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Bad Donald Sterling facts make it bad for privacy

Bad Donald Sterling facts make it bad for privacy

If thought police is what we need, why should we have to rely on the whims of disgruntled mistresses to protect society?

There is a difference between private and public communications.  The law, in its various aspects, often looks to the reasonable expectation of privacy when it comes to the legality of taping or interception of communications, whether by the government or private citizens.

That distinction is eroding in an age not just of accessible technology, but the ability of people to swarm through social connections on the internet.

And so it was with Donald Sterling, owner of the L.A. Clippers.

Because his comments were indefensible, it’s hard to defend the distinction between private and public conversations in such an instance even though there is an important distinction.

Has none of us said something believing it to be private that we regret; or might have expressed regret for soon after we said it?

Is pillow talk no different than a tweet?

Is nothing private anymore, at least to the extent if offends societal notions of what is proper?

I’m reminded of Gene Hackman in Francis Ford Coppola’s The Conversation, where the privacy hunter became the hunted:

Charles C.W, Cooke made good points in his post on the topic, The Shrinking Private Sphere:

It is difficult to work up much sympathy for the man — a billionaire with a history of rank intolerance and questionable business ethics. And that his remarks came from a conversation with a woman who is not his wife does little to help his cause. Nevertheless, one should be a little reluctant to applaud the recording and dissemination of a private telephone conversation simply because it has skewered someone unpleasant. At yesterday’s press conference, one especially earnest member of the audience asked whether the powers-that-be at the NBA intended to conduct an investigation to find out if anyone else involved with basketball had ugly views — an instinct that, when coupled with the performance-art outrage and glancing-at-the-cameras indignation that are the hallmarks of our age, carried with it a whiff of inquisition….

Imagine for a moment that the press-conference questioner’s idle wish for purity were to be fulfilled, and the innermost thoughts of basketball’s luminaries were revealed for the world to see — their wives, friends, or girlfriends being tasked with recording their transgressions and exhibiting them on the Internet. We would see more people treated to general opprobrium and hounded from office, as any such search would doubtless reveal another Donald Sterling or two — some domestic violence, some drug use, some bribery, and, without question, some homophobia.

But it would reveal much more besides, and therein I think lies the trouble: In all likelihood, we would also learn of financial troubles, of psychological issues, of marital problems, of health concerns, of indecipherable and easily misinterpreted in-jokes, of preferences that lie outside the mainstream, and of a lot more that is quotidian besides. There is, simply put, no way of getting one’s hands on the salacious material without also collecting the sacrosanct. Are we prepared to take that risk?

If rooting out improper thoughts, expressed in private conversations unrelated to unlawful conduct, is the goal, then we should be rejoicing at alleged NSA snooping.  Indeed, we should demand that it be expanded and released to the public.

If thought police is what we need, why should we have to rely on the whims of disgruntled mistresses to protect society?

There’s a legal maxim that “bad facts make bad law.”

The bad facts of the Donald Sterling comments make it bad for privacy.


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Spike Lee worked with the NBA on many occasions. He currently hosts an NBA show on SiriusXM Radio.

He’s made many racist comments — in public — including, “I give interracial couples a look. Daggers. They get uncomfortable when they see me on the street.”

And then there is Jay Z who wore the medallion of a racist group … in public … several times … and acknowledged that he knows what the medallion means. He was/is (?) a part owner in an NBA team. Plus he wants to be a sports agent.

There have been many racist comments by many NBA players. And many acts of violence. But none, to my knowledge, have received a lifetime ban.

    MarkS in reply to Hepcat. | May 2, 2014 at 8:35 pm

    Apparently you don’t know the rules. If you are a member of an aggrieved group then you are either justified in or excused for any politically incorrect indiscretion. However, if you are a member of an oppressor group than any utterance or action, even if misinterpreted by any member of the aggrieved class, that is found offensive will render you a societal leper without rights, due process or sympathy.

      Hepcat in reply to MarkS. | May 2, 2014 at 8:51 pm


      I do know the rules. That’s why I’m waiting for all the Spike Lee quotes to come out in court, if the litigious Sterling continues to defy the NBA.

      Seen in totality, I’m hoping they’ll make an impact on some people.

        MarkS in reply to Hepcat. | May 3, 2014 at 7:00 am

        I fail to see the relevance as best I can determine Spike Lee doesn’t own a NBA team and is not subject to the whims of Mr. Silver. But again, Spike is a member of an aggrieved group and therefore exempt.

          wendybar in reply to MarkS. | May 3, 2014 at 7:56 am

          He shouldn’t have a job with the NBA. That’s why it is relevant. If someone has to give up their property because what he said in private, then someone who says things in public that works for the same organization should be let go too.

          MarkS in reply to MarkS. | May 3, 2014 at 8:38 am

          Wendy Bar: enlighten me, if you will, what job does Sike Lee hold with the NBA? And while we’re at it, can you give an example of a black ever receiving condemnation for a racist comment whether it be “Hymie town,” “Greek homos,” etc?

          The_Hawk in reply to MarkS. | May 3, 2014 at 5:59 pm

          Hi Mark, on behalf of wendybar, I present you with actor Isaiah Washington:

          While not specifically a racist comment, it was a violation of the hierarchy of the protected class which holds gays at #1…even ahead of blacks and women. It took seven years for him to get his Hollywood privileges back.

          I’m presuming you’re playing devil’s advocate here though, right?

    First they came for the racists…

    It is getting quickly to the point any non-PC position will get you fired. Global warming denial is soon going to be equated with Holocaust denial.

Zelsdorf Ragshaft III | May 2, 2014 at 8:14 pm

I did not listen to all of what Sterling had to say, but most of what I heard was not wanting his girlfriend hanging out in public with black men. He did not want her to bring Magic Johnson to his teams ball games because he did not want his woman hanging with a known womanizer. She goaded him in to making it racial. Words are meaningless. What actions of his are or were racist? Did he pay his white players better?

tarheelkate | May 2, 2014 at 8:15 pm

If we condone the publication of private speech we despise, we will soon find ourselves having to deal with a lack of privacy for everyone.

Recommending this: In 10 Minutes, ESPN’s Bomani Jones Lays Waste To The Sterling Issue.

And, from another perspective, this rant at “Hillary is 44” blasting the media feeding frenzy, also makes a few points.

First, they came for the “billionaire with a history of rank intolerance and questionable business ethics”. Curiously, this criteria only has a selective application. Perhaps this is a hostile takeover with a progressive twist (i.e. protection racket).

Juba Doobai! | May 2, 2014 at 8:54 pm

Wm, you said: “The bad facts of the Donald Sterling comments make it bad for privacy.”

Whether or not the facts are bad, the privacy aspect must be emphasized and fought for. Even if DS said what he did publicly, whether or not it is palatable, one would have to defend his right to say it. His speech was not anarchist; he has the right to hold the opinions that he does; he also has the right to articulate those opinions, and, if public, deal with the consequences of his words.

However, DS’s words were not public. They were private, and he had every reasonable expectation that they would remain private. That they did not because a “girlfriend” wanted to shake him down, and he would not submit, should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

We need to distinguish between the content of the speech and the forum in which it was made, and the means by which it was brought to the public’s notice. The content is immaterial, IMO, when the forum is private (as between two people, as opposed to a group gathering) and the taping is illegal.

Juba Doobai! | May 2, 2014 at 9:01 pm

Another thing, I’m appalled by the hypocrisy of the people protesting DS and demanding that he surrender his team. Regardless of their absurd belief that because they’re black they cannot be racist, the people making noise are racists. Someone should do a montage of their comments over the years, and include the casual racism of black comedians, the racist antics of Oprah, Obama (who has yet to condemn any anti-white acts by black youth), and all the holier than thou types. Someone needs to look in Silver’s closet and see what’s in there.

The nerve of Jesse Hymietown Jackson and Al Freddie’s and Crown Heights Sharpton to point fingers at DS!

I’m not defending DS, but let’s find one without sin to cast the first stone at him.

    J Motes in reply to Juba Doobai!. | May 2, 2014 at 9:39 pm

    Like x 100: “I’m not defending DS, but let’s find one without sin to cast the first stone at him.”

    I’ve been looking for, but have not yet found, a post that compiles all the despicable remarks that come out of the mouths of black racists (and gay activists, modern feminists, and every other perpetually offended group). It’s long past time for everyone, especially the grievance-mongers, to follow the same standards of conduct. Let’s see some serious punishment for truly offensive remarks made on the left — or maybe everybody should just settle down and adopt a policy of, get this, freedom of speech that allows even offensive speech.

    The excessive punishment meted out to Donald Sterling is yet another example to add to the vicious backlash against Mozilla’s Brendan Eich, Chick-fil-A’s Dan T. Cathy, and a variety of bakers, florists, and others who failed to bend to the left’s demands. It’s all done “pour encourager les autres.” Allowing the left to take these scalps only encourages them to become even more extreme in their demands for obedience and their punishments for those who resist. I foresee very bad times ahead, as there is no stopping the left.

      Juba Doobai! in reply to J Motes. | May 3, 2014 at 8:56 am

      The only time they sort of stop is when they see the ashes from the ovens and the people reduced to skin and bones. Then they gasp and claim “we didn’t know, and if we had known we would’ve done something.” Then some time passes and they recover themselves and start all over again because the point is control, and they want that more than decency, than freedom, than life.

      siguiriya in reply to J Motes. | May 4, 2014 at 12:14 am

      Speaking of “excessive punishment” — the punishment is the hardest thing for me to understand. What Sterling got is the sports equivalent of a death sentence. And yet no one – other than Sterling himself – was hurt by Sterling’s comments. Sterling revealed an ugly side of himself, but he fired no one, refused service to no one, defrauded no one. Not to mention that the entire situation originated in the context of a private conversation.

      If Sterling’s private comments merit the basketball death penalty, then what sin WOULDN’T merit the death penalty?

Doug Wright Old Grouchy | May 2, 2014 at 11:46 pm

What would really rock the boat would be Sterling going public with accusations regarding his fellow owners and being able to back that up with dates, times, and locations regarding those accusations. I don’t know if he’s got any dirt so called on the other owners but suspect he might. And if no such “dirt,” maybe Sterling will denounce people like Spike Lee, of Jay-Z. or Rev. Jesse.

This is not going to be a fun time for any of the players much less the NBA and its possible diminishing, vanishing, bankroll.

I agree with Kareem Abdul Jabbar. Sterling has a long history of housing discrimination and blunt statements about it, and he’s been charged or fined in some cases. Everyone in the know understood who and what he was a long time ago.

It was all well and good when the Clippers were awful losers, people ignored Sterling’s record and actions and the NAACP gave him awards for his cash donations.

Now all of a sudden, it’s a shock that Sterling expresses a dim view of blacks on the phone with his concubine?

As Kareem noted, there should be more outrage about the invasion of privacy and potential extortion than the old news about Sterling’s bigotry.

    O BAMA617 in reply to Estragon. | May 5, 2014 at 11:06 am

    I don’t believe bigotry would matter to you as much as the sultan of Dubai is worried about his hunger…

JackRussellTerrierist | May 3, 2014 at 1:19 am

That slimebag who recorded DS will get hers, to be sure. People like that always do.

As for DS, I couldn’t care less what he thinks about anything and I despise professional basketball anyway because of the NBA always glorifying a particular race. This was just more of the same. Buying a team is like buying a car wash, the way I see it. If your employees happen to be black and can shoot hoops/clean windows well, then it’s a good investment. It doesn’t mean the owner has to like them or even like their race. What DS said was said in private. To drum him out of business over it because a greedy (half-black) scumbag decided to record it for blackmail purposes is the most disgusting part of the entire debacle.

Now, back to Benghazi, the IRS and the BLM.

The invasion of our privacy coupled with a lack of due process in the Media is an illegal taking of ‘private property’ and a crossing of a “No Trespassing” boundary. Words said in private are just that – private words not meant for red-meat-hungry public consumption.

Miranda rights are spoken to a defendant at the time of an arrest to remind the person that he/she has the right to remain silent – because their speech made public can be incriminating. In essence Sterling’s Miranda rights were violated. He was not advised that his words would be used and used against him.

Now, if Someone were to say in public that that there are people who are “bitter clingers”, that IS meant for public consumption and IS meant as a reproach of a certain group of people. If Sterling says what he says to a small group of people he surrounds himself with then that is his business.

If players want to continue to play basketball under him that is their business.

It goes without saying that the vast majority of people don’t agree with Sterling’s comments. Period. People have rightly been outraged at his ‘made-public’ comments. But that’s all the further this needs to go. There does not need to be a witch hunt. Even if there were, would it ferret out the bigots on all sides?

Sterling doesn’t represent the rest of the world. He is one of the emotionally ill people who need God’s help much like a Spike Lee or an Al Sharpton. There is whole generation of people born mostly before the 60’s with a race card on their shoulder. When this generation dies off then maybe we can have adult discussions without race being used as a divisor.

Sadly, today, even if you or I were to keep our traps shut the media in its desire for red meat will project onto us its own racism and bigotry, as in Spike Lee’s blatantly biased commentary, mentioned above. But that’s his and their problem.

As long as these people with unresolved anger issues don’t put me on their Hate Watch List – another boundary crossed – my character goes on under the watchful eye of the only One who could rightly judge the motives of people’s hearts.

I’m hoping that Sterling does fight it out in court. I want to see statements like Spike Lee’s waved about. Sterling is the ideal candidate for this. He has enough money that he really can’t be harmed here, and he is a curmudgeon.

I’m not rooting for him, I just think it is a sjitstorm that needs to happen.

Ludi Incipiant

Sterling is a crude and arrogant man but he is the victim here. In a private discussion with his mixed race mistress he expresses his strong feelings about her public behavior. This seems to be a sensitivity to what other people might think about HIS mistress associating with blacks. He seems to think it reflects badly on him. So it is an antiquated judgment on the part of an old man about racist attitudes that other people might have.

So we have the whole world, left and right, falling all over themselves to condemn him, not for being crude, not for his arrogance, not for his adultery but for his “racism” – as if his attitude had anything to do with the troubles that beset the black community today, or Jim Crow, or racial segregation, or slavery.

The bigotry that harms the black community today is the bigotry of its leaders that fosters a false sense of victimization in that community.

    O BAMA617 in reply to cwillia1. | May 5, 2014 at 10:54 am

    My friend you know nothing about the black community and your self proclaimed expertise is disgustin. sterling is a disgusting man and old person who is bothered by the brown America that they see today. This man is dispicable.

Midwest Rhino | May 3, 2014 at 9:52 am

Ann Coulter makes a good point … why this, and why now, when this old fart struts around with his “prostitutes” for decades while he has a wife of 50 years and three kids. He just wanted “his bimbo” by his side, but she insisted on using her fame to “promote” her fondness for black men. “Why do you have to put it in my face” he whined, as she egged him on. So suddenly it’s a national crisis that he was privately upset with his “paid girlfriend” was not giving him undivided attention for his million dollars on the nightstand.

With the fires of Benghazi warming up, Team Obama again has all his media go to bat for him, with another racial trump card. Trayvon was druggie gang banger looking for trouble, yet he turned into innocent little boy with candy, hunted down by mean whitey. It worked great as distraction from Obama’s many failures going into an election.

So now we have rich (.0001%) whitey the racist, soaking up 90% of MSM viewers’ short attention span. The messaging is clear, rich whites hate black people, and dude, that is the only reason FOX and the Koch brothers are flaming the fires on Benghazi.

“Dude, that was two years ago … we bureaucrats do these talking points every day”. Really? Every day they cover up the (alleged) state department murder by gross negligence, of an American ambassador? Or the coverup of (alleged) arms to Obama’s Muslim Brotherhood pals that ended up in the al Qaeda branch (of the MB), and then ended up being used to attack the Ambassador … you do that every day?

And cover up every day, our forces waiting but not getting an order (according to a general’s testimony) to go to Benghazi to attempt rescue? Admittedly, this Team Obama has big things to cover up, every day, but I bet he remembers every detail of that one.

JournoList seems to be alive and well, and they have everyone on board, pushing this “better watch what you say think” story. (even though the guy is a racist Democrat apparently, not a surprise given his seeming misogyny). But as to this mess, too bad that Chicago lawyer didn’t get Lerner on tape saying all his IRS troubles would go away if he agreed not to run for office. But there would be zero tolerance for that.

But that was not Lerner’s reaction. Instead, that’s when she said to Salvi, “Promise me you’ll never run for office again, and we’ll drop the case.”

Salvi said he asked Lerner if she would be willing to put the offer into writing.

“We don’t do things that way,” Salvi said Lerner replied.

Salvi queried how then could such an agreement be enforced.

According to Salvi, Lerner replied: “You’ll find out.”

L.A. Times article from 2010. They seemed to like him back then even with his history of racial remarks.
Or maybe they just loved his money…..

As much as this website tries to defend David sterling he is still a bigot FACT…….he deserves more than that. Conservatism does not believe racism exists. I agree with all small government principles but when it comes to racism and the plight of black people in this country this is where the GOP is clueless and self proclaimed to know about race more than people of color. If GOP leaders would embrace the inner city youth instead of screaming and commanding from up high then I think there would be a connection. When we as citizens here pundits say slavery was better or hear GOP/conservative people act as if slavery and Jim Crow never prohibited our fore farther a from being prominent members of society we dislike those messages. We know there is a dependence on government running ram apart in America today. This is not perpetrated exclusively by one demographic. Blacks Latino white Asian Indian Jewish everybody gets ebt. There are less black people in America than whites hence the word minority comes to play. Crime welfare and negativity are in a larger population on blacks than any other demographic. There are less black people than any other demographic. Black people are more descendant of slavery than any demographic. Jim Crow laws effect blacks more than any other demographic. GOP says these are not related. I say GOP is wrong. Can anyone refute that?

The bigotry that affects black America is rooted in slavery and Jim Crow laws. Mlk died for our civil rights and any other thinking is disgusting. That is the reason conservatives are so out of touch with black and brown Americans and instead of trying to fix the problem we say race card and straw man and slavery wasn’t bad liberal policies are worst. That type of thinking is disgusting and will gateau tee another crooked lying democrat thief in the White House.