Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Crime and Punishment - Donald Sterling

I have to give a whole bunch of history for people to understand this. First off, I don't watch basketball, don't know the teams, the owners or even the players. When I was a kid I used to play it. That is my basketball knowledge. As you may also know, I don't usually write about big stories in the news that are meaningless to the bigger picture. I didn't really even know about this story, I saw something in the news about some team owner saying bad things about blacks. That was all I knew until today.

I was driving and heard on the radio that Mr. Sterling, the owner of the "Clippers" was told that he was banned from life from basketball and a couple million in fines. I didn't really care about him or the penalty he was facing, I am sure he can afford it and won't end up as homeless for being a bigot. That is the problem, I had to ask myself if the punishment fit the crime. Sorry, my doctorate in law demands it of me.

I think the thing that bothered me was that you could lose so much without even having a trial or a hearing by an impartial judge. The people that made the decision were far from impartial, they have a business interest in the NBA. I decided to read some of the news stories to understand what had happened. Funny thing, those kind of convinced me that he was being punished in a way that did not fit the crime; but, there was something even worse. He was never punished in the past for things that should have gotten him in the same position.

If the moral of this story was simple, I wouldn't write about it so play along with me while I show my logical progression. The moral of the story that the NBA, mass media and many players is that he was appropriately punished for being a bigot. Minutes after the decision the Mayor of Los Angeles came out at a press conference to declare that he supported the punishment.

Los Angeles Times - NBA's use of 'hammer' on Donald Sterling welcomed by Garcetti
Not to be outdone, a number of councilmembers also expressed their support for the decision by the NBA. I did not read one person who questioned any of this. Wow. There is a little irony in all of this for me. My popular post is about a black, female pastor who was killed in the south. 60 years ago when someone like her got killed, the little Louisiana, Mississippi and other southern state governments would not have spent hardly a minute looking into what had really occurred. Back in the day there was two types of justice, black and white. Especially in states that prohibited blacks from voting, they therefore could not be on juries.

Mr. Sterling was tried by public opinion and the mass media. Shouldn't the opinions of other bigots be considered? I'm not being funny. I don't find any of this funny and have no use for Mr. Sterling; but, everybody deserves to be heard and considered when there is so much at stake. I know a woman, she is black and does not like white people very much. I used to supervise her. I have funny ways of thinking about employment. People ask me who I work for and I say myself, if I don't get paid, I don't work. I work with people that are to differing degrees willing to work with me. Anyways, I had left my organization for a few years and then returned in higher position. There were a lot of people who didn't want me back because they did not wish to compete with me. They lied about me and made many false statements. Yeah, well, the black lady that didn't like whites much, she straightened them out because in the end she was a Christian and had to tell the truth. The only reason I know this is because she told me about it and others told me what she had done.

Now, lets talk about God, I will get back to the story. Every day and every night and every moment, Satan is before God accusing us of being sinners and we are. Every second Satan is telling God what horrible things we be; but, he is deceiver and ignorant. We are born into a world blind and confused, barely able to understand our senses. Babies cannot focus on what is in front of them, they are babies. Jesus died for our sins because he knows we are human and knows what that feels like as he took human shape and then died so that we were not punished for being less than perfect. That is the essence of the bible. Maybe some of you forgot that I preach for free some of the time. I preach like I write, from the heart. I think I am a better writer; but, any audience is an audience.

Now, back to Mr. Sterling. No, wait, not Mr. Sterling the crime. Lets start with the basics. What should the penalty be for being a bigot who hides it in public and is taped by a mistress, illegally in California as far as I know as in California you have to tell someone their words are being taped. Does that bother anyone? I haven't read anyone mention it in the press and that is what got Nixon impeached and people outraged. At the time they were shocked that Nixon was secretly taping people. It is another Mel Gibson moment except government officials don't go on the papers and news talking about how it is justice that he does not get a part in a movie.

This all sort of gets us back to the question about justice and state action, crime and punishment You have a private conversation, don't know you are being recorded, your in your eighties and make a racist comment. Should you be fined over 2 million dollars and be forced to leave your industry for life? I am not asking about Mr. Sterling, read what I did ask, it is a hypothetical.

There was a post in the New York Times during the potato famine in Ireland when 1/4 of us, yes, I am Irish, died from starvation. At the time, the food from Ireland was being shipped to England. As they starved to death. The article talked about how the famine could be a good thing because it might eliminate the "Irish problem". If that would have happened, I would not be here. I think about that sometimes. I am an American first; but, am Irish in my bones. My loyalty is to the country that took my family in when my birthright and land are Ireland. I chose to die in America and have my body planted here because it is now my home because we, my family was allowed her, the miscreants that we are and I have placed allegiance with the same causes that this country tried to be founded on. Fairness, Love of God, belief in a fair chance and freedom to explore your beliefs. That is why I hold the constitution second to the bible in my heart and mind.

I do hope my readers are getting this, I will stay up until I am done writing it and it is later than I had wished. I find myself defending a person I would want to be around. I cannot get away from the bigger issue. At what point in time did we decide that we could take everything away from a person because we don't like them because they are a jerk, because they hate us for just being. I wouldn't feel that way about the jerk that wrote how all of my people should be dead by starvation. I don't have that in my heart.

The purpose of discipline is to change behavior, that is a tenet of human resource work and I have managed such a section for decades. When people do wrong you want to learn from them, to become better. Mr. Sterling was not taught to be better, he was banned for life. Not much of a chance for redemption. That is not the end of the story, as you credit all the people in the media and government and ex-players who decried Mr. Sterling and applauded his condemnation by the NBA, ask yourself why they did it. Now here is where it gets really interesting. Seems Mr. Sterling is scum bag in many ways and has been for a long time.

Los Angeles Times - Banned Clippers owner Donald Sterling--not just racist but sexist, too
. This article outlines how Mr. Sterling was a slumlord and sleazy in other ways. Yahoo - Commish Adam Silver's bold ban of Clippers owner Donald Sterling was long overdue from NBA

Kind of interesting that it was long overdue, why wasn't his attitude been corrected earlier? We can also get into how the NAACP is now taking back their commendation for him or how people are returning contributions to help others because he is a bigot.

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