Let me start off by stating that racism is wrong, ugly, and hypocritical. I have heard the audio of Donald Sterling. If you were to say prima facie that his remarks make him look like a wrong, ugly, and hypocritical racist, you would get no argument from me. So, let’s all assume for a the sake of argument that Donald Sterling is a racist. Let’s take it as a given. There are many racists across this country who make racist remarks everyday who have businesses and employment just like Mr. Sterling. So, why don’t we just fire them all and take their businesses? Because there is a key difference between having racist opinions and carrying out actual racial discrimination. Expressing racist opinions in your own mind, in private, or in public is actually a First Amendment Right. In other words, racists like Sterling are free according to the Constitution to spout off whatever garbage they want to no matter how irrational or evil it might be. So, Sterling’s disgusting expressions to his lady friend in a phone conversation are protected by the First Amendment because his expressions were merely racist opinions. So, if Sterling had stopped there, he would have been fine. The reason this is legally dicey is because he stated in the phone conversation that he did not want his lady friend to bring “black” people to his “games.” In other words, it sounded like he was saying he would deny black people from free market access to his team’s NBA basketball games. Essentially, in the free market when a person buys a ticket to an NBA basketball game, they are renting a seat for the evening’s game. They are purchasing access and it is presumed according to federal and State laws that no person can be denied a fair chance of making such a rental on the basis of skin color, which would constitute racial discrimination. If Sterling was admitting to racial discrimination, this means that he was saying that he would sell tickets to his games to everyone but black people. However, that has to be PROVEN in a court of law. In other words, there has to be a TRIAL and EVIDENCE that Sterling at some point denied free market access to a “black” person in buying a seat at his games on the basis of their having black skin and that he would only rent those seats to people with a skin color other than “black.” I put “black” in quotation marks because I am not sure what skin color that is. I have never seen a “black” person, because black is the color I am typing in and I have never seen a person with such a skin color. I have only seen people with skin colors that are various shades of dark brown to light tan. I have never seen a “white” skinned person either. So, I would like to clarify with Mr. Sterling, which skin tones he is opposed to in his irrational rant.
But let us return to the question of a trial. The NBA commissioner acted in haste and simply banned Mr. Sterling for life from the NBA. The commissioner did this without a trial and DUE PROCESS of law as required by the Constitution. In other words, Mr. Sterling will now be denied access to the free market of the NBA because the commissioner caved in to irrational social pressure instead of explaining what I am explaining to you now: THAT THERE IS A DIFFERENCE BETWEEN RACIST EXPRESSIONS AND RACIAL DISCRIMINATION. That difference is controlling when determining to take Mr. Sterling’s free market rights away from him. That goes back to my original point, if Mr. Sterling was just being an angry, bitter, narcissistic, racist pig when speaking to his lady friend, then he should not lose his team, because there is no law against being an “angry, bitter, narcissistic, racist pig.” According to the due process of Constitutional law, it has to be PROVEN that he went beyond that state of being a pig and carried out a racial discrimination to deny some undefined “black” person free market access to an NBA game. Now it is even more complicated. Because even if Mr. Sterling was saying that black people could not sit in certain seats, we still have to identify the ownership of those seats. If those were Sterling’s privately owned seats or a privately owned booth that was his private property at the basketball arena, then he may have a right over his private property to deny whoever he wants from that property just like you would from your property. If you own a car or a house, you don’t have to let a “black” or “white” person into your car or home if you don’t want to do so and the law cannot force you. In other words, you have a right to racially discrimination against who enters your private property. Furthermore, if you rent the seats at an NBA game for an evening it is presumed that you decide who sits in those seats and that you could racially discriminate in doing so meaning you could deny whoever you want to from sitting in them for the evening even though those seats are not your private property or residence. Does Mr. Sterling not have the same right? Granted, the basketball arena is not a private residence of Mr. Sterling’s so it’s debatable whether he could have “private” seating for himself and to what degree he could therefore deny access to others, unless he pays rent just like everyone else. But then what owner is expected to pay rent to himself? These questions are precisely why we have courts and trials. It may be enough to prove discrimination, that he said to his lady friend “don’t bring them to my games” if the NBA commissioner can prove that Mr. Sterling was in fact saying that she could not provide seating to “black” people. However, if Mr. Sterling was simply saying he did not want black people to accompany her to the games, while meaning that black people were free to be with anyone else, anywhere else in the game arena that is an entirely different matter. In that case, I can tell you as a couple’s therapist, that Mr. Sterling is actually trying to be controlling of his lady friend using his money and power and while that makes him a control freak, in America, we are not so thin-skinned that we take a man’s business away from him for being a control freak. We just encourage his lady friend to move on. I would agree on the basis of his statements that Mr. Sterling needs therapy, though we cannot force him to seek help. He must voluntarily do so and I hope that he does. This is why there must be a trial. There has been an accusation of racial discrimination. Now there must be proof in court that Mr. Sterling denied free market NBA ticket sales or seating access to “black” people. Until then the NBA commissioner has simply caved in to social pressure and Mr. Sterling has every right to defend himself in court.
Now this brings me to a final point. Should Mr. Sterling be punished, even if racial discrimination cannot be proven? Sure! Do we in American society have to wait for the courts to find him guilty through a lengthy court process? No! We can and should punish Mr. Sterling. Even though he has a First Amendment right to be an “angry, bitter, narcissistic, racist pig,” we as Americans can still join together today and begin punishing him now. How? We punish him through the free market. We boycott everything to do with “his” team until he is financially forced to sell the team. We turn to his competitors and do business with them. We shun him with our wallets. That is the first and most damaging thing you can do to an elitist man like Mr. Sterling. You can verbally attack him all over the internet and in society, but it is far, far more powerful to simply, quietly turn your back on any business deal related to Mr. Sterling from this day forward and forever until he publicly confesses and repents. You economically shun and excommunicate him. You do just as UCLA did and you reject his donation and send it back. “We don’t want your dirty, racist money, Mr. Sterling.” You crash his “stock” so to speak. You make a run on his “bank.” In doing so, the natural free market forces will have their Chris-Brown-effect and Mr. Sterling will voluntarily sell his NBA team to someone with a more morally upright character. The bottomline is that based on being a Constitutional society governed by the rule of law, no one, including the NBA commissioner, can unilaterally decided to take a man’s property from him on the basis of an accusation. In America, we are not so thin skinned that we cannot weather a bit of racism. We are governed by the rule of law, not emotion. We are innocent until proven guilty. However, we are also free to vote with our wallets and as for me and my house, we will economically and socially shun Mr. Sterling’s team, until it is no longer Mr. Sterling’s team. Get it?
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