…will be happy to hear that UCLA has rejected a three million dollar donation from Donald Sterling for kidney research.
People are falling all over themselves to show how righteous they are by shunning Sterling and everything he ever touched. Apparently they’re afraid his racist cooties will rub off on them.
The latest developments in the Sterling case—this action by UCLA, and of course the lifetime ban and huge fine levied by the NBA, are legal and well within the rights of both institutions. But it’s possible to feel alarmed at what’s been happening without mounting any sort of defense of Sterling himself. What alarms me is the chilling effect this has on private conversations, and the encouragement it gives to blackmailers and those out for revenge.
It’s been reported by “a source” that Sterling knew he was being recorded when the conversations were taped. If that is correct (and at this point we have no way of ascertaining whether it is or isn’t), then the man’s a fool (well, we already knew that) as well as a racist. But at least it would also take the case out of the realm of being in violation of the California wiretapping statute that requires the consent of both parties to any recording of a confidential conversation, a law whose violation would very very much concern me.
I had never heard of Sterling before this story broke. I don’t follow basketball and haven’t for decades. So I knew nothing about previous allegations of Sterling’s racist behavior, including this 2009 Department of Justice lawsuit that was settled out of court. But the NAACP no doubt knew about all of it, and somehow the organization managed to tolerate his behavior and even to reward it till now. What changed?