful in the privacy of your own home, if someone tattled to your mother about it, would you still expect your mother to barge in and come wash your mouth out with soap? Is that still your mother's (the NBA's) job?"

    ----
    If Professor Smith said some hateful and his mother feels the need to discipline him, which is based on an early agreement between him and his mother, then it will be their business, not yours.