May 18, 2014 in Sports

Give and Take guest commentary: Privacy rights overlooked in Sterling case

Douglas M. Perry Spokane Valley
 

At the risk of being accused of being an apologist for a universally condemned racist, I feel compelled to write in defense of Donald Sterling.

I find nothing in common with him about his apparent attitudes towards blacks and Hispanics, although if you listen to the actual recording of his remarks, it is difficult to conclude he is an out-and-out racist, from what he said. 

I write not as someone who has any affection for the man and his public record as a real-estate magnate penalized previously for discriminatory housing practices, but as a private citizen deeply concerned about the loss of privacy rights, First Amendment free speech rights, and the lynch mob mentality that demands adherence to political correctness. 

In regards to the privacy rights issue, it is my understanding that the recording was made by a vindictive ex-mistress who traded her companionship and sexual favors for cars, money, and who knows what else.  From what I understand of California law, it is illegal to record a private conversation without the knowledge and consent of both parties.

Obviously, Sterling was not approving of the recorded conversation. Yet we are to hold up this woman of questionable character and morals as a person worthy of respect for carrying out some perceived public duty for revealing Sterling’s comments?

Despite how offensive a person’s comments may be in the privacy of their own home, it is not the public’s business and the release of the recording was a clear violation of Sterling’s rights.  Is no one else appalled and disturbed by the erosion of the constitutionally protected right to privacy? 

This was still the United States of America, where you are entitled to your opinion, and the right to express it, in the privacy of your own home. 

Yes, I am a 59-year-old white man, but other than that, I find little in common with Sterling.  At the risk of also being universally condemned, I am deeply disturbed at the lynch mob mentality demanding the ouster of Sterling from the NBA and being forced to relinquish a company/organization he legally bought and ran for 30-some years.

I do not use the term lynch mob mentality lightly, given that we are discussing comments towards and about the African-American community.  However, am I the only one fed up with the attitude that it is the public’s right to know that allows intrusion into the privacy of a person’s home? I am equally fed up with the onslaught of political correctness that seems to have outweighed consideration for a person’s right to privacy and free speech rights. 

If you don’t like what Sterling said, then don’t support the Los Angeles Clippers by buying tickets to their games, or at least let the members of his own organization lead the insurrection against him. 

And, as uncomfortable as his comments may have been about Magic Johnson and his sexual behavior that led to his HIV, (I do admire and respect Johnson as both a legendary Hall of Fame basketball player and as a person), the reality is that Magic had sex with so many women and that was the reason for his HIV status. I am equally appalled at the NBA’s casual acceptance and disregard for that behavior. So, no, I do not find Johnson an appropriate role model for our youth and so I have no problems with Sterling’s comments and judgment of Johnson. 

Political correctness has run amuck in this country and demands adherence, causing the loss of the right to privacy and free speech. On those principles, I defend and applaud Sterling’s fight against the NBA’s sanctions.  It is high time there was a pushback against this political correctness onslaught.

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