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With the suspension of Donald Sterling has come a trickle of defenders. They’re not so much defending what Sterling said as his right to say it in his own home and not have that leveraged against him to force away his business.

Inherent in this argument are two fundamental rights: the freedom of speech, assured in our First Amendment and the right to privacy, implied in the Fourth Amendment. In order to adequately evaluate whether his rights were violated, it’s necessary to look at these as two separate issues.

There has been an increasingly misunderstood application of the First Amendment. It protects you from prosecution, but it doesn’t assure you safety from consequences of speech.

If I work in a movie theater and walk into the last 10 minutes of every screening and scream out spoilers at the end of the movie, the theater is entitled to fire me. Freedom of speech doesn’t protect me there.

That’s because the Constitution doesn’t apply to what happens between private entities.

Whether it’s NBC refusing to air the Dixie Chicks Shut up and Sing for anti-war comments, A&E suspending Phil Robertson for homophobic slurs or the NBA banning Donald Sterling for racist remarks, it’s all about one private party repudiating another private party for what they said.

Businesses will pull endorsements from athletes or radio personalities all the time because of things they said.

Particularly, if a second party can lead to loss of business, there’s a need to protect the business too. If I feel like my association with you is costing me business because of what you said, do I not have the right to protect my business by ending my association with you?

Donald Sterling belongs to an association of owners. He agreed to abide by certain rules as an owner. Within the rules he agreed to is a stipulation that if 3/4 of owners determine it, he has to sell the team. That’s a part of belonging to an association.

Now you can argue that’s unfair, but all the benefits of that have been with him for years. Sterling’s initial investment has gone up almost $450 million—in spite of horrible ownership—because he belongs to that association.

There is no freedom of speech issue here. Sterling isn’t being prosecuted by the government; he’s being punished by a private association according to terms he already agreed to. The NBA has the legal right to do what it’s doing because it’s a private association.

The operative word is private. Freedom of speech doesn’t assure you protection from consequences of speech; it only guarantees protection from prosecution for speech. The government isn’t jailing Sterling here. And, frankly it would be an overreach for the government to get involved and prevent the punishment from occurring.

But, you argue, that’s all public speech and this is private speech. Isn’t what you say in the privacy of your own home different?

Yes, private speech is different. And, If it were the case that Sterling was unaware he was being recorded, V. Stiviano , the person doing the recording would have been in a great deal of trouble. It’s a felony in California to record someone without their knowing.

And, while that’s great for casting aspersions, it’s also apparently moot because it seems Sterling was fully aware he was being recorded.

The woman on the recording, who goes by the name V. Stiviano, cooperated with the NBA, as did a third person who was in the room when the tapes were made, another source told Shelburne. The woman verified to the league that it was her and Sterling on the tapes, according to the source.

Stiviano's lawyer, Mac Nehoray, told the L.A. Times his client didn't have a sexual or romantic relationship with Sterling, "never wanted any harm to Donald" and is "very saddened" by Silver's decision.

The recordings that have been released were made in September, and Sterling knew he was being recorded, the source told Shelburne. Stiviano has several additional hours of audio and video recordings of Sterling, according to the source.

Also note the lack of any surprise from the Sterling camp that the tapes existed, and the only challenge was that he had not verified that the tape had been altered. (Since then he has). But note the lack of dismay over the existence of the tape.

Ergo, we can conclude that he was aware the tape was being made. And apparently there’s at least one other person who has verified that. And with many conversations included her being asked, by Sterling, to play back portions of other conversations, it would appear that the other recordings would also validate that he knew.  

And let’s face it. Sterling made his bones by being litigious. If he had that card to play, it would have been the first one he did play. TMZ, Stiviano and the third party would be in court right now.

If Sterling knew he was being recorded, that changes everything, legally speaking. If you know you’re being recorded there is no expectation of privacy in a conversation.
Therefore this is not a case of a man being punished for private remarks made in his own home, it’s the case of public remarks made in his own home being made more public.

Neither Sterling’s freedom of speech nor his right to privacy were violated here. But because there’s an itch that the conservatives have to scratch every time a story along racial lines becomes hot. And that’s an issues worth addressing.

Why the need? Why the insistence to “balance” every story about racism? Not everything is left or right. Some things are just right and wrong. But because the right-wing media is so skewed every national story has to have a “balanced” approach to it, and by “balanced” I mean spun to the right.

No matter how bad an egregious the offense, the conservatives need to try and make it about their agenda. Leave it to the right-wing spin machine to turn “don’t bring black people to my games” into the rights of the white man being plundered.

Originally posted to Backell's Big Blog of Bodacious Brewing Brainstoms on Wed Apr 30, 2014 at 12:51 PM PDT.

Also republished by Community Spotlight.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Rights (13+ / 0-)

    Americans have an  incredible lawful right to freedom of expression - Mr. Sterling and those who legally criticize him.  Some think they should not pay a price for voicing their opinion - they seem to think that they have a special right.  The Republican noise machine tries to suppress opposing opinion and defend racism -  Racism must be attacked.  Telomere

    •  Perhaps... but where do we draw the line? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Let's say I record my conversation with you, perhaps without your knowledge (legal in many states) but certainly with you not expecting the recording to be released and then release the recording.

      Assuming that you say offensive things but there is no indication of any illegal behavior is it reasonable for you to suffer substantial consequences?  This is quite different from Sterling going on television and saying these things.

      I wonder how many of us have occasionally said things in private that would make us look bad if publicized to the world.

      •  You would have the right to have me prosecuted if (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        sawgrass727, TRPChicago, one of 8, asindc

        it was in a state where it required 2 parties to consent to a recording, but that does nothing to the fact that you should be free of consequences for what you say, whether in private or public.

        If you said such things and there were no recording, but a group of respected people who did hear the comments you made went public about your statements, you would still suffer consequences of you statements.  It would probably turn into a he/she said, he/she/they said dispute.

        Just because something is said in a "private setting" does not mean it is private.  It just means you are not originally broadcasting you statements to the public.

        If you don't want a consequence for anything you say, don't say it.

      •  Sterling Knew He Was Being Recorded. (5+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Australian2, Debby, one of 8, nellgwen, SuWho

        He'd asked the (ex-) girlfriend to record their conversations, apparently for a book he was going to have written about himself. There's no question of illegal recording--it was consensual.

        •  The girlfriend claims that (0+ / 0-)

          But that just goes to the argument that he has dementia, which brings up other issues.  (Sterling is not ignorant like Bundy - he would only say things like that on tape if he was losing it or totally lost control.)

          After my mother had her first stroke she was generally fine except that she would panic around blacks.  (ie. screaming at the top of her lungs that we were going to get killed when a black guy walking his dog walked past us late at night.)  If she happened to own an NBA team should she have been forced to sell at great cost to our family?

          •  I Doubt It. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            one of 8

            If she had a medical condition, being post-stroke (my sympathies for your mother, by the way), I think she'd be far more sympathetic a figure than Sterling, whose history of discrimination is almost legendary. Of course it was a racist unreasoning fear your mother had (not unlike my grandfather), assuming that blacks were dangerous, but it's not like she went on the attack and was trying to control other people in such a calculating way as Sterling did.   I have no doubt, were your mother the owner of an NBA team and such an outburst to be recorded, her punishment (there certainly would be one) would have been far, far lighter than Sterling's.  He was already despised throughout much of the league. Despite no previous official actions on the league's part against him, in a lot of ways this recording was simply the straw that broke the camel's back. Sterling's reputation was made long ago.

            Dementia or no, I don't think Sterling has privacy rights here. If it's true, as the girlfriend claims (and Sterling himself doesn't seem to have attacked her on this score), that he agreed to the recordings, and since he's a very public figure, it'd be pretty problematic for him to mount that kind of defense. Lawyers would be willing to try in court, of course, but even then, they'd have to establish a significant enough clinical condition of dementia in him to invalidate a verbal contract. And I suspect that would be a very high bar. He certainly didn't seem too befuddled during the course of that recorded conversation.

          •  She Did Say That (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            one of 8

            And he never contradicted it.

            And he doesn't have dementia.

            Discourse is better served if we can stick to the rules of logic.

            by backell on Thu May 01, 2014 at 05:31:17 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  I don't think Sterling has said anything yet (0+ / 0-)

              on the subject of whether or not he agreed to the taping.

              As for dementia, if he decides he wants a doctor to testify he has dementia how hard do you think it will be for him to find a doctor to make the diagnosis?

        •  Are we sure of that? (0+ / 0-)

          I've heard this and that, but that only the GF claims so, he hasn't admitted to knowing - ? Any other support? BTW see my points re the fine below.

          •  Do we have any reason to doubt? (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            one of 8

            Well first, it's not only the girlfriend.

            The third person in the conversation confirms it.
            Furthermore, Sterling has not challenged it.

            Discourse is better served if we can stick to the rules of logic.

            by backell on Thu May 01, 2014 at 08:54:46 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  Is there a source for this info? (0+ / 0-)

          With all the jibber-jabbing the media has done, I am frustrated trying to pin down the facts here. Do you know a news source that has clear reporting on the fact that 1) he knew he was being recorded, and 2) why he was allowing himself to be recorded?  What you say here makes sense (Sterling was having V. Stiviano record him for a book -  fits in with his apparrent ego, and his all-around dumbness). But I can't find any good source for that.          

        •  No 1st Amendment Violation/No Illegal Recording (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Beelzebubs Brass Bs

          But, that doesn't make the comments public. He had himself recorded for whatever reason and I'm guessing he never intended to release the full tapes.

          It takes one hell of a warped, illogical leap to think that because a private conversation was knowingly recorded it's inherently public.

          Both sides of an arbitration hearing may agree to audio and video recording with the expectation they never become public. If someone then releases those tapes there would be legal recourse.

          And while he may not be able to have someone prosecuted for leaking the tapes, he may have civil recourse if there was a verbal agreement that the tapes were to remain private.

          The guy is a racist douchebag and the recording he agreed to was still a leaked, PRIVATE conversation.

          •  "But, that doesn't make the comments public." (0+ / 0-)

            Yes it does. By law. There is no expectation of privacy, legally speaking, if a conversation is recorded with your knowledge.

            Perhaps, if there is some non-disclosure agreement signed, there'd be a n expectation of privacy. There's been no indication from Sterling that there was such an agreement.

            I'm sure if he felt he a recourse there, he would have said something.

            Discourse is better served if we can stick to the rules of logic.

            by backell on Thu May 01, 2014 at 02:31:50 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  I just called up my broker earlier today (0+ / 0-)

              and the first thing I heard on the line was that this was a recorded phone call.

              Does that mean that there was no expectation of privacy and that law enforcement could tap the call without a warrant?  I seriously doubt that.

      •  Let's Say Martians Did It (0+ / 0-)

        Since that's not what happened, why argue about it?

        Legally, his rights weren't violated.

        And here's my bottom line on all this. This is a man who has crapped on peoples' rights his whole life, so if he got a little comeuppance, I'm not heartbroken over it.

        Discourse is better served if we can stick to the rules of logic.

        by backell on Thu May 01, 2014 at 05:29:50 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  The answer to your question is "yes" (5+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        backell, unfangus, one of 8, SuWho, novapsyche

        You ask, "Assuming that you say offensive things but there is no indication of any illegal behavior is it reasonable for you to suffer substantial consequences?"

        If you work at a business and tell people that its products and service suck, even in the privacy of your own home, and word somehow gets back to your employer that you're doing so, you're not going to have a job very long.

        There is absolutely ZERO doubt that Sterling's comments were going to severely damage the NBA's business, and the economic interests of all NBA team owners. As such, they had just as much right to get rid of him as an employer would if they learned that an employee was damaging their business by bad-mouthing them in private.

        Bin Laden is dead. GM and Chrysler are alive.

        by leevank on Thu May 01, 2014 at 06:08:55 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Why SHOULDN'T (0+ / 0-)

        Sterling suffer consequences for this, though?  Does his being racist automatically become ok if it's in the privacy of his own home?

      •  Is it reasonable for the sponsors to (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        nellgwen, backell

        be associated with a team that damages their brand?

      •  Here's the problem. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        The knowledge of what he said is public and people are going to associate accordingly.  So unless you are going to state that people have to frequent businesses that are run by individuals who say offensive statements, people are going to shun that owner and that business.

        So as a practical matter, Sterling offended 70% of the labor base.  He's not getting players to play for him.  That negatively affects all of the other owners since they are dependent on the Clippers for their profits (2 to 4 games against per year).  

        The second consideration is that the NBA could have lost a whole night of playoffs and had major contractual issues with broadcasters.

        Unless you can solve the first problem, I don't see how you can begrudge efforts by other owners to protect their respective businesses.

        I'll always be...King of Bain...I'll always be...King of Bain

        by AZphilosopher on Thu May 01, 2014 at 12:56:28 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Linda Tripp (6+ / 0-)

      Was a hero to the same Conservative voices bemoaning Sterling's "invasion of privacy". Tripp admittedly violated State law and turned the tapes over to Jonah Goldberg's mom. I have no sympathy for the right wing's sudden, hypocritical and ill conceived defense of privacy rights.

  •  Even more appalling (6+ / 0-)

    people like Bill Maher who seem to think that the person who exposed this well documented racist is worse than NSA snooping. What an idiot.

    I put Kareem A. Jabbar and Donald Trump in the same category. I also found a statement made by the Clipper's coach equally appalling when he said that everyone was asking for the victims, the players, to say something. He felt that the victims should not be the accusers??? Isn't that what victims are suppose to do?

    This is exactly the point, they have been silent, and it was another person who felt that something was so terribly wrong with Sterling's racism that she spoke for them by revealing the recordings. How grateful are they?

    I'm not impressed with the players. I hope the citizens of LA buy the Clipper's franchise, and we will see if they are more inclined to use their leverage to defend their community when someone like Sterling puts their racism into action.        

    •  to each his/her own. (12+ / 0-)

      From my perspective, the coach and every one of the basketball players (Clippers and others) acted with dignity and professionalism. The players are limited in what they can say and do by the terms of their contracts.  The contracts very likely have a morals clause (one that doesn't seem to apply to the owner, Sterling), and something about representing the team well. They've complied with the contract yet managed to convey their displeasure with Sterling.

    •  I think the main point made was (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      people get upset the NSA might collect conversations or data on you, but if a private party or business does it, people are not really bothered by it.

      A somewhat "do as I say, not as I do" situation.

    •  I Don't Think (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      backell, Shawn87, Debby, white blitz, nellgwen should lump Kareem in with Trump at all. Kareem isn't playing for cheap PR, and he has a much more comprehensive understanding of the situation. Sterling knew he was being recorded, and the ex-girlfriend wasn't a victim. It's pretty clear that she could hold her own with him, and she was quite willingly milking him for her lifestyle. Of course she set him up for that recording, but since he knew the recording was happening, shame on Sterling for letting himself be baited like that.

      The actual victims of Sterling's treatment over decades--people looking for homes, employees and former employees being shortchanged and cheated out of money they were owed--are already part of the historical record.

      Kareem pointed out that there are no heroes in this story, including the girlfriend. I think that's a perfectly valid point (all the more so if she tries to cash in on this). He also unequivocally condemned what Sterling said.

      •  What Makes Kareem's Understanding Comprehensive? (0+ / 0-)

        I read his statement and he jumped to the same (wrong) conclusion that she did this on the sly.

        Discourse is better served if we can stick to the rules of logic.

        by backell on Thu May 01, 2014 at 05:33:00 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Also (4+ / 0-)

        The girlfriend denies that she gave TMZ the recordings and TMZ confirms that. A lot of people are vilifying the woman with no evidence at all that she's done anything wrong.

        She recorded the conversations at his request. Someone else gave the recordings to TMZ. Where is her fault?

        Discourse is better served if we can stick to the rules of logic.

        by backell on Thu May 01, 2014 at 05:35:07 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  One thing I wonder about... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    dallasdunlap, white blitz

    Does Sterling's belief regarding the purpose of recording those conversations legitimately define his expectation of privacy?

    It's one thing if Ms. Stiviano told him she was writing a book about him (one version of events I've heard) or someone like him and then recorded him with his knowledge. In that case, he would have had to expect that those words were intended to reach the public in some form.

    But if the conversations were recorded, as described elsewhere, at his request so that he could help remember things, he would not have had that same expectation that they would go public. He probably should have, because hey, when you're buying friends, you don't always get what you paid for, but I just wonder if that doesn't change things a bit.

    I continue to think he's a waste of good oxygen. But given our current uncharted territory where technology and privacy overlap, to me, privacy should win.

    Even when it's a total jackass.

    •  Answer to your question: (13+ / 0-)

      Does Sterling's belief regarding the purpose of recording those conversations legitimately define his expectation of privacy?

      Legally speaking (and I consulted three lawyers, two in California before writing this piece to make sure) it doesn't. ANY conversation recorded between two party where two-party consent has been met has no expectation of privacy

      But I also think there are two other factors to consider.

      1. He's a public figure. Privacy laws are much more narrow for public figures.

      2. The woman in question claims she didn't release the recordings. If that's the case, it's moot.

      But I do understand where you're coming from and if some slight "wrong" has been done to Sterling, I find it a Karmic reward for the numerous craps he's taken on the rights of others for decades.

      Discourse is better served if we can stick to the rules of logic.

      by backell on Wed Apr 30, 2014 at 06:01:20 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Thank you (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Jon Sitzman

        I appreciate your researched and informative response.

        I agree that karma came a'callin for this guy--it's the underlying legal issues and implications that I find interesting, especially in an age where so little can be kept private.

        •  It is (6+ / 0-)

          And I think I would probably side more on that end of things if he weren't aware, but as not just a lawyer himself, but as a litigious one himself, I don't think he can hide behind "I didn't know."

          Discourse is better served if we can stick to the rules of logic.

          by backell on Wed Apr 30, 2014 at 06:22:55 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  It doesn't matter if he knew or not, (0+ / 0-)

            except if he was recorded in a state where it requires two party consent, the person doing the illegal recording could face criminal charges.

            If the recordings were not released and a person just quoted the remarks, how is it different then the recordings being made public, except that you don't have to rely on somebody's recollection of a conversation but can listen to the exact conversation yourself, with every exact word spoken, the exact way it was spoken.

            •  As far a PR goes (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              white blitz

              Actually hearing someone say it makes a huge difference.

              In fact, there were all kinds of people, (Baron Davis, Elgin Baylor and many others) who had heard and given sworn affidavits that they had heard him say racist things before.

              But when people hear that they question it. When people hear the man's own voice saying it, there's no dispute. In today's age of Internet, Facebook and Twitter, there's a lot of room for outrage to take place.

              That means sponsors start pulling away and that means money and money means action.

              Point being, if it's removed to someone saying he heard he said it, it's not going to light the world on fire the way the actual recordings did.

              Discourse is better served if we can stick to the rules of logic.

              by backell on Thu May 01, 2014 at 05:38:57 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

    •  Do you have a reasonable expectation of ... (0+ / 0-)

      ... privacy when you talk knowing you are being recorded?

      Is the person doing the acknowledged recording limited by what you think will be the use of the recording?

      Perhaps there is some sort of recourse under these facts - she is an amanuensis who broke a contract not to publicize, for example - but I doubt any privacy right is at issue.

      2014 is HERE. Build up the Senate. Win back the House : 17 seats. Plus!

      by TRPChicago on Thu May 01, 2014 at 06:12:24 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Two Points (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        white blitz, TRPChicago

        1. No. I asked this question expressly. And as a lawyer Sterling should be completely aware of that.

        2. She didn't break the contract. Both she and TMZ (who published the recordings) say that she was not the one who did the leaking.

        Discourse is better served if we can stick to the rules of logic.

        by backell on Thu May 01, 2014 at 06:21:35 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Yes, But It's NOT Just This Occurence (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Jon Sitzman, AJayne, Shawn87, white blitz

    Donald has a rather long track record of being a racist dickweed. hasn't he been busted at least twice for housing discrimination?

    but it doesn't really matter-- reich wingers are going to spin this, attempt to protect Donald because he's an uber rich white guy. and uber rich white men rule.

    "We are beyond law, which is not unusual for an empire; unfortunately, we are also beyond common sense." Gore Vidal

    by Superpole on Wed Apr 30, 2014 at 06:39:20 PM PDT

    •  Yes (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Jon Sitzman, Kristina40, Loge, Superpole

      And some have used that as a deflection from the current issue too, with "Why are you suddenly worried about it now, NBA?!?!!?"

      The truth is that there have been offenses before but it's hard to say which was actually actionable. The two lawsuits he settled out of court were with no admission of wrongdoing.

      Some jurists in the Baylor suit wanted to compensate Baylor for having had to endure the man, but there was legal ground because they found he wasn't dismissed for his age/race.

      I think it was a sore spot for David Stern, and if he could have acted he would have. Silver said this was the first thing that came to them, and I think that's right.

      Discourse is better served if we can stick to the rules of logic.

      by backell on Wed Apr 30, 2014 at 06:45:48 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  The lawsuits against him were settled. Justice was (0+ / 0-)

      done. The NBA sanctions were solely about what he said in a private conversation with his purported mistress.
         This kind of thing is going to get out of hand very soon.

      •  Justice Was Done? (0+ / 0-)

        I guess if you want to believe that..

        But the conversations still weren't private.

        And the sky is not falling Mr. Little.

        Discourse is better served if we can stick to the rules of logic.

        by backell on Thu May 01, 2014 at 05:48:48 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  You're MISSING THE POINT (0+ / 0-)

        the recorded pathetic racist remarks of Sterling are just one incidence of a very long track record of his overt racism.

        The NBA should have dealt with this assclown long ago, but they didn't because again, uber rich white men have more rights and privileges than "the little people".

        "this kind of thing is going to get out of hand" means what, I wonder? there's finally going to be more effort to deal with racism in our nation?

        Nahh, you got nothing to worry about.

        "We are beyond law, which is not unusual for an empire; unfortunately, we are also beyond common sense." Gore Vidal

        by Superpole on Thu May 01, 2014 at 05:53:57 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  I agree. (0+ / 0-)
        This kind of thing is going to get out of hand very soon.
        Before long, every virulent billionaire racist will lose their sports franchise.

        I'm not sure if I want to live in that oppressive world...

  •  THIS should be your headline: (0+ / 0-)

    'They’re not so much defending what Sterling said"

    It is accurate, Your headline is not.

  •  The sponsors signs being covered up at the game (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    backell, TRPChicago, Shawn87

    was a really powerful sight.

    If there's one thing Corporate America is really good at, its sticking their finger in the wind and aligning with the winning side.

    "See? I'm not a racist! I have a black friend!"

    by TheHalfrican on Wed Apr 30, 2014 at 08:05:50 PM PDT

  •  Sterling doesn't need to win in court (0+ / 0-)

    All he needs to do is tie the NBA up in litigation for a few years.  He's in his 80s.  Apparently healthy, given his amusements, but still not going to last all that long.

    The key for him will be making sure the Clippers are part of his estate instead of paying capital gains on his profit and then having his estate paying estate tax on what is left.

  •  Besides... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    ...ownership of an NBA franchise is to be part of a very exclusive club. The club has rules, and there are penalties for conduct detrimental. With sponsors already fleeing, players threatening not to play, and a roar of fan disapproval, the case for detriment resulting from Sterling's words is pretty easy to make.

    I agree completely with backell: Sterling knew he was being recorded, so that his ex-girlfriend betrayed his trust isn't a violation of the law. And he'll get to keep the money when the franchise is sold.  There's no injustice here, except that people still hold bigoted views such as Sterling's.

  •  People claim "censorship" often (3+ / 0-)

    where they don't have any expectation of "freedom of speech." Here are a bunch of examples:

    If a mother or father asks you not to use the f-word in front of their five year old, then they kick you out of their house if you persist, that's not censorship.

    If you walk into a coffee shop and start shouting about aliens and conspiracies and generally being obnoxious, the owner of the coffee shop can ask you to leave. If you don't leave, he or she can call the cops.

    If you sign a contract that says you won't divulge certain sensitive or proprietary information related to your job, then you do that, freedom of speech doesn't apply.

    If you're appearing on TV or radio, you generally know there are certain words that are unacceptable.

    If you're in a crowded theater, you shouldn't shout "fire."

    And so on.

    Oh, one more. If you show up on Daily Kos and start spouting Republican talking points, or if you act like an asshole troll, you can be banned. That's not censorship.

    "Stupid just can't keep its mouth shut." -- SweetAuntFanny's grandmother.

    by Dbug on Wed Apr 30, 2014 at 09:28:08 PM PDT

  •  This is a disgusting diary. The diarist is (0+ / 0-)

    justifying hate campaigns and economic damage to individuals because of their opinions alone, even if, as in the case of Mr. Sterling, those opinions were expressed in a private conversation that was tape recorded by a vengeful "mistress."
       I never thought that I would see supposed liberals or progressives support such a thing.
       So what is the diarist's position on right wing activists who tape a college class on labor unions and then use the edited tape to conduct a talk radio campaign to get the professors fired?
       How about campaigns against "pinko" government workers?
       Surely, the diarist can't be opposed to the antics of James O'Keefe and his videotape campaign against ACORN.
        And NSA spying on the phone calls of citizens? What could be wrong with that?
        It's true that the First Amendment only protects against the government. But freedom of speech s a value in our society. Democracy can't work without it.
       Citizens also have a right to privacy - yes, even if they privately express opinions we don't like.


    •  You Should Probably Read it (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      TRPChicago, Kristina40, white blitz

      Or at least address that you're arguments were addressed in it instead of engaging in a hostile personal attack.

      1. The conversations weren't legally private.
      2. The "mistress" (whom both deny they ever had sex btw) was not the one who turned over the recordings.
      3. I'm not going to address red herrings here. Stick to the topic at hand.

      Discourse is better served if we can stick to the rules of logic.

      by backell on Thu May 01, 2014 at 05:46:11 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  The question of legality is not the issue. (0+ / 0-)

        The issue is whether it is okay to mount campaigns of personal destruction against individuals based on their speech.
           In the Sterling case, he was having a private conversation. It doesn't matter who turned over the recordings. What matters is that there is an element that feels that its okay to go after someone personally because of their offhand remarks.
           We don't know whether the tape is legit or whether it was dubbed.
            Nobody has been interested in finding out.
            I can come up with numerous examples of illicit recordings that progressives have rightly condemned: The spying on Martin Luther King, eg. Or the McCarthy era recording of teachers in classrooms.
           You guys are taking the side of Joe McCarthy, J. Edgar Hoover, Linda Tripp, and others if you think this kind of despicable spying is okay.
           And you are attacking democracy itself by trying to intimidate people who might disagree with you.

        •  That's where you're wrong (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          breatheeasy 3000

          The ONLY issue is one of legality.

          Of COURSE it's OK to "mount campaigns of personal destruction against individuals based on their speech."

          Are you saying that there are no consequences for what you say? That has NEVER been the case in America or ANY question.

          " In the Sterling case, he was having a private conversation."

          No, he wasn't. That's kind of the point here that you want to gloss over. Insisting the same wrong thing over and over doesn't make it right.

          "We don't know whether the tape is legit or whether it was dubbed."

          Yes, we know it's legit. All three parties on the tape have confirmed it.

          " Nobody has been interested in finding out."
          Apparently you're the only who hasn't tried to. Silver said in the press conference that Sterling acknowledges that it is his voice and those are his views.

          " I can come up with numerous examples of illicit recordings that progressives have rightly condemned: The spying on Martin Luther King, eg. Or the McCarthy era recording of teachers in classrooms."

          Yes you came with various apples and compared them to oranges. I ignored them because they are fallacious.

          "   You guys are taking the side of Joe McCarthy, J. Edgar Hoover, Linda Tripp, and others if you think this kind of despicable spying is okay."

          No, we're not. We're denying that those things are the same. But, I have to ask, were you as equally outraged over Tripp since you seem to think they're the same?

          This isn't "despicable spying."

          "And you are attacking democracy itself by trying to intimidate people who might disagree with you."

          Intimidate people who disagree with me? By answering them with logic? I'm sorry using facts and logic "intimidates you" but that's hardly "attacking democracy." In reality, trying to keep conversations TO THOSE things is the foundation of true democracy.

          Perhaps you should try more of that and less fallacy and hyperbole.

          Discourse is better served if we can stick to the rules of logic.

          by backell on Thu May 01, 2014 at 11:00:14 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  Calling BS on this (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      backell, delver, Loge, breatheeasy 3000

      Because there is no argument that the tapes in question fairly represent the contents of the conversation, which puts it in a very different league from the selective editing of James O'Keefe, which was done with the intention of distorting the meaning of the recordings.

      Your comment is a big pile of red herrings.

      If Democrats proclaim the the Earth is round and Republicans insist it is flat, we will shortly see a column in the Washington Post claiming the the earth is really a semi-circle.

      by TexasTom on Thu May 01, 2014 at 06:26:58 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •   Rich Black conspiracy to steal Clippers (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    delver, backell

    What some White think is going on with Sterling ,Limbaugh and others think he was set up by Blacks to steal the Clippers from Sterling,Foxnews is the official spokesperson for Sterling

  •  Mostly correct, like about letting him go ... (0+ / 0-)

    but critics do have a point in regards to the fine. It's one thing to be laid off for being unsuitable, even if found out in inappropriate ways (imagine, evidence of pedophilia even if found from stolen diary, etc.) However, altho I realize this is still not about limiting the government, we should draw some further inspiration from the Fourth Amendment. Evidence improperly seized is considered not valid for use in criminal prosecution, as a deterrent to acquiring it in such ways. Since the recording was not legit, the NBA shouldn't have fined Sterling based on something sourced in that kind of way - because that is a form of "punishment", not just protecting an employer/ees from a harmful employee. Again, compare to pedophilia: the person can be fired, but not appropriate to penalize them if material was improperly obtained.

    •  Oh, did Sterling know he was being recorded? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      So someone/s claims, is that so? It would change the argument somewhat, altho I'm just wary of private stuff like that being the basis for fines, not to be confused with maintenance of relationship.

      •  Yet overall ... (0+ / 0-)

        we should have means to punish those who record us surreptitiously, as a matter of principle. (Yet again, no logical contradiction with people learning of such things, being able to disassociate etc.)

    •  "Since the recording was not legit..." (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      white blitz

      Based on what do you assume the recording was anything but legit?

      Discourse is better served if we can stick to the rules of logic.

      by backell on Thu May 01, 2014 at 09:06:33 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  There's no state action here (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      and the NBA didn't record Sterling; they are no different from the general public.  If a third party illegally records someone, a newspaper is privileged in publishing it, and the government can use that information, subject not to the 4th amendment, but hearsay rules.  If, for instance, the NBA has to sue him to collect the $2.5 million, i doubt very much claims he didn't consent to being recorded could be raised as a defense to what is basically an arbitration award (so, the rules of evidence are relaxed).  Also, that seems to be not true.   (Sterling didn't even pay Mike Dunleavy the money owed to him on his contract to coach the Clippers, so there's precedent.)

      It's also routine of the NBA to fine owners (ok, Mark Cuban) for criticism of the refs.  Isn't that a fine based on content based speech.  What if an owner persistently refused to pay such fines?  Could the NBA not collect because it's punitive?  

      In Sterling's case, as well, the fine is piddling compared with other sanctions you agree the league can impose.

      Difficult, difficult, lemon difficult.

      by Loge on Thu May 01, 2014 at 12:40:44 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  That's a great point (0+ / 0-)

        And the fact is that one of the specific things which can empower the league to sell your team without your consent is failure to pay a fine.

        Discourse is better served if we can stick to the rules of logic.

        by backell on Thu May 01, 2014 at 02:37:01 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  The Problem Here (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Kentucky DeanDemocrat

      The problem here is you're ignoring that the NBA Constitution gives the NBA that power. He gave them that power when he agreed to be a part of the association, and he's benefited from the relationship.

      Discourse is better served if we can stick to the rules of logic.

      by backell on Thu May 01, 2014 at 02:35:29 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Defending the indefensible: one can only look bad (0+ / 0-)
  •  The Clippers were beginning to bleed sponsors. (0+ / 0-)

    Sterling is bad for business.  You would think free market lovers of capitalism would "get it".  They do until it messes with one of their hobbies ...let's see guns, propagandizing religion ...oh there it is - racism.

    And for the record if we knew the true identities of the folks spinning their nonsense on the 'internets' or had a recording of what they said in the privacy of their homes about something most of us have gotten over - minorities, gays, unmarried mothers, etc. then yes they can kiss their tax-payer funded jobs/contracts good-bye and fat chance any of us patronizing their businesses either.  There's a reason why members of the klan wear hoods.

  •  With you a thousand percent (0+ / 0-)

    overall. The First Amendment argument here is no argument at all, in particular--but I have to note two things. First of all, it's not just "the right" trying to make that argument. People from across the political spectrum--including Dems, including NPAs, including Indies, including your grandma and your 8 year old who is just finding his own voice--all these folks don't understand WHY IT ISN'T a First Amendment issue. They truly don't understand why Sterling couldn't feel free to talk "privately". That's pretty eye-opening all by itself.

    But then there's this, too. You're right:

    If Sterling knew he was being recorded, that changes everything, legally speaking. If you know you’re being recorded there is no expectation of privacy in a conversation.
    But at this point in time, I still say it doesn't even matter if he knew or not. The very existence of the NSA programs in place in this country, WRT our telephone conversations, has dashed every single solitary expectation of "privacy" on our citizens' phones, or just about any other means of communication you can think of. And sooner or later, some schlub is gonna pop up in a courtroom somewhere, charged with taping someone on a phone call without their permission, and their formerly-nobody, hard-ass lawyer will proceed to get them off the hook successfully with some variation of "Privacy? What Privacy?" as their "defense".

    I seriously can't believe it hasn't happened already...

    This all started with "what the Republicans did to language".

    by lunachickie on Thu May 01, 2014 at 12:10:34 PM PDT

    •  Sure, sure, but about the fine ... (0+ / 0-)

      I don't see any appreciation of my distinction about the fine. Sure, no protection from chosen consequences about association etc., but soaking someone for money as penalty should have some proper "provenance" behind it, true?

      •  It does have proper provenance behind it. (0+ / 0-)

        It's called the National Basketball Association.

        soaking someone for money as penalty should have some proper "provenance" behind it
        This is a private business which can--and will continue to--run its own affairs. Team owners, like players, are no doubt subject to what amounts to a "morals" clause somewhere in one of their contracts. The penalty for such transgressions can be fines or suspensions.

        There was no "soaking" that Sterling wasn't already aware was a possibility when he invested in the Clippers. And further, IMO, that's exactly why you'll never see him sue over it, or because he was taped in a "private" phone call whether he knew it was being taped or not. Because he'll lose. There's no more expectation of privacy in this country. Period.

        This all started with "what the Republicans did to language".

        by lunachickie on Thu May 01, 2014 at 01:32:29 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  It Does (0+ / 0-)

        It's in the NBA Constitution.

        Discourse is better served if we can stick to the rules of logic.

        by backell on Thu May 01, 2014 at 02:38:21 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  It worked for them with Duck (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Dynasty.  Why wouldn't they think it can work again?

    The right wing doesn't know what the word accountability means.  They think it only applies to Democrats, and sometimes I think the Democrats go along with that.

    The religious fanatics didn't buy the republican party because it was virtuous, they bought it because it was for sale

    by nupstateny on Thu May 01, 2014 at 12:40:32 PM PDT

  •  Most of what Delgado writes falls to two (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:


    1. -- Was "The Other Donald" Sterling's rant an excess, done in anger, rather than his fundamental set of beliefs ?

    2. -- What about anti-Jewish twitter postings, which do roughly approximate the slime of the Sterling anti-Black telephone statements ?

    The first topic is worth a review. You need history and there's plenty of history. The Elgin Baylor law suit falls on point. There's a lot more.

    The second topic is perfectly valid. For example:

    Donald Sterling: another old Jewish racist billionaire who hates blacks but loves to use them for profit. #BoycottClippers #SheldonAdelson

    Looking forward to @NOIResearch weighing in on Sterling controversy! No one wants 2 mention Jewish control of major sports! #StayWoke

    Donald Sterling is Jewish. Nothing has happened or ever will happen for all the things he’s done and said and he knows it. Because. America.

    There's worse.

    Antisemitism is every way as nasty as hating Blacks. And what ??? Adam Silver is suddenly a Presbyterian ? For the NBA in this crisis getting it right had nothing to do with Sterling's ethnicity.

    "Stealing kids' lunch money makes them strong and independent." -- Paul "False Prophet" Ryan von Koch

    by waterstreet2013 on Thu May 01, 2014 at 02:53:53 PM PDT

  •  The GOP and Blacks (0+ / 0-)

     If the issue involves a Blalk person and a White persons on different sides of a moral issue,  GOP picks the White person everytime.  NO matter the obvious right and wrong.
      I told this to a person in South Carolina that could not understand why I voted Democratic.  I did not want to get into a long discussion and flying the confederate flag was an issue at the time.  He said, "Oh I see".
      That ended the discussion.

  •  No ... it is NOT freedom of speech at all costs! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    No ... it is NOT freedom of speech at all costs!  If either bigots (Cliven Bundy and Donald Sterling) had racially slurred at an employee, say a housekeeper, in the privacy of their own homes, that will not pass as okay in a court of law.  The laws governing employer-employee relationships will still stand and overrule the 1st Amendment!

  •  I wish he wasnt forced to sell (0+ / 0-)

    He is going to make so much money now. I wanted him to be desperate to sell after a percentage of fans started boycotting him, at least one or two  drafted players held out, and free agents shunned his team.

    Then he would have to sell.

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