Access pays (and vice versa)
I'm old enough to know better, but I can't stop sticking my finger into the fire on the stove. In this case, the red hot flaming flapdoodle over doddering Donald Sterling.
Of course I'm not defending Sterling's comments that led to his lifetime ban from the NBA. Those were not pretty comments and, well, you know. Duh. But damn, folks, is everybody just so swept away by this tsunami of political correctness that no one will dare to question some issues lurking off to the side? Is P.C. mob think now so pervasive and overwhelming that no one thinks to even bring up the possibility that Mr. Sterling got, er, well … sorta hosed? Or have we now reached a point of P.C.ness that says it's OK to disregard the rights of a creep if you can show that he's a creep. Especially a racist creep.
Submitted for your consideration are two comments that have been relatively lost in the uproar surrounding this story. The first is from Mark Cuban, the extroverted and talkative billionaire owner of the Dallas Mavericks. Cuban said, after Adam Silver's Hammer came down upon Donald's head, “But regardless of your background, regardless of the history they have, if we're taking something somebody said in their home and we're trying to turn it into something that leads you to being forced to divest property in any way, shape, or form, that's not the United States of America. I don't want to be part of that.”
It's a point worth repeating. Sterling didn't grab a mike and spout off, ala Cliven Bundy. He didn't make his comments to a reporter, ala Phil Robertson. He was chatting in his kitchen with his girlfriend. Him and her. Which leads to the question—when are you free to be politically incorrect? If you're publicly appropriate, can you dare to be occasionally inappropriate in the privacy of your home? Do you have the freedom to be a jerk in your house? Can you be angry? Jealous? Make angry, hurtful, jealous comments? Can you tell jokes about ethnic groups in your bedroom? Or only whites? And what exactly is a joke?
Next up—Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, legendary basketball star and long-time black activist. In Time magazine, Kareem wrote, “Shouldn't we be equally angered by the fact that his private, intimate conversation was taped and then leaked to the media? Didn't we just call the NSA to task for intruding into American citizens' privacy in such an un-American way? The poor guy's girlfriend … is on tape cajoling him into revealing his racism. … She blindfolded him and spun him around until he was just blathering all sorts of incoherent racist sound bites that had the news media peeing themselves with glee.”
This is from Kareem Abdul fucking Jabbar, folks. Kareem is an honorable man who has never been afraid to call out the nazis, jerks and assholes. Yet, even he is moved to recognize that there's something slightly slimy about this entire affair. Yes, he condemns Sterling's comments, sure, but, well, damn—where's the line here? Did it get crossed? Is it even visible?