A Sterling Achievement
Whether you’re an NBA fan or not, (and if you are, can you please explain to me why my two favorite teams – the Pacers and the Thunder are on the brink of elimination?) you’ve no doubt seen the coverage of Donald Sterling’s racist and idiotic comments. You are also probably aware that he’s been banned for life by the NBA. Here’s the best piece I’ve read on the whole mess. It’s a thoughtful essay by Kareem Abdul Jabbar.
And in the interest of limiting misinformation on the subject, there are a few things to keep in mind. First, Sterling’s punishment has nothing to do with the First Amendment. He has freedom to speak and be free from governmental punishment for it. But the NBA isn’t the state, and it’s not bound by the First Amendment.
Second, to Kareem’s point about Sterling’s girlfriend illegally taping the conversation. He may or may not be right about that. California is one of a minority of states that requires both parties’ consent to taping a conversation. Most states and the federal law require only one party’s consent. So, for instance, in Ohio, your gold digging girlfriend can record your moronic ramblings without letting you know. In California, she has to get your permission.
I have seen reports where Sterling’s girlfriend claims she had his consent. But that remains to be seen I suppose. She is either lying or Sterling is even dumber than we originally thought. I wouldn’t be totally surprised by either outcome.