It’s Time for Donald Sterling to Go


Tod Kelly

Tod is a writer from the Pacific Northwest. He is also serves as Executive Producer and host of both the 7 Deadly Sins Show at Portland's historic Mission Theatre and 7DS: Pants On Fire! at the White Eagle Hotel & Saloon. He is  a regular inactive for Marie Claire International and the Daily Beast, and is currently writing a book on the sudden rise of exorcisms in the United States. Follow him on Twitter.

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215 Responses

  1. Think he could become CEO of Mozilla?

    [Non-snarky version: is this akin to the Eich situation?]Report

    • Avatar Tod Kelly says:

      @jonathan-mcleod “is this akin to the Eich situation?”

      Not really. With Eich, I think, it was debatable the degree to which it was newsworthy sans protests. That you supported a measure that 7 million other Californians supported isn’t all that shocking.

      Sterling’s statements are pretty shocking coming from anyone in 2014. And since he makes all of his NBA money off of African-American talent it’s especially egregious.

      A better hypothetical analogy would be if the owner of the BRAVO network was caught on tape saying he didn’t ever want any f**gots ever being invited to his house.Report

      • Avatar Shazbot3 says:

        I bet you could find 7 million Americans who support Sterling and his statmements. A Palin Rally would be a good place to start.Report

  2. Avatar notme says:

    I don’t agree with his opinion but I don’t think he should have his property taken away from him for expressing an unpopular opinion.Report

    • Avatar ScarletNumbers says:

      To be fair, I don’t think his property will be taken away from him per se.

      At worst he will be made to sell the team a la Marge Schott.Report

      • Avatar RTod says:


        The alterntive — let him keep the team and it’s debt, but kick him out the league with no way to greater revenue — would be far worse for Sterling.Report

      • Avatar Murali says:

        There is a sense in which it is worse for sterling, but it is more procedurally kosher. Notme has a point. You don’t force a person to sell a company just because he is racist and an incompetent manager. Actually, I don’t know when it is ever permissible to force a person to sell some property of his. If other people kick his team out of the league until it changes hands, that is their right* as part of freedom of association.

        *Are there bylaws in place that involve waiving this right? Things could get complicated if there areReport

      • Avatar Creon Critic says:

        According to Sports Illustrated, the NBA constitution is confidential, reportedly an owner can be fined, suspended, or expelled. The SI article’s author’s view is owners may be reluctant to take the harsher measures.

        You don’t force a person to sell a company just because he is racist and an incompetent manager.

        If I understand the NBA’s structure correctly, it is a franchise. Sterling has certain obligations to keep up his end of the franchise agreement. I can imagine the other owners and commissioner being concerned about Sterling doing damage to the larger brand/league as a whole.

      • Avatar Patrick says:

        Creon understands the NBA structure correctly; Sterling doesn’t own the team, he owns the franchise, which comes entailed.Report

      • Avatar Stillwater says:

        Notme has a point. You don’t force a person to sell a company just because he is racist and an incompetent manager.

        No, not simply because he’s a racist or a bigot. It’s possible for a team owner to go thru his entire professional life thinking that black people are less than human without those beliefs determining hiring practices or negatively effecting the profits of others because those beliefs aren’t expressed or acted upon in that individual’s professional capacity as team owner. We’re way past that point now, tho, and I’d imagine the league is furiously trying to figure out how to mitigate the public relations hell-storm, one that will threaten profits and market share over the long term, if they don’t take a strong enough stance on it.Report

      • Avatar Will Truman says:

        He can keep the team. It’s just that the NBA can pull its franchise and the team would have to join the ABA or something. Of course, contacts might stipulate that they are only valid with NBA membership. And the name might revert back to the NBA.

        There’s virtually no way that it wouldn’t make financial sense to sell, however.Report

      • Avatar Mike Schilling says:

        I think we’re all in violent agreement. The NBA can’t take away the team. They can revoke its franchise, destroying almost all of its value, but if Sterling wants to keep ownership of a team with a $70M payroll and close to zero revenue rather than selling it for the hundreds of millions it would fetch, he’s free to do so.

        Except that I’m not sure how player contracts are written. It may be that if the Clippers were expelled from the NBA, its players would all become free agents.Report

      • Avatar Will Truman says:

        Or, put another way, the value of the team is derived in large part by its relationship with the NBA and the NBA likely has power to sever that relationship.Report

      • Avatar Will Truman says:

        Is there an echo in here?Report

    • Avatar Mike Schilling says:

      Rich people have an absolute right to speech without consequences. Signed contracts and at-will employment are for the little people.Report

  3. Avatar Saul DeGraw says:

    As a non-sports fan,

    What are the rules for this sort of thing? How can he be punished by the NBA?

    Honest questions: I don’t care about professional sports that much so I don’t know how sanctions against owners work.

    That being said, I did a wiki on the guy and unfortunately he is a member of the tribe. Why is it the 20 percent of Americans Jews who are right-wing and have offensive politics seem to make most of the news. Adelson, Snyder, and now Sterling…..

    Sidenote: Rollie Massimino is a great name.Report

    • Avatar Wardsmith says:

      Too bad Sterling is a liberal and a Democrat bundlesReport

      • Avatar Wardsmith says:

        Bundler, ie raises money for politicians of the Democratic stripe including ObamaReport

      • Avatar Chris says:

        Once upon a time. It looks like he donated to two candidates in the early 90s.

        But in my experience, there are plenty of racist liberals.Report

      • Avatar Tod Kelly says:

        It is true he’s a Dem.

        But it’s worth noting that the blogs that are pointing out his “bundling” are linking to this site, which notes that he’s donated a total of $6,000 to the Democratic Party, and that all of that is prior to 1993.Report

      • Avatar Chris says:

        Ward, link to evidence he’s a bundler and Obama supporter?Report

      • Avatar Tod Kelly says:

        @chris According to the Daily Caller: “Despite having a 100% track record of donating to Democrats, has no records of him donating to either of President Barack Obama’s election campaigns.”

        Oddly, the GOP could look at that Daily Caller story and learn a pretty valuable PR lesson. In the same article that links Sterling to the Dems, it goes on to quote the various people who have come out and publicly condemned his statements, such as Magic, Al Sharpton, and Keith Olberman. Not one Dem or lib supporting him at all.

        Months from now I can see cons looking back at Sterling and wondering aloud, why didn’t blacks turn against the Dems after that story broke.Report

      • Avatar Wardsmith says:

        Google it yourself. I’ve watched the bloggers on this site crucify so-called Republicans on flimsier crosses than this. Don’t like it? Too bad. Furthermore the Very fact that he was recently scheduled to receive an NAACP award shouts to his liberal bonafides. Conversely show me a Republican conservative who has Ever been nominated let alone received one. Game set match. 🙂Report

      • Avatar Chris says:

        Tod, yeah, that’s what I found.

        Ward, I did. You’re talking out your ass.Report

      • Avatar Tod Kelly says:

        Actually, I think ward’s point about the NAACP is a pretty good one.

        Like I said in the OP, it’s not exactly news that Sterling is a bigot, even if he’s never been caught crossing the line so blatantly. What the f**k was the Los Angeles NAACP doing giving him an award?Report

      • Avatar Mike Schilling says:

        I did Google it, and found this page:

        Donald Sterling, Los Angeles Clippers

        Records show Sterling has donated just $6,000, with no activity since the early 1990s. He supported Gray Davis early in his career, as well as Bill Bradley.

        Also, past award winners include Edward Brooke and Colin Powell, both Republicans. Pretty weak stuff, Ward. Guess that’s what happens when you cut-and-paste talking points without checking them.Report

      • Avatar Mike Schilling says:

        What the f**k was the Los Angeles NAACP doing giving him an award?

        He bought it, just like his previous one. Are you saying that the NAACP wouldn’t accept bribes from a Republican?Report

      • Avatar Tod Kelly says:

        “Are you saying that the NAACP wouldn’t accept bribes from a Republican?”

        No, I’m pretty sure both sides screw it.Report

      • Avatar Wardsmith says:

        @mike-schilling So, a Black senator (the first iirc) and the first black 4 star General got awards… For being black. My point still stands until your google-fu finds me a White Republican getting the same award this white (obviously Democrat) won.

        Turnabout is fair play Chris you a little sore or what? Lol is the official site for campaign contributions? Who knew? Maybe we can track down all the Donald Duck contributions to Obama there now.Report

      • Avatar Chris says:

        Ward, I am just pointing out that you are wrong about the facts because you didn’t read the article you saw. Turnabout? If you can find a example of me doubling down on falsehoods, feel free to point them out.

        Also, I’m not a Democrat, and just said I’ve known plenty of racist liberals.Report

      • Avatar Mike Schilling says:

        OK, Everett Dirksen

        (I predict the goalposts will now move again.)Report

      • Avatar Wardsmith says:

        Lol NAACP Preoria branch for a dead white guy equals a lifetime achievement award in LA? And just any rich guy gets to buy one? Let me know when the Koch brothers get theirs. Nope the NAACP is 100% lock stock and barrel Democrat and even a mouth breathing liberal gets to acknowledge that. How long should we have to wait for the NAACP Condoleezza Rice award? Ten or twenty years after she’s dead? LolReport

      • Avatar Stillwater says:

        Ward isn’t moving the goal posts, Mike. A priori truths like the one he’s expressing are fixed objects with the power to render facts and arguments meaningless.Report

      • Avatar zic says:

        Personally, I suspect he’s practicing, working up to that sweet moment when he can pull his own Sterling Bundy™ and get his 15 min. of fame. Obviously, it takes some serious effort and training.

        /snark, in case ward’s not certain where the goalpost currently stands.Report

      • Avatar Mike Schilling says:

        Ward, when did you turn into such a fucking troll?Report

      • Avatar Wardsmith says:

        @mike-schilling – comment policy. I could lower myself to your level but why bother when you are so quick to descend on your own accord? Not one of you have refuted my core point you’re just hating how the argument is trending against you. Time to resort to the time honored Alinsky method of character assassination instead. Liberals are nothing if not consistent.

        Only Tod is I intellectually honest enough to concede the NAACP point among you. I believe with some effort I can find “clipper’s owner at democratic fundraiser” but it will take a regex script to weed out the current noise since every sidebar on every media site talks about this now so unrelated searches are clogged up. That said, is your paper thin defense the amount contributed and that it was the past? Didn’t help Eich much as I recall. 🙂Report

      • Avatar Mike Schilling says:

        Can you find one thing that supports the word “bundler”?

        (Oh, and “comment policy” is the last refuge of the scoundrel, the first being “Google it yourself”.)Report

      • Avatar Chris says:

        Ward, it’s been pointed out to you by three people that he hasn’t donated to a candidate since ’93, and there’s no evidence of his support for Obama or him being a bundler. In response, you’ve just said, “Google it.” You are, as I said, talking out your ass, and your response to this being pointed out is “NAACP” and “turnabout is fair play!” Shows how classy and intellectually honest you are, eh? (Also, NACCP is discussed below as well.)Report

      • Avatar Stillwater says:

        Ward, you had two points in your comment: that Sterling is a liberal and that he’s a Democratic “bundler”. You’re wrong on the second point, and no one except you seems to care about the first. Further, you haven’t explained why you think we should care.

        I mean, I can’t figure out what point you think you’re making or what you think is at stake here, but I do know that no amount of discussion will ever shake your view that you’re right and that it’s a Big Fucking Deal.Report

      • Avatar Chris says:

        Still, near as I can tell, Ward’s point is that liberals refuse to admit that people like Sterling can be liberals, and he’s making it in a thread in which people have admitted that Sterling is, in fact, a liberal. “Look, I’m speaking truth to power, even if it’s the exact same truth that power itself is speaking!”Report

      • Avatar zic says:

        Come to find out, he’s a registered Republican, @wardsmith

        Someone actually bothered to check on it. These things are public record.Report

      • Avatar veronica dire says:

        And a hush settles over the room. The party guests glance at one other, but none speak. Someone drops a spoon.Report

      • Avatar Barry says:

        As in registered Republican since 1998?Report

    • Avatar wardsmith says:

      Because you all have partisan blinders on, perhaps IF I QUOTE THIS FROM THE PRECEDING POST?:
      Why is it the 20 percent of Americans Jews who are right-wing and have offensive politics seem to make most of the news. Adelson, Snyder, and now Sterling…..

      Therefore in response to the PREVIOUS POSTER I pointed out that Sterling was a LIBERAL. There’s your “big fucking deal” to quote another interlocutor who is apparently challenged in the verbal repertoire quotient. The bundler was indeed a quote from another website and given that at the time I was on an ipad wasn’t inclined to go through the ridiculous pain and suffering of fighting their inept keyboard app to get all the characters I needed for inserting a link. Perhaps he isn’t a bundler at present, therefore I pointed out the other sin qua non of his liberal membership, which is the NAACP lifetime achievement award. More dissembling from the partisans (other than Tod) who claimed he bought it etc. None could counter that in today’s world only a liberal has a chance in hell of “winning” any kind of NAACP award.

      @mike-schilling when did you turn into such a fucking troll?

      As long as you’re comfortable with that Mike say the word. I’ll make sure and post it every chance I get until you or someone defending you points to the comment policy. Meanwhile in the 3 years I’ve been on this site you’ve been a troll hundreds of times, but I’ve never felt inclined to drop the f-bomb on you to point it out. That this site has gone even further left and that you’ve all managed to chase off anyone not ideologically aligned with you is not a surprise, that is the death spiral of every liberal zone on the net. Too bad because there were intelligent people who roamed these parts, most of whom are gone today. Your cleansing no doubt must continue until you have the circle jerk society you crave. SighReport

      • Avatar Chris says:

        Still, I couldn’t have asked for him to confirm my interpretation any better than this!Report

      • Avatar Mike Schilling says:

        bundler was indeed a quote from another website and given that at the time I was on an ipad wasn’t inclined to go through the ridiculous pain and suffering of fighting their inept keyboard app to get all the characters I needed for inserting a link.

        And that was even before the dog ate your homework.Report

      • Avatar Patrick says:

        Ward, I missed all this, but you definitely get clearance in my book to give pushback on the right-wing characterization of Sterling.

        I don’t know that he’s political enough to call him liberal, if he hasn’t donated anything since 1993, and the bundler thing seems unsupported, but he’s definitely *not* right-wing.Report

      • Avatar Chris says:

        The right wing thing was by one person who had been taken to task, earlier in the thread, for making precisely that sort of generalization.Report

  4. Avatar Mike Schilling says:

    And the Clippers should be disqualified from the postseason immediately.Report

  5. Avatar Mike Schilling says:

    The thing is, Sterling had a perfectly reasonable objection to Magic Johnson. He’s a known associate of Tommy Lasorda.Report

  6. Avatar Patrick says:

    Donald Sterling is actually the worst professional sports franchise owner in history, for any sport.Report

    • Avatar Mike Schilling says:

      You’re forgetting the Islanders. At worst, Sterling is tied for last.Report

    • Avatar ScarletNumbers says:

      Ted Stepien, who owned the Cleveland Cavaliers from 1980 to 1983, is generally considered to be the worst owner in major league sports history. He fired Chuck Daly in 1982 after less than one season. Daly went on to win 2 NBA championships as the head coach of the Detroit Pistons and was so well respected that he was named head coach of the 1992 US Mens Basketball Team, known as The Dream Team.

      The NBA also has the Stepien Rule, which states that a team cannot trade its first round draft pick in consecutive seasons.Report

      • Avatar Patrick says:

        That’s a fair point, but he only had three years to screw up. Sterling has been driving the Clippers around like a drunken sailor on leave for a long, long time.Report

      • Avatar Tod Kelly says:

        I think it’s also the case that it takes a different level of incompetence to repeatedly screw up in Los Angeles, a city where everyone wants to play, than it does to screw up in Cleveland, a city where almost no one wants to play.Report

      • Avatar J@m3z Aitch says:

        That’s a fair point, but he only had three years to screw up. Sterling has been driving the Clippers around like a drunken sailor on leave for a long, long time.

        Maybe that’s the lifetime achievement award he was scheduled to receive?Report

  7. Avatar zic says:

    At the risk of thread jacking, this is keeps feeling like some reverse quantum-spin of Vanessa Williams. She got to keep her Miss America crown and scholarship, but not to serve because of photos; thankfully, she thrived. May the doppler continue.

    [MikeS: Zic, you need to terminate links with </a>, not </i>]Report

  8. Avatar Glyph says:

    Huh, and after last week’s ep I thought Bert Cooper was the real racist.Report

  9. Avatar Kolohe says:

    True fact: Sterling is scheduled to have bestowed upon him a lifetime achievement award by the LA chapter of the NAACP

    (h/t Popehat)Report

    • Avatar Stillwater says:

      Maybe they’ll take it over the top and invite Newt to introduce Sterling so he can give ’em that talk he’s been itching for.Report

    • Avatar Burt Likko says:

      He periodically awards himself as “Humanitarian of the Year” in full-page announcements he buys in the Fish Wrapper and celebrates at gala dinners he pays for. Money comes from apartment buildings owned up and down and around Westwood and Beverly Hills, not from the Clippers.

      Clippers fans (especially the ones who were fans long before the team got competitive) have long shifted uncomfortably when the conversation turned to ownership.Report

  10. Avatar Stillwater says:

    It’s interesting to contrast the comments made by Cliven and Sterling. When I heard Cliven’s comments I was pretty sure (and still am to some degree) that he’s a decent enough guy who lacks self-awareness and used a terrible analogy (one he still stands by, apparently) to describe the situation inner city black Americans live in. It’s possible to understand what he said as an attempt to describe what he thinks is a real problem with “the negro” and attribute his word choices and views to ignorance. (I’m not gonna defend the guy except insofar as my compare/contrast requires it!) Sterling’s words, on the other hand, can’t be so interpreted. I mean, he expressly says that his girlfriend ought to have enough respect – for herself and the public at large – to not be seen in public with black people. There’s just no way to interpret that as expressing anything other than a really repugnant form of racism.

    I’m not sure what the league will do, of course, but I think Tod might be right that his days as an owner are numbered. And not because he’s a racist, but for “business reasons”.Report

    • Avatar Saul DeGraw says:

      I have no such views of Cliven Bundy and find that too generous. I think the man is racist to the core.

      • Avatar Stillwater says:

        Well, I won’t disagree with you and certainly won’t argue the point, but I know a lot of people like Cliven and that changes my views a bit.Report

      • Avatar Saul DeGraw says:

        I’ve seen this time and time again on the League (from time to time) and other places and I am starting to lose a bit of my patience for it.

        There always seems to be a standard of special pleading or special circumstances for good ol’ boys (or people) from small-towns. “There way of life is dying”, “They just come from a different era.”, “They might be uber-right wing and nearly fascist but big city folk are still pretentious as all hell.”

        You know what? I don’t give a fish anymore. People like to get snide about people being priced out of SF or NYC and just talk about market forces, I don’t care if small town life is dying or Cliven Bundy’s way of life is dying. Cliven Bundy has probably not met many black people (if any). The shooter of the Kansas City JCC has probably not met many (if any) Jews. Neither did his mayor but that did not stop the mayor of his town from talking about how the United States or the World has a “false economy” because Jews control corporations. The same mayor also blamed high health costs because Jews became doctors.

        I don’t see why the small-towners always get some kind of pass or explanation for when they go off and say horrible things. Yes there are plenty of bigoted and racist people who live in or near major cities and are well-educated professionals but I have no mythological or soft-spot for the alleged pastoral ideals of the small-town.

        There are plenty of really nice small towns that are nice to visit and even live-in but it seems like time and time again people rush-to-defend small-towners for their bigotry and accusing big-city dwellers of false liberalism and pretension.

        But I have to ask myself as a Jewish person, why do I need to be concerned about small-town ways of life dying if small-town mayors feel free to wax anti-Semitism.

        This is not to say that city-dwellers are free of bigotry and racism. We can be just as prejudiced and sometimes or often the prejudice can be one minority group against another. There is only one time someone has made a Jews control the economy comment to me in a big city.Report

      • Avatar Will Truman says:

        Saul, it’s very fortunate for you that you are not close to anyone with unacceptable views on race. That none of your loved ones who cannot be dismissed as bad or utterly hateful people nonetheless say and feel things that you find abhorrent.

        Others among us have had to come to grips with things that you haven’t. To recognized that recognizing some nuance of the situation isn’t making excuses for or apologizing for unacceptable behavior.

        It is often having had to live with cringing any time certain subjects come up. Recognizing just a little bit of somebody you love in somebody getting rightfully pilloried in the media for something that they said.

        I’m glad for you that you come from enlightened country. Enlightened family. Enlightened social circles. I’d imagine that’s a very nice thing.Report

      • Avatar Stillwater says:

        Wow. It’s hard for me to not make this personal Saul. All I’ll say is that you – and I mean you personally – say things I find offensive all the time yet somehow I refrain from expressing personal judgments about who you are or even calling you out on them. (Well, usually…) Like Cliven, I think you’re a decent enough guy who lacks self-awareness and whose views frequently derive from a place of ignorance.Report

      • Avatar Chris says:

        Who here has defended the bigotry or prejudices of “small towners” or anyone else? Who has said any of the things you accuse people of saying here?Report

      • Avatar Saul DeGraw says:


        I apologize for my rant. I was being defensive and admit that I don’t know many Cliven Bundys or Sterlings.Report

      • Avatar Chris says:

        I think the problem is that, if we’re speaking not of the number of individuals you ‘ve known, but of types of people, you haven’t known many people at all. Or many places.

        I can’t speak for others, but when I’ve been critical of your coastal chauvinism, it’s been because you treat everyone in the places that aren’t like the places you know, and everyone who isn’t like the people you know, as being like the worst examples you see online and on TV. You remind me a bit of a Brit talking about the colonies circa 1850 (or 1970).

        I, however, have known people as sheltered and inexperienced as you, so I find it less offensive than frustrating

        Cliven is an asshole, a racist who didn’t just say that black people are dependent on the welfare state, but also that they might be better off as slaves. I’ve known people who thought that way, and they were racist assholes too. But most people I’ve known outside of San Francisco and New York haven’t thought like that. Even the conservatives. When I defend basically the rest of the world from your own breed prejudice, they are in part who I’m defending. Plus, you know, the South isn’t all white people. And we have cities.Report

      • Avatar Saul DeGraw says:


        Those are very fair criticisms.

        Though I don’t think I am that much younger than you, only a few years.Report

      • Avatar Chris says:

        Years are not particularly relevant.Report

      • Avatar Saul DeGraw says:


        I would also argue that sheltered and inexperienced goes both ways and I think where I really get rackled is that it seems to be the burden of coastal or city folk to be more understanding of people from smaller towns or the non-coasts all the time.

        I’ve been the first Jewish person people have met and the questions I’ve gotten on being the first Jewish person are interesting sometimes. When I taught in Japan this happened, not just among the Japanese students but among the English-as-a-native language staff. I don’t how this came up but one teacher (non-American) said in the office that he doesn’t think he ever met a Jewish person before. An American woman (small-towner) said she didn’t think she met a Jewish person either. My immediate response was “guess again.” The American woman asked me “Where’s your little hat?” She meant a yarmulke.

        Now this is far, far more harmless than statements by Bundy and Sterling but it is still a bit annoying. Not as annoying as “Where are your horns?” or “Do you have horns?” but even harmless questions can be stereotyping.

        TAL did a segment on internet gossip sites and small-town life. The reporter for TAL interviewed a local attorney (he helped uncover the slanderer and helped restore a guy’s reputation and this let him come back from Augusta.) The attorney told the reporter “You are the first China lady I’ve met…” The reporter’s reaction was “China lady? okay……”

        Again this is far more harmless than anything said by Bundy or Sterling but it still makes me grumpy and the reporter found it off-putting as well (based on her tone and surprise at the term China Lady.) We live in an age of mass communications and media, it should not be too hard to figure out that China Lady is an unacceptable term in the 21st Century even in a town that obviously did not have an Asian population. It also should not be too hard to figure out some basic facts about Jews and Judaism.

        There are times I can absolutely be a coastal elitist/snob and this can be very provincial. However, there are reasons why many minorities might choose to reside in bigger cities and often coastal ones.Report

      • Avatar Chris says:

        I can understand wanting to live in big cities (though you are limited even there), for a variety of reasons. I can even understand not wanting to live in whole regions of the country. In fact, we have been talking about getting the hell out of Texas when it becomes possible to do so, and have discussed several possible places to move. We’ve ruled entire states out, because my girlfriend is black (and a New Yorker), and she would not, with some reason, feel comfortable there, or feel comfortable with her brothers visiting her there. If you left it at, “I prefer living in the city, and diversity and prejudice are big reasons why,” I think most of us, perhaps not all but most of us, would say, “That’s cool” and leave it there. However, you only bring that up when you get heat for saying other things entirely.

        This is where you make your mistake, then: people are using a single standard, but when it is applied to you, you interpret it as a double standard because it is being applied to you.Report

      • @saul-degraw

        I agree with almost all of the pushback you’ve received for your rant, and rants being rants, the pushback is to be expected. And I might have said something similar if others hadn’t.

        But they said what they said and I see no need to pile on. So I’ll point out where I agree. I do have to admit that I see myself in some of what you said. I’m quick to engage in the defending and gainsaying you identify in your comment. I really do try to keep it in check. While I believe I really do seek out the nuance in those cases, it’s probably also that I’m quick to attack on these sites rather than listen to and engage with what others, and especially you, have to say. In my own personal case, I can’t chock it all off merely to defending nuance.

        And I am sheltered too in some ways. For example, I have a slightly better sense of what it’s like to be Jewish in a Christian-dominant society from having married into a Jewish family. I realize, for example, that I don’t have to worry about the casual and perhaps less harmful but still harmful cruelty, stereotyping, and just Christian-norming that my in-laws sometimes face. (At the same time, I see my Christian-privilege challenged, which is probably good for me in the long-run, but in the short-run causes me to get a little defensive and uncomfortable.)Report

    • Avatar Will Truman says:

      @stillwater Yeah. Put another way, the people I know who might say the sort of thing that that Cliven Bundy said… almost none of them would say what Donald Sterling did even in an unguarded moment.Report

    • Nob Akimoto Nob Akimoto says:

      I don’t think someone who continually mooches on government property and uses armed thugs to avoid penalties for doing shit can be considered a “decent” guy, no matter how far you try to stretch that definition. I don’t really see much difference between Bundy and Sterling except that Sterling comes from an environment where he ought to know better. Does that make him worse? Probably, but “decent” isn’t a particularly useful term for bigoted armed lunatics like Cliven Bundy.Report

    • Avatar Creon Critic says:

      I’m not sure how constructive a comparative racist remarks conversation can be.

      I do however want to point out that ignorance, as expressed by Bundy, can also constitute a really repugnant form of racism. It is not as though in our day and age one can’t get access to accurate information. I mean really, the vaunted circumstances of family life under chattel slavery? Non-recognition of slave families and sale of family members at the will of the owner. If one is often wondering, as Bundy claimed to be, one would think that would result in some sort of inquiry that would rather quickly enlighten him as to the less than stellar family life of slaves.

      And this, “I want to tell you one more thing I know about the Negro”, unless what follows is a W. E. B. DuBois level critical analysis, something the Souls of Black Folk level, there isn’t even a possibility that what follows isn’t just as sketchy as Sterling’s remarks. Can you imagine a sentence beginning that way and not concluding otherwise?

      I want to tell you one more thing I know about the Jew
      I want to tell you one more thing I know about the Arab
      I want to tell you one more thing I know about the Chinaman
      I want to tell you one more thing I know about the Jap


      • Avatar Will Truman says:

        I tend to think that the type of bigotry displayed by Bundy is, on a societal level, worse than the type displayed by Sterling. Mostly, though, because it’s more widespread. But if I am listening to someone say what Bundy said, and listening to someone say what Sterling did, my impression of each of them drops in both cases but further for the latter. So it’s sort of a question of whether we’re talking about a per-capita (per bigoted person) versus overall.Report

      • Avatar Patrick says:

        “I want to tell you one thing I know about the (blah)” is an opening line for a comedian, or it’s a colossal blunder about to happen. Or both.Report

      • Avatar Tod Kelly says:

        @creon-critic “I’m not sure how constructive a comparative racist remarks conversation can be.”

        Boy, I really disagree. A big part of the problem we have now with race issues in this country is that we *aren’t* willing to have those conversations.

        So the guy who feels the need to predominantly promote employees who subconsciously remind him of himself because they are white is either no different that a Clive Bundy (to some) or isn’t engaging in any kind of racism at all because they aren’t anything like Clive Bundy (to others). And then everybody just talks past one another and nothing changes.Report

      • Avatar Will Truman says:

        @tod-kelly I agree in the abstract. In this specific case, though, I think there is an argument to be made that both sets of comments are on the other side of whatever line where it’s worth comparing the two. I’m not sure I agree with that argument (I think I disagree with it, narrowly), but it’s not without merit. Not sure if CC is saying that it’s never worth it, or not worth it in this case.Report

      • Avatar Stillwater says:


        I agree with Tod that a conversation about racism requires making distinction between types. I’m in complete agreement with zic’s take on the distinction here:

        Or maybe more cautiously, given what I know right now I agree with that distinction.Report

      • Avatar Chris says:

        This reminds me that we need more black commenters.Report

      • Avatar Will Truman says:

        @stillwater As I say, I agree in general. I think there are some cases where you’re comparing two things of such odiousness that a comparison isn’t particularly worthwhile. I’m not convinced that’s the case here, but I could see how someone could make that determination in this particular case. The bit about slavery touches a particular nerve with me, though I still think I do see a worthwhile distinction.

        I agree that @zic ‘s comment was quite on target.Report

      • Avatar Chris says:

        Re: My comment about the need for black commenters. A bunch of white guys discussing the relative badness of two very bad racist comments (one, don’t bring black people around and don’t associate with them as long as you’re my girlfriend, and the other, that black people would be better off as slaves picking cotton), seems a bit like bus boys in Vegas talking about the relative dangers of safety lapses in West Virginia coal mines: sure, we can make some intuitive judgments based on what we know about people, but we’re still judging the relative harmfulness of stuff that has no real impact on us, and which we therefore have only indirect knowledge of.Report

      • Avatar Stillwater says:


        I sorta fundamentally reject that argument, myself. But thanks for the input!Report

      • Avatar Chris says:

        Still, it’s not that I think white people can’t talk about this stuff — I am white, after all, and I am talking about it — it’s just that I think input from people who are affected by these sorts of things would go a long way to helping us sort through some of the issues.Report

      • Avatar Delta Devil says:

        Bundy’s and Sterling’s comments are different kinds of ugly so it’s hard for a black man to compare. Are we talking about a neighbor or an employer? Sterling’s comments are so fucked up that I would almost consider them harmless if he weren’t in a position of power and authority. Bundy’s comments touch more of a nerve. Fucked up, for sure, but fucked up in a way that I worry that a lot of people think. I stopped worrying that a lot of people think like Sterling does a long time ago. If pushed up against a wall, I’d rather have Sterling as a neighbor and Bundy as a boss. But it’s not a comfortable line of thought either way.

        Now, what I think you folks are talking about is what these comments say about a person. That’s a white person conversation to have. Not that it doesn’t matter. Just that it doesn’t matter to me. You all are going to have to be the ones to try to talk bigots out of their bigotry because they don’t care what I have to say. So you have to figure out what these comments mean about the person. From my own view, both comments signal to me that they can’t be trusted and that I don’t want anything to do with them if I can avoid it.Report

      • Avatar Tod Kelly says:

        @delta-devil Thanks for chiming in. This in particular is helpful to me:

        “”Now, what I think you folks are talking about is what these comments say about a person. That’s a white person conversation to have… From my own view, both comments signal to me that they can’t be trusted and that I don’t want anything to do with them if I can avoid it.”

        Hope you stick around.Report

      • Avatar Creon Critic says:

        If discussants can keep in mind their own limitations when addressing topics at a remove from their immediate experience, then it can be a step forward that a discussion considering gender, race, sexual orientation, etc. can thoughtfully take place without participation of members of that group.

        A point that extends beyond identity markers, it is a productive thing if non-victims of violent crime can intelligently discuss what having been a victim of violent crime is like, non-refugees discuss what refugee status means, non-homeless people discuss the consequences of homelessness, and so on.

        There’re also problems with essentializing or generalizing from the individual discussion participant to how a larger community, itself diverse, would consider an issue. This comes to mind, And that isn’t to denigrate the authority that can come with saying “Speaking as a member of X community, I think that…” But that’s not always an authority one wants to claim or one wants to deploy.

        I think Zic mentioned this on another thread – about specifically choosing a gender-neutral identifier because of the kind of attention identifying oneself as female on the internet can bring. I think that can operate with respect to other identity markers as well. “On the Internet, nobody knows you’re a dog”, can have a kind of liberatory dimension.

        Lastly, there are a number of considerations one can keep in mind. Do I want to be known as the X race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, etc. commenter? Do I want to deploy that aspect of my identity in this conversation? Is the setting/discussion open enough to hear this particular perspective? Do I want to take whatever pushback may result from participating having revealed X about myself?

        Personally, I ask myself if I want to participate in certain race in America discussions full stop – I do admire the people who make intelligent contributions to those discussions, but worry about what it means for their ability to escape being narrowly cabined as the black guy on the NYT editorial page, the black guy at the Atlantic, and so on. (I am not white, btw)Report

      • Avatar Chris says:

        @delta-devil what Tod said.Report

      • Avatar Chris says:

        @creon-critic , I get where you’re coming from, and to some extent I agree. I don’t mean to imply that one or two black commenters would represent “black people” generally. However, with this conversation in particular, I couldn’t help escape the feeling that it was the sort of conversation that people who aren’t affected by the sentiments expressed by the two people in question would have, and people who are wouldn’t. I could be wrong, but because the conversation was making me a little bit uncomfortable, I talked about it a bit earlier with some people who are affected by such sentiments, and the basic reply I got is, “If someone’s a racist, they’re a racist.” I think this is similar to, but not identical to what Delta Devil was saying about not being able to trust either one of them. And that is not really where the conversation was, or where it looked to be heading, before Delta popped in.Report

      • Avatar Stillwater says:


        From my pov, being one of the participants, the conversation was about how I, as a white person, judge other white folks’ expressions (verbal or otherwise) of racism. Nowhere in the early parts of the thread did Will or I or anyone who chimed in to the other related comments attempt to describe, account for, explain away, assume, or attribute any particular type of response black folks should, do or would feel about it. So the two things are different topics of conversation in my view. As Delta said, what we were engaging in is a conversation between white people – one that isn’t particularly relevant to him. Which I think is the right view of it since what all of us were talking about in that context was for the most part a white person conversation about white folks reactions and accounts of racist acts. Black folks or other victims of racist actions or institutions could certainly participate in that discussion on any number of levels, it seems to me, for some of the reasons Creon mentioned and the conversation would be a better one if they did.

        I also agree with Creon that lived experience isn’t necessary to engage in a discussion of racism. However, including the views of people who have lived those experiences is necessary if the conversation is gonna be honest and make an attempt to be complete.

        Sorry about the shortness of my earlier response to you but that’s one area where I bristle just like conservatives.Report

    • Avatar Stillwater says:

      Nob and Creon,

      I’m not as prepared as you guys to view Bundy as a throwaway. With Sterling I’m on the fence.Report

      • Avatar Will Truman says:

        The juxtaposition of Sterling’s words with his history with the team seems pretty damning to me. But I’ll admit that I’m dealing with incomplete information.

        The history with the team makes the NAACP award that Kolohe mentions all the more surprising to me.Report

      • Avatar zic says:

        Bundy knew — or thought he knows — of a group of people, and his talk shows that he doesn’t know an as real people, and he’s an ignorant ass who’s notions of history are uninformed myths. He’s ignorant.

        Sterling actually employed people. They worked for him. He knew them. And saw them as subhumans.

        Bundy’s ignorance is pretty horrid; that any person can grow up in the US and think slaves had stable family life is inexcusable; a total damnation of how we teach our history.

        But Sterling? He’s the real deal; not a racist through ignorance, which is really the best defense Real Americans™ hold for the ongoing institutional racism in this country. No, he’s flat out a racist. He’s got a bad heart.Report

      • Avatar Will Truman says:

        I will say there seems to be a purposefulness to Bundy’s ignorance (if it’s that) which does put him on a different level than the average ignorant (or environment-induced) racist.

        Other than that (which isn’t really a disagreement), I agree.Report

      • Avatar Patrick says:

        I’m pretty much with zic on this one.

        I’d help Bundy out, in an emergency. I might not piss on Donald Sterling if he was on fire.

        Eh, that’s probably not true. I don’t *think* I’m quite that sort of person. But guys like Sterling push me really close to the wire.

        (I’ve lived in Los Angeles for quite a long time now, and the only surprise is that someone finally got Sterling on tape saying this stuff)Report

      • Avatar zic says:

        There’s also another thing about Sterling’s actions that disturb me: they are very much in line with abusive behavior — abusers often know to hide the behavior from others in public; and only shows it in private. I would speculate that he might have treated employees differently when no one else was around, for instance. Certainly, he thought he had a right to control who his girlfriend was seen in public with, disturbing in it’s own right.

        When someone has two different standards of behavior for themselves — this is how I want to appear in public, this is how I am in private — it suggests to me that they know what they’re doing is wrong; and that they continue to feel it’s okay and only a problem if they get caught. Which makes the scumminess even worse.Report

      • Avatar Saul DeGraw says:


        I agree and that is a very good point. The language of racism and bigotry can often be the language of oppression and control and it is just like abuse.Report

      • Avatar Chris says:

        Sterling has a black girlfriend, and listening to the tape, it sounds to me like he’s doing everything he can to convince himself that she’s not black, and to get her to stop reminding him that she’s black. That is seriously fucked up, and displays a level of racism that is deeply personal and disturbing.Report

      • Avatar Glyph says:

        I don’t plan to listen to the whole recording, because listening to some old racist involved with sports just doesn’t seem like the best use of my time (uninformedly commenting on blogs, however….) but I was curious about his intent too. From the blockquote above:

        You can sleep with [black people]. You can bring them in, you can do whatever you want. The little I ask you is not to promote it on that … and not to bring them to my games… I’m just saying, in your lousy f**king Instagrams, you don’t have to have yourself with, walking with black people… Don’t put [Magic Johnson] on an Instagram for the world to have to see so they have to call me.

        (emphases mine)

        So, she can sleep with black people (hey, not-racist, and possibly-kinky depending on their relationship status!), but he doesn’t want people calling him about it?

        It almost seems like he knows he has a prior (deserved, for all I know) rep as a racist, and it’s not so much that her *association* with black people bothers him, it’s that her public association with black people getting documented in pictures/on the web generates questions and gossip and dialogue for *him* to have to deal with (and hey – talk about a self-fulfilling prophecy, bub.)

        I don’t know that that really makes it any better, but the quoted part sounds like an old guy saying “I don’t care what you do, but given my prior history on the topic, I just don’t want to deal with the headache of having it out there for everyone to see, so keep it quiet.”

        (Which, to be fair, is close to something many people in open relationships might say, minus the race factors – in fact, the more I think about this, the more I am wondering if they have an unconventional/open relationship, which is intersecting with his views and history on race in a bad way).Report

      • Avatar Chris says:

        I heard it on ESPN last night. It goes further. He keeps telling her, you are Hispanic and white, that’s how people perceive you. Why do you have to go around publicly associating with black people? It’s really messed up.Report

      • Avatar Stillwater says:

        Chris, I agree with you that it’s fucked up. I was thinking about that very issue a bit last night and what struck me is that maybe Sterling views his black girlfriend is acceptable in “society” because she’s “rich-old-white-guy’s-society approved”. The very real worry he was trying to convey to her, tho, is that just because she’s black and ROWGS approved she’d be very wrong to think that her black friends are too. And he had to remind her that it don’t work that way.Report

      • Avatar Stillwater says:


        Are you accounting for his comments by saying they were motivated by his desire to keep his infidelity under wraps?

        That doesn’t make any sense to me given the entirely public nature of his relationship with her.Report

      • Avatar Kazzy says:

        She can be black, but she can’t act black.

        It’s weird that Magic Johnson was the hill he decided to die on. Magic Johnson is a man who slides gracefully through a variety of worlds — and always has. Sterling would be lucky to have such a man in his circle. When the Elgin Baylors and Magic Johnsons of the world decide they want no part of one of the 30 most powerful people in the basketball men in the world, it’s very telling.Report

      • Avatar Will Truman says:


        Up above I said that “almost none” of the racist people I know would make comments quite the way Sterling did. I almost said “none” but one came to mind, and it’s right down the alley of what you’re talking about.

        Next door to me was a widow lady I’ll name Mrs. Martin. Next to her was a white family that had, in addition to their three biological children, adopted a baby of South American descent whose skin was fell on the dark side of Hispanic, who I will call Lucy. (More people than not would have assumed she was black rather than Hispanic, though she didn’t quite look either and I don’t know enough about her geneology to say for sure that she was Hispanic Black.) Mrs. Martin cared for us and cared for the children of the family on the other side. If she showed any disfavoritism towards Lucy (apart from the rest of this story), I never saw it. In some ways, she may have actually favored Lucy a little insofar as she was (a) a girl, which were in short supply on our street, and (b) better behaved than most of her siblings.

        Anyway, when Lucy was in middle school (she developed at a young age), she was dating the star of the basketball team. A tall, muscular black guy named Stephen. Mrs. Martin expressed concern. That in and of itself wouldn’t have been surprising, except for her rationale. Which basically was that her dating Stephen meant that white guys wouldn’t date her. This would put her on the “black” side of her racial and ethnic ambiguity (not her phrasing, but that was I think what she meant) which was not what she wanted at all.

        It was kind of jaw-dropping for me at the time (and I still remember it all these years later). It’s not that racism was a shocking thing, but this particular manifestation of it was new to me. The notion of straddling a racial line. That potential suitors would determine Lucy’s race on the basis of who she dated.

        In Mrs. Martin’s mind, I’m sure, her concern was an expression of love. And in her own way, I’m sure it was. But it was based on some really warped perceptions. It was a sort of love that loved Lucy despite something that was fundamental to who she was. I mean, I didn’t think that much of her race because to me she was always the proverbial Girl Next Door, but I have no doubt that she had to deal with it in ways I didn’t appreciate at the time. It was a part of who she was, and “loving” her despite that is a very incomplete sort of affection.

        It’s still something I cannot fully grasp.

        Another interesting thing is that is the only racist comment of hers that I remember. Which is almost unsettling, in a way.

        A last thing I will state, for the record, that if and when I talk about people with unfortunate or abhorrant racial views of otherwise decent people, she doesn’t exactly qualify. She loved me like a son. I loved her like a second or third mother. We had a bond. But you know how there are some people you care for that when they leave your life it’s almost like an emotional burden has been lifted. That was her. Apart from the affection derived from contact and history, it’s hard not to see her as primarily being selfish, bitter, and mean. That I was in the tight circle of people that she cared for and cared about doesn’t really change that. She was not without positive qualities, but they were pretty overwhelmed by negative ones. Racist or no.Report

      • Avatar Michael Drew says:


        It almost seems like he knows he has a prior (deserved, for all I know) rep as a racist, and it’s not so much that her *association* with black people bothers him, it’s that her public association with black people getting documented in pictures/on the web generates questions and gossip and dialogue for *him* to have to deal with[.]

        Really makes you wonder about his social circles, right? It kind of reminds me of the thing with McCain’s daughter in the 2000 GOP primary or something. Like segregation isn’t talked about openly anymore and certainly isn’t official policy, but is certainly something that Decent People of a Certain Sort still choose to maintain in their free social interactions – and raise eyebrows about when others in that Category don’t.

        …And on reading that, what actually strikes me about it is how mundane and obvious it is. Maybe I’m just being naive.Report

    • Avatar Barry says:

      “I heard Cliven’s comments I was pretty sure (and still am to some degree) that he’s a decent enough guy who lacks self-awareness and used a terrible analogy (one he still stands by, apparently) to describe the situation inner city black Americans live in. ”

      It’s not a ‘terrible’ analogy, it’s a flat-out lie, and once which serves to lie further about slavery.

      If I gave you a choice between living like an ‘inner city black American’ or living as a slave, I have no doubt which option you’d take.Report

  11. Avatar Burt Likko says:

    Re: the Clippers.

    Why aren’t they the San Diego Clippers or the Anaheim Clippers? Is it particularly necessary that they share Staples Center with the Lakers and the (NHL) Kings? It works out well while the Lakers are retrenching that the Clippers have a good enough team to field, but as Tod notes in the OP this is despite and not because of the ownership.

    The Commissioner could do a Marge Schott thing, or he could impose an operational receivership on the team, leaving Sterling still entitled to receipts and profits but putting the management and operations in the hands of a selected control group (who should be mostly African-Americans as there is no shortage of business and basketball talent available). For the good of the league.Report

  12. Nob Akimoto Nob Akimoto says:

    I have to admit, I’m less surprised by this than wondering if, in some sense, there might be more of these attitudes among owners, particularly given the NBA’s general history of how it treats the NBAPA.

    I’m wondering what sort of things get said during owner association meetings.Report

    • Avatar Tod Kelly says:

      The NBA owners rarely meet in person. There are some that are pretty hands on (Mark Cuban is the most obvious example), but for the most part NBA franchises are vanity/luxury items. Most owners send legal representation to discuss their interests.Report

      • Avatar Saul DeGraw says:


        Are NBA teams generally cash-loosing operations? When I hear something is a vanity item like this, I generally think it loses money for some reason. Newspapers are another example.Report

      • Avatar Jesse Ewiak says:

        @saul-degraw From what I read and remember from the last NBA lockout, some teams were money losers (mostly the horrible ones in small markets), but other teams made out bandits. However, after the latest collective bargaining agreement, which was bad as it could be for the union, along with the fact that the NBA is likely to sign a massive new TV agreement in the next season or two, plus the fact the talent within the league is the highest in a generation has meant that league values have skyrocketed. For example, the Milwaukee Bucks, a team that was last relevant 10 years ago and last won a title in the 70’s (I think) sold for $550 million dollars and likely would’ve sold for more if it hadn’t been a sale with an agreement to stay in Milwaukee.Report

      • Avatar Mike Schilling says:

        No one knows which teams (if any) lose money, because they don’t open their books. They cry poverty during contract negotiations, but, as Jess points out, franchise value keeps going up. Sterling bought the Clippers for $12 million in 1981. If he’s forced to sell the team, he’ll get on the order of $600 million. Maybe more: unlike most forced sales, this one could involve lots of bidders.Report

  13. Avatar Kazzy says:

    It seems worth noting that the woman Sterling was talking to identifies as black and Mexican.

    His comments are appalling. While I agree with the sentiment expressed above that there is something concerning about taking someone’s property because of deplorable comments and views, the unique structure of the NBA makes it more justifiable. I don’t believe that the NBA enjoys the same anti-trust exemption that other sports leagues do. However, players — employees — still have limited control over their team — their place of work. If I found out my boss said such things or held such views, I could quit tomorrow, walk away, and seek employment at another school. Chris Paul can’t do that. If he walked away from his contract, he couldn’t seek employment with another NBA team. Blake Griffin has no choice but to begin his career with the Clippers. So long as Sterling is going to sign checks and exert such control over his employees — the overwhelming majority of which are African-American — it seems that the League holds him to certain standards and, absent his ability to meet them, restricts his ability to exercise such authority over the lives and livelihood of others.

    Mike Wilbon had some great thoughts on this he shared on ESPN this morning. I understand Magic addressed the situation during today’s pre game show, but I didn’t get to catch it. His initial response — that Sterling didn’t have to worry about him ever attending another Clippers game — was marvelous. Unfortunate that it had to be said, but marvelous nonetheless.Report

  14. Avatar Kazzy says:

    “In that recording, the woman purported to be Stiviano asks, “Do you know that you have a whole team that’s black that plays for you?”

    The man, purported to be Sterling, responds: “You just, do I know? I support them and give them food, and clothes, and cars, and houses. Who gives it to them? Does someone else give it to them? Do I know that I have — Who makes the game? Do I make the game, or do they make the game? Is there 30 owners, that created the league?””

    I give them cars! Why would they have anything to complain about?


    • Avatar Barry says:

      “I give them cars! Why would they have anything to complain about?”

      Classic right-wing ‘makers’ vs. ‘takers’ idea.Report

      • Avatar J@m3z Aitch says:

        Beatiful @barry, you just couldn’t avoid making this about ideology, could you? I’d say you jumped in with both left feet in your mouth.Report

  15. Avatar Kazzy says:

    I doubt it will happen, but I would love to see the players stage some sort of protest. Refuse to take the court for the game. Maybe even enlist the other team in a show of solidarity. You don’t want black people at your games? Fine. Don’t expect Paul or Griffin or Rivers or any of the rest to show up today.Report

  16. Avatar zic says:

    How very American this all is. The NBA rightfully insists Sterling will receive due process.

    When asked about this in a press conference, Obama schools us on the importance of giving people enough rope:

    Even President Barack Obama weighed in.
    At a press conference with Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak on Sunday, Obama was asked about the comments on the recording.

    “When ignorant folks want to advertise their ignorance, you don’t really have to do anything, you just let them talk. That’s what happened here,” the President said.

    Obama also said Sterling’s alleged comments are an example of how “the United States continues to wrestle with the legacy of race and slavery and segregation.”

    Magic’s boycotting the Clippers long as Sterling’s the owner. As Partrick so elegantly pointed out yesterday in the Bundy thread, right to association shares equal footing with free speech.

    But most interesting of all is that this may all have been spurred by Sterling’s wife’s angst over the gifts Sterling gave Stiviano; and it will get prime-time space with the playoffs coming and because so much of the media machine involved, from broadcast to news reporting, (including the linked article) are all Time Warner properties.


    • Avatar Saul DeGraw says:

      I am actually a really big fan of letting people shoot themselves in the foot via free speech.Report

    • Avatar Michael Drew says:


      I think Obama could have chosen a better metaphor to bury this dude with.

      It’s actually quite disturbingly revealing of Obama’s cavalier attitude toward privacy – or at least might be – that he understands the publication of a conversation someone understood to be private (too bad for him that his interlocutor had no such understanding) to be “advertising” the views expressed in that conversation. What does that say about how private or public, as a first-blush matter, he understands whatever any of us might have to say to each other in what we individually might think of as a private conversation to be?

      Now, this is no lament for the frustration of the expectation Mr. Sterling might have had that his comments would be held in confidence by his acquaintance. That is between them (or perhaps not quite, as I understand it under California law). Speaker beware. But given the difficulties Obama has had on the subject of privacy, I do wonder at his characterization of the act of speaking words the speaker in any case anticipated would be confidential as “advertisement.” If those words reflect an attitude about private communication that Obama is laboring under generally, well, right there we can see where a big part of his problem dealing with that issue in other contexts might come from.

      In any case it’s a disturbing, and especially disturbing if truly revealing, turn of phrase that I don’t much like hearing from my president. Expressing appropriate disdain for this man’s attitudes in no way required Obama to employ exactly that line of thought about communication and advertisement. that leads me to think that in fact, it is revealing. And that’s, again, disturbing and disappointing for me to hear from this president.Report

      • Avatar Jesse Ewiak says:

        @michael-drew Look, I understand on privacy, Obama is history’s greatest monster. But, do you really think the guy got more info from his staffers about this than, “hey, the guy who owns the Clippers got taped by his girlfriend making racist remarks. Here’s a transcript.”Report

      • Nob Akimoto Nob Akimoto says:

        …yeah, uh, this is going way into parsing too far into a different direction.Report

      • Avatar Michael Drew says:


        You know that I don’t think he is. I’m terribly two-handed when it comes to the legit questions on surveillance policy. There are ways in which I think Obama has charted a reasonable choice. there ar just also moment when I get the sense he doesn’t really internalize the kind of concern that people worried about privacy earnestly have. Hell, I’m quite sure *I* don’t internalize it very well myself. I’m pretty relaxed about privacy as ageneral matter. But I think this statement suggests, and could reflect, a real blindspot in how he thinks about the issue that I, privacy complacent that I am, find disturbing.

        On his level of awareness of the situation, I disagree. Obama’s a basketball fan and a voracious consumer of news. I’m 100% sure he was as read-in as any of us were.


        Nah. Not at all. Ultimately I might be wrong that this suggests a defect in the way he thinks about privacy, but it’s entirely possible that I am not. And the record of handling the policy – and the public justification and positioning of the policy – certainly would be consistent with a blindspot like the one this statement seems to suggest. Either way, it’s a disturbing statement.Report

      • Nob Akimoto Nob Akimoto says:

        I think that you read it as a disturbing statement says more about your own perceptions than anything about the President. I really don’t think he’s signalling anything to do with his attitude on privacy, but rather his attitude on racism, which is that there are certain privileged people who will hang themselves if given enough rope.Report

      • Avatar Michael Drew says:

        Expressing my perceptions is what I am doing, yes. I certainly am not saying he’s not primarily describing his views on racism. That’s what he’s doing intentionally. I also think “signal” has come to take on a more intentional meaning than it may have had in the past, so I wouldn’t say i think he’s ‘signaling’ a view on privacy. I just think he may have revealed one to some extent in the course of speaking about race. I also acknowledge that he may have no corresponding attitude. Neither you nor I know for sure one way the other. It is certainly a matter of perception and inference. But you can’t say that his policies on surveillance and privacy, even if you, like I, aren’t in as violent disagreement with them as some are, don’t give us reason to wonder about and look for indications about what his underlying attitudes on privacy might be.Report

      • Avatar StevetheCat says:

        I think the proper lesson to take away from Obama’s statement is that the US press corps is an embarrassment to this country.
        We should bar them from leaving US territory.

        Thoughts of a US reporter:
        “We’re in Malaysia and we have the President of the United States and the Malaysian Prime Minister.
        What question should I ask?
        Chinese territorial expansionism or ……. LA Clippers.
        LA Clippers, that’s the ticket!

        It’s good that the President explained the Clippers are a basketball team because I doubt too many people were aware of this …. in the US.Report

      • Avatar zic says:


        Let people reveal themselves was his point; I doubt you were his target audience. And it was a press conference, not a prepared speech. Advertising has several meanings; I took it in this situation to mean something along the lines of displaying your true colors.

        Privacy is important; but government spying on folks and a private individual revealing a private conversation she was part of seems apples and oranges to me.Report

      • Avatar Michael Drew says:


        They’re definitely apples & oranges. So I’m not comparing them. (Though of course one can compare apples to oranges.) her revealing this conversation isn’t remotely like a government surveillance program in any way. The issue is just the way he feels comfortable describing the nature of Sterling’s expression there as “advertisement.”

        With the ability to understand/characterize expressions intended to be private that way when it’s convenient, one imagines it’s much easier to work through the moral calculus of a surveillance program he probably would think is justified even without that ability, but whose costs to privacy concerns he really relates to would be much more keenly felt. It also would explain his inability to defend or position the programs in a way that begins to give those offended by them the sense that he’s really doing the balancing of their concerns against other imperatives (as his job ultimately requires) in a way that actually comprehends the depth of their feelings on the matter. (In fairness, the latter might well be an impossible aim, not least because those folks often aren’t willing to allow for such a possibility under any circumstances.)Report

      • Avatar zic says:


        The word advertise has several meanings, one is to make a quality or fact known.

        I won’t defend Obama when it comes to the security state, but here, you’re failing to hear the meaning he used and conflating two serious issues our nation faces — racism and privacy.Report

      • Avatar Michael Drew says:

        I’d like to hear Obama say what advertising he thinks Sterling did in “what happened here.”Report

      • Avatar Michael Drew says:

        …And I’m not conflating the issues. I’m not saying the issue Obama was speaking to and the issue I think one small part of his language suggested something about his thinking on are in any (significant) way related, much less the same. It’s not conflation of two issues to note the way a politician uses language about one issue and consider what it says about his thinking on an issue implicated by that language.Report

      • Avatar Barry says:

        Having one’s mistress or scorned wife spilling the beans is a rather old tradition. I wonder how old the first recorded account in history of this is?Report

  17. Avatar Jaybird says:

    I imagine that we’ll eventually have stories about employers firing workers for things the worker said in the privacy of the worker’s home.

    Never say anything you wouldn’t want quoted to an employer, I guess.Report

    • Avatar Chris says:

      Two differences: he’s not an employee, he’s capital, he has power over his black employees, one, and two, he has a history of racist business practices, for which he has been fined. This is sort of the last straw in a long history of straw.

      I imagine an employee who has a history of being a racist ass toward other employees and then gets caught on tape saying some really racist shit would get fired by most companies. And good riddance.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird says:

        I imagine that it will be somewhat difficult to justify the principle that we can fire capital but not employees. It’ll be easier to just say that a bigoted ass is a bigoted ass and good riddance.

        As for the second difference, I suppose that that’s a good point… but it wouldn’t surprise me to see that fall away depending on the juiciness of the quotes heard by HR.Report

      • Avatar Chris says:

        More difficult, maybe, but I think most people intuitively understand the difference between labor and capital, and even management and labor, and understand it will enough to get different consequences.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird says:

        I dunno. There might still be enough of an egalitarian streak in the good old US of A to say that a law that applies to this class should also apply to that one.

        But, hey, if we finally find an offense that causes worse things to happen to people the more privileged they are?

        Well, that’s about time, isn’t it?

        I doubt we’ve finally achieved that, though.Report

      • Avatar Chris says:

        It’s not a matter of having different laws, but of holding people to different standards depending on the amount of damage they can do. So a person who wields a great deal of influence, even control, over the lives of people gets held to a different standard than a person who has none. This doesn’t seem at all inconsistent with the way we treat people generally. I mean, if a team has a losing season, who is held more responsible, the guy who averages a minute or two of garbage time per gamemor the coach and general manager?

        Is this anti-egalitarian, or is it an understanding that power and responsibility are correlated?Report

      • Avatar Jaybird says:

        Chris, I’m not talking about something like the millionaires vs. billionaires fights that we see in basketball. More like “Bob in accounting is getting divorced and, in the proceedings, it came out that he regularly gave short rants about African-Americans being better off before Johnson’s War On Poverty got started due to cultural issues like marriage and bastardry. He even used that word! ‘Bastardry’!”

        Wouldn’t that make you double-check how he rated his team-mates when it came time to hand out evaluations/raises? Does our company really need to keep putting money into Bob’s pockets? Couldn’t we hire someone just as qualified as Bob but who costs less?

        Is protecting Bob’s right to be a virulent racist really the hill you want to die on, here?

        (Note: I’m not arguing “unless we pretend to like Sterling, we’ll have this happen to Bob!” as much as “in a few years, we’ll see stuff like this come up with relation to Bob and we won’t hear that many arguments about how it’s okay for accountants to think this because they aren’t management.” Privacy is going away and you won’t want to say anything in the comfort of your own basement that you won’t want read to your boss.)Report

      • To add on to @chris ‘s point, I’ll also say that in practice, employees can be fired for the same reason. If they’re at will, they can be fired for any reason not prohibited by law, which includes private statements (except, I guess, at a religious service). If they’re contract employees, they can usually be fired for cause, which could arguably include private racist statements that somehow make their way public and reflect poorly on an organization and after a series of other actions that are also racist and reflect poorly on an organization.

        I’m not a big fan of firing people for private behavior myself. And if this example were in isolation and Mr. Sterling were otherwise a, err, sterling example of a good manager–or good enough manager meeting minimal standards of good treatment to his employees–I might see the situation differently.Report

      • @jaybird

        You wrote your comment while I was writing mine. And frankly, Bob the accountant can be and might be fired today for that reason. I wouldn’t necessarily like it, but if he makes that rant on the job and after a series of very suspect actions, then I’m not sure I’d defend him.

        Now, Mr. Sterling made these particular comments in private, apparently, and not on the job. And even though I’m going to say “but…,” I have to acknowledge that your point is a fair one. But…..Mr. Sterling’s position is a public one so that his private actions and statements do represent on his business. I think under some rubric, that changes the calculus a bit. If Bob the accountant is speaking as and is known to speak as “the accountant for x company,” then the situation would be very similar. (But even then, I have to admit that I’d have a hard time defending the justness of Bob the accountant’s firing unless there were aggravating factors.)Report

      • Avatar Jaybird says:

        And frankly, Bob the accountant can be and might be fired today for that reason. I wouldn’t necessarily like it, but if he makes that rant on the job and after a series of very suspect actions, then I’m not sure I’d defend him.

        For the record, I’d like to give my example a second time:

        “Bob in accounting is getting divorced and, in the proceedings, it came out that he regularly gave short rants about African-Americans (insert rant content here)”Report

      • Avatar Chris says:

        First, I’m not trying to die on any hill. Simply saying that I don’t think Sterling’s case reflects a trend.

        There may be a trend, and as I think about it more, given how tenuous labor’s employment status tends to be, it’d be nice if capital felt the same level of insecurity, but I don’t think this case reflects one.

        As I said below, I think we’re opening unfortunate cans of worms when we treat private, out of work statements as public statements, because ultimately it’s going to be yet another tool for power. However, if it comes out that you are a virulent racist, that’s not really something you can put back in the bag. The best solution to that problem is to not be a virulent racist.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird says:

        I kinda see it as a trend with what recently happened to Brendan Eich.

        But I understand the old reporter’s saw is that you don’t get to call it a “trend” until you have three examples. So I will concede the point. But if that third example shows up…Report

      • Avatar Chris says:

        Well, Eich got in a mess for political contributions, which were public information. This is a dude whose public racism didn’t get him in any real PR trouble until he said some truly virulent things and someone recorded it. The two situations only look the same to me on a pretty abstract level, a level that doesn’t license many inferences.Report

      • Avatar zic says:


        Here you go. Silicon Valley tech startup founder/CEO ousted for beating his girlfriend. I believe the board of the company fired him. So it’s a trend.

      • Avatar Chris says:

        Now that’d be a nice trend.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird says:

        I’m willing to say that the trend I’m looking for relies heavily on ugly but not-technically-illegal speech.

        So wife-beating wouldn’t exactly apply. (Pleaded guilty to two charges, got community service and probation. Always buy tickets to the policeman’s ball, I guess.)Report

      • Avatar zic says:


        He beat her for over a half hour, striking her over 140 times. There was security footage that the judge through out as a violation of the 4th, and she didn’t dare to press charges and testify. (This is horribly common of domestic abuse victims.)

        He was fired not because of the case, but because of the twitter outrage that followed. That’s why it’s part of the trend.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird says:

        I suppose that that is a different trend and, I suppose, all to the good. Incontravertable evidence suppressed by a corrupt justice system making it to the public is only to everyone’s benefit, at the end of the day.

        But I’m more wondering about stuff that isn’t illegal getting scrutiny.Report

      • Avatar zic says:


        I get the legal/illegal divide you’re creating as a trend marker; I’d put it as an issue of properly vetting corporate heads because they’re private behavior has potential to reflect on the companies they run.

        In Eich’s case (clearly the most controversial for this discussion,) it was an attempt to enshrine bigotry into the law.

        In the case I linked to above, dude pretty much got off with a hand slap for what should have landed him in prison for a spell; but it wasn’t until individuals began lobbying his company’s customers (Conde Nast, in particular), that his board decided he was too much a liability.

        But here’s Sterling’s priors; and they include sexual harassment:

        So the trend I’m spotting is: if you’re a bigot or misogynist and you will get called out; being rich, powerful, or the head of a corporation will not shield you, it increases your problems because you are the face and moral compass of your company.Report

      • Avatar Saul DeGraw says:


        There are going to be times when the legal/illegal category is hazy and a judgment call.

        The RadiumOne CEO was arrested and charged with 45 felonies. The felonies were dropped because his girlfriend (or ex-girlfriend) refused to cooperate in the investigation (this is typical for domestic violence cases, they involve a lot of complicated psychology.) The video seized was suppressed on 4th Amendment grounds.

        The CEO of RadiumOne released a letter to the Internet that accused his victim of having sex for money with other men. This might or might not be true but that is irrelevant. She didn’t deserve to be beaten and if the guy released the letter and it was false, I can see why a company would not want a slanderer or defamer as their CEO.

        Generally, I agree that non-illegal activity should be protected and it should be illegal to terminate employees for their activities outside of the workplace if legal but it can be very tricky and complicated. I would say there is a difference between someone going to an S&M convention or a swinger party and someone choosing to be like ViolentAcrez on reedit.Report

    • Avatar Chris says:

      In other words, this is not a case of people reacting rashly to something someone said one time in private. This is people reacting rationally to someone finally getting busted for saying something his behavior had revealed for some time.Report

      • Avatar Michael Drew says:

        I largely buy this point, which seems to be emerging as the prevailing liberal framing.

        But it’s worth reflecting on what it implies. Do we really think the reaction would be so different if he were a guy who had managed to keep these attitudes under wraps for the most part throughout his life, and had scrupulously avoided allowing them to corrupt his business practices as this guy had?

        Do we really, really think it should be? Are we saying that if someone who didn’t have any of these business practices in his past and had many fewer lapses in preventing these views from creeping into public view had been caught saying the exact same words, that we would be saying that anyone calling for the NBA franchise of his basketball club to be pulled would be wrong? Are we even sure we wouldn’t be joining them in making such calls?

        Any expression of the views that Sterling expressed in that call seems to me to be nearly flatly inconsistent with qualification to be the owner of a basketball team with an NBA franchise. I feel that way to a level about 90-95% confidence. The other 5-10% is more than a little uncomfortable with that view and with other 90+%’s comfort with it, however. I’m still thinking about why that is.

        But as I wrote this, I’d say the extent to which I buy that this idea – that “It’s really his past record that makes the difference here” – is something that actually reflects the reality of the considerations for people (again: without the record, would/should the reaction really be that different?), rather than a rationalization that allows them not to have to look too closely at why it is that that last 5% of them is uncomfortable with what 95% of them feels, fell substantially.Report

      • Avatar Chris says:

        Framing? Talk about a word that has lost its meaning.

        Look, people display a remarkable ability to forgive money. Sterling, whose racism has been the subject of public and private discussion in the media, the courts, and the back rooms and locker rooms of the NBA for some time, is evidence of that. That it has taken this long to reach a point at which people are discussing getting rid of him suggests, if anything, that we are damn careful with our reaction to racists with money. Perhaps I have it backwards, then, and Jay’s concerns are the reverse of the reality we’re observing.

        However, I am pretty sure that if this dude had said what he said with no history of clear racism, while some people would be calling for his head (this is the internet age, of course), in the end he’d get a public slap on the wrist and a private admonishment to pick more loyal girlfriends. Because again, we are remarkably forgiving of money, and tend to react with winks and nudges until they’ve beaten us over the head with the unacceptable so many times that we can barely see for the blood.

        Part of me thinks that a dude who thinks like that has no place in polite society. Most of me has no idea how to enforce what that part thinks without creating all sorts of problems, particularly since in the end the people with power are going to determine what gets enforced.Report

      • Avatar Michael Drew says:

        It hasn’t lost its meaning. It has a pretty clear meaning, and a useful one. What Lemieux offers there is a framing of the issue. We both know exactly what I mean by that – and is it a misleading or obfusactory meaning? Maybe we could find another word to convey the same idea, but what would be the point of expending the energy? “Framing” hasn’t lost its meaning. It has a perfectly clear and quite useful one.

        For myself, I had no idea what his history was. And I didn’t get the sense on Saturday that anyone particularly cared. it seemed quite clear to me that people wanted him gone on the strength of the comments, and that the history only added to that. The history has become a convenient rationalization for that perhaps swift judgement in my estimation. But I actually don’t think it’s a wrong judgement. I don’t know how the League can have a guy whose said these things as an owner, whatever the history or lack thereof.

        But I don’t think for a second that that if the history hadn’t been there the reaction would be significantly different.Report

      • Avatar Chris says:

        I’m not sure what the frame is. There are facts, which include that he has a history of racism that was public knowledge: this is at least the third legal proceeding in which his racism has been an issue, and employees have been grumbling about it for years, including former players and management. It is in this context that he makes the statements that he does, and that many people react. And as I said, I’m quite certain people would be calling for his head if this is all they knew of him.

        What is the frame there? Frames are not facts, they’re the conceptual scheme through which we organize facts. Flesh it out for me.

        I’ve laid out two frames in this subthread: 1) Because labor and capital are different on relevant dimensions, they should be treated differently, and 2) people are forgiving of money, which is why a.) this dude has gotten as far as he has without being shitcanned and b.) this case is not evidence of a trend that will spread downward (though it may be evidence of a trend spreading upward, now that I think about it).Report

      • Avatar Michael Drew says:

        I don’t have any quibble with either of your frames, Chris. I didn’t have them in mind when I wrote.

        The frame I’m talking about is the one that suggests the track record is a key and necessary justifier for any all-out effort to remove him from any major role in the NBA spurred proximately by the revelation of these comments. I fully accept that the track record could/would be a major factor in such a removal where the proximate incident is much more moderate and less inflammatory than this. I just don’t accept that these comments wouldn’t have produced nearly the exact same reaction even in absence of the track record. It’s certainly relevant to the moral case for an effort at removal. I just think the comments themselves are probably sufficient justification on their own for a guy in this position, and I think people would have acted like they were if there hadn’t been the track record.Report

    • Avatar Barry says:

      He won’t be fired; he’ll either sell his team or lose his franchise, likely for violating specific clauses in it Rather vague specific clauses, of course 🙂

      And I don’t recall your history of backing employees over management.Report

  18. Avatar zic says:

    According to Slate, NAACP has nixed the award.Report

  19. Avatar ScarletNumbers says:

    It is worth nothing that California is an all-party consent state when it comes to recording telephone conversations.

    Therefore, someone broke the law by recording this conversation.

    Furtherfore, Sterling seems to be the victim of extortion.Report

    • Avatar Mike Schilling says:

      I don’t get the last point. Was there a threat made that the tape would be released unless he did X?Report

      • Avatar ScarletNumbers says:

        We’ll find out as it plays out.Report

      • Avatar Tod Kelly says:

        Last night TNT was reporting that Clippers upper management was telling the press off the record that the girlfriend had been caught stealing money, and had threatened to release the tapes if they pursued her. It’s what I was referring to when I wrote:

        “Indeed, reports on TNT seem to indicate that the entire reason the tape is being released at all is due to Sterling’s non-careful practice of repeatedly picking up, surrounding himself, and then legally threatening they type of women my mother would have referred to as “bimbos.” ”

        To my mind, it’s entirely unrelated to the issue of what the NBA needs to do to Sterling. The most you can say about it is that if it is true, the girlfriend isn’t particularly sympathetic and that after however many lawsuits/payoffs from and to previous gal “friends” Sterling has had over the years, he seems incapable of learning.Report

    • Avatar Patrick says:

      While California is effectively an all-party consent state when it comes to recording of telephone calls, it’s also a misdemeanor.

      I’ll note: I have problems with California’s recording laws, but on the whole they’re better than many states. Although it’s not exactly an all-party consent state, either.Report

    • Avatar j r says:

      “Victim of extortion?”

      That is a funny statement when you consider the nature of Sterling’s relationship with V Stiviano.Report

  20. Avatar Mike Schilling says:

    If I told you there was one pundit dumb enough to be defending Donald Sterling, who would you guess it was?

    One more clue: his defense would be to judge Sterling, not by a few private remarks, but by his deeds: something that could only be said by someone both ignorant of Sterling’s long history of racist actions and too lazy to do any fact-checking before he opened his yap.

    OK, who is it?

    Yup, you got it in one.Report

    • Avatar Burt Likko says:

      I failed. My guess was “Dick Morris.”Report

      • Avatar Mike Schilling says:

        Half-credit, but next time remember: being too lazy to check your facts isn’t the same as being a pathological liar.Report

      • Avatar Barry says:

        Burt, you’re not to blame; there’s a looooooooooooooooooooooooooong list of fools (and a-holes) in punditry who were likely candidates. Many of them who have been punditing for decades and have prestigious awards.

        Off the top of my head:

        Kristoff (sp? NYT)
        Cohen (i.e., the guy who recently figured out that ‘slavery iz bad’)
        The WaPo editorial page
        The WSJ editorial page
        The National Review staff
        The Weekly Standard staff
        Rod DreherReport

    • Nob Akimoto Nob Akimoto says:

      Oh, Bill Kristol.

      I thought it was gonna be Hannity or O’Reilly or something.Report

  21. Avatar Damon says:

    What I think is funny is that he gets fined for not renting to blacks and hispancs, tells his GF not associate with blacks, and all that other stuff, and his GF is hispanic/black. This seems a bit confusing. It’d make more sense if he was dating a white chick.

    Does this not strike anyone else as odd. If you don’t associated with certain races professionally, and have a dim view of them, why would you be dating one? Yeah, see seems pretty attractive, but if you don’t like blacks/hispanics, I doubt you find females of that type attractive either.Report

    • Avatar zic says:

      No, it’s not strange.


    • Avatar Jesse Ewiak says:

      @damon – Um, there’s this film called 12 Years A Slave. Or well, the history of socially acceptable sexual abuse by black women by white men from the years of “Whenever the First Black Female Landed on American Shores” to about forty years.Report

    • Avatar Mo says:

      Not really. Look at Strom Thurmond.Report

    • Avatar Barry says:

      “What I think is funny is that he gets fined for not renting to blacks and hispancs, tells his GF not associate with blacks, and all that other stuff, and his GF is hispanic/black. This seems a bit confusing. It’d make more sense if he was dating a white chick.”

      Have you heard that that KKK guy who killed some people in Missouri had been previously arrested after being caught ‘performing salacious acts’ in the back seat of his car with a black male transvestite ‘professional’? IIRC, he stated that he had picked the ‘professional’ up to beat him up and then – something, I dunno.Report

  22. Avatar Burt Likko says:

    Alsotoo, there’s this deposition excerpt floating about on the Tubes:

    Don’t know if it’s genuine, although I’ve taken depositions that went that way.Report

    • Avatar Stillwater says:

      I read that this morning and apparently it’s legitimate. It’s also darkly hilarious. The Deadspin article I linked to upthread includes quite a few more examples of Sterling’s free association, stream of consciousness ramblings, in that case taken from the same recording as the comments which started this whole thing.

      He’s an interesting guy.Report

      • Avatar Burt Likko says:

        I’ve had clients, and I’ve taken adverse witness depositions, that go like this — you ask a question and you get some random words in response. Most of the time the words make sense when strung together but really don’t have a damn thing to do with the question you just asked (as exemplified in Sterling’s story of being orally serviced in the back of a limousine, after having been asked to authenticate handwriting). Can’t say as I’ve had the pleasure of deposing Donald Sterling himself, though.

        You’d thing that Sterling, himself a member of the Bar, would know better. But from where I sit, membership in the California State Bar, and $4.50 will get you a tall latte at Starbucks and not much more than that.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird says:

        The tweet that said “Sir the question was” is enough to make me laugh most days. made me laugh out loud.Report

      • Avatar zic says:

        Perhaps, as a member of the bar, he’s working was working on a mentally-incompetent defense?Report

    • Avatar Barry says:

      “Don’t know if it’s genuine, although I’ve taken depositions that went that way.”

      Burt, what does it feel like when a client does that?

      When chalking up wins and losses, do lawyers get a certain number of ‘client committed legal suicide’ waivers?Report

    • Avatar Tod Kelly says:

      Well then I guess that answer’s the question about when the NAACP would give an award to an R.

      What do you want to bet if you went back the Daily Caller’s postings that he’s a registered Democrat that no correction will have been made?Report

      • Avatar Chris says:

        Look like NR updated their original post.

        But this ultimately begs the question, who cares?Report

      • Avatar Barry says:

        “Well then I guess that answer’s the question about when the NAACP would give an award to an R.”

        Either because he’s done good stuff, or because his donation checks cleared the bank.Report

  23. Avatar zic says:

    And in the interest of OT cohesion, I should note:

    The sponsor boycots of the Clippers have begun.

    On the morning of April 28, Al Sharpton announced a campaign to begin pressuring the NBA’s corporate sponsors as a way of pressuring the league to take action against Donald Sterling.

    Later that morning the CEO of State Farm, a Clippers sponsor who has an ad campaign heavily featuring Chris Paul, said on Colin Cowherd’s ESPN radio program that his company will pull its sponsorship of the team.

    Virgin America has said they will end their sponsorship of the Clippers. CarMax told Buzzfeed that Sterling’s statements are “unacceptable” and “necessitate that CarMax end its sponsorship.” AquaHydrate and Kia have also announced that they’ve suspended sponsorship deals with the team.

    (And I’m growing seriously addicted to Vox; and seriously dislike 538; I expected the opposite reactions.)Report

  24. Avatar Barry says:

    veronica dire

    “And a hush settles over the room. The party guests glance at one other, but none speak. Someone drops a spoon.”

    You assumed that trolls have shame.Report

  25. Avatar Barry says:

    J@m3z Aitch April 29, 2014 at 5:15 pm
    “Beatiful@Barry you just couldn’t avoid making this about ideology, could you? I’d say you jumped in with both left feet in your mouth.”

    Yes, I apologize for despoiling the non-ideological purity of Ordinary Times.Report

  26. Avatar Barry says:

    Gabriel Conroy April 28, 2014 at 7:27 am
    “To add on to@Chris‘s point, I’ll also say that in practice, employees can be fired for the same reason. If they’re at will, they can be fired for any reason not prohibited by law, which includes private statements (except, I guess, at a religious service). ”

    And I’d add that all of the right-wingers and libertarians here support employers having even more of a free hand.

    “If they’re contract employees, they can usually be fired for cause, which could arguably include private racist statements that somehow make their way public and reflect poorly on an organization and after a series of other actions that are also racist and reflect poorly on an organization.”

    Worse; they wouldn’t be fired, just not renewed. Or their hours set to zero ‘for now’. They have far fewer protections.Report