But Mr. Lee has made it clear that the very sight of interracial couples offends him. So do white moms in strollers in formerly black neighborhoods (“When you see white mothers pushing their babies in strollers…”). Lee not long ago tweeted the wrong address of George Zimmerman’s parents, in a failed crude effort to incite mob violence against his family—which resulted in threats to a completely different Zimmerman family and a lawsuit. After visiting South Africa, Lee thundered, “I seriously wanted to pick up a gun and shoot whites. The only way to resolve matters is by bloodshed.” Should Lee be blacklisted from NBA games and his NBA commercial work dropped? Is publicly advocating racial violence worse than privately expressing racist ideas?
Charles Barkley (of the NBA: “we are a black league”) has also weighed in. Could Mr. Barkley join an effort to buy the Clippers? Unlike Sterling, his racist outbursts were a bit more direct (“That’s why I hate white people”) and were not private. Was that a joke or just letting off steam?
Perhaps Shaquille O’Neal could head a consortium to purchase the Clippers? But O’Neal just posted a tasteless video of himself mocking someone suffering from a disfiguring illness. But that was not new, given that not too long ago he parodied NBA star Yao Ming’s Chinese ancestry.
There is talk that perhaps boxer Floyd Mayweather might be interested in the Clippers. Is he less racist than Donald Sterling? Compare his record. Of his Filipino opponent Manny Pacquiao, Mayweather announced that he would have him “make some sushi rolls and cook some rice.” And he added: “We’re going to cook him with some cats and dogs.” Of NBA guard Jeremy Lin, Mayweather said, “Jeremy Lin is a good player but all the hype is because he’s Asian. Black players do what he does every night and don’t get the same praise.”
Rapper P. Diddy is likewise interested. Perhaps his bid might include the instagram he sent of white women bowing down in obeisance to a black queen–small stuff compared to his past public racist rants.
How about a comedy or hip-hop team buying the NBA franchise, one made up of Chris Rock (“Happy white peoples’ independence day”), Jamie Foxx (“I kill all the white people in the movie. How great is that?”), and Jay-Z (wearing his showy racist Five Percent Nation medallion)?
Of course, Oprah is outraged at Sterling and said to be interested in joining an effort to acquire the team. But if private conversations are also now a proper NBA benchmark of racial sensitivity, Ms. Winfrey’s own mother-in-law just alleged that Oprah yelled out when she arrived at the Winfrey home: “Negroes in the house. Negroes in the house.” Is such unsubstantiated hearsay more or less admissible than illegally taped private phone calls?
Then there is the issue of the NAACP. Some who sympathized with cattle rancher Cliven Bundy when swarms of federal SWAT teams descended on him to impound his herd over a dispute about grazing fees and an endangered tortoise were advised that they should have known in advance that such an anti-government reprobate would later make racially insensitive remarks.
But what then is the post facto excuse of the Los Angeles chapter of the NAACP? It can be blamed not for lack of foresight, but rather for amnesia. Unlike Mr. Bundy, Donald Sterling had a long history not just of racist speech, but also of racially intolerant behavior—and yet was slated to receive—for a second time—a lifetime achievement award from the Los Angeles chapter of NAACP.
Why? Perhaps ask the now former president of that NAACP chapter why it is awarding Al Sharpton its first “Person of the Year” award. Sharpton,of course, is the race-baiting former FBI informant, demagogic instigator of riot and mayhem, tax delinquent, on-the-record anti-Semite and homophobe (“Greek homos”), and frequent White House guest (what does one have to do not to be invited to the White House?). At least the NAACP does not use a racial standard to honor bigots.
Could Sharpton buy an NBA franchise?
Then there is the issue of the players. Is private racist speech worse than public racist and homophobic remarks from superstars like Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant, and a host of others? How about felonious behavior? Are there NBA players now in the game who have been convicted of crimes? Are former NBA players who are felons, murderers, thieves, or rapists banned for life from attending NBA games?
It would have been far wiser to shun Mr. Sterling and even fine him for racial insensitivity, and then let fans, players, and the general public boycott his franchise and the free market adjudicate the team’s fate, until Mr. Sterling learns that there are consequences to his past behavior and present speech.
But the present hysteria has now raised far more issues of the sort Attorney General Eric Holder once damned the American people as “cowards” for not raising. A billionaire and litigious, the 81-year-old Sterling will probably not go quietly into the night. We were told his racism offered us a teachable moment—but it has now offered unending teachable hours.