Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Should Opinions Be Illegal? The Donald Sterling Scandal

By Shane Kastler

I suspect that Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling is a rich, arrogant jerk who might have unfavorable views toward those different from him. I also suspect many of the young black athletes he employees are rich, arrogant jerks who have unfavorable views towards those different from them. Arrogance is not limited to any particular race. However in America today, arrogance from a “minority” is completely acceptable. While arrogance from a white person might cost them their livliehood.

With all of that said, let me offer
a word of caution to the media and all who (in typical fashion) have blown the Sterling scandal out of proportion. Who cares if Donald Sterling is a racist? It's unfortunate. It might be nice if his views changed. But in the end, who cares? And why on earth would the media be so enamored with the story anyway? And furthermore, why should a black person care for one second what Donald Sterling thinks of them? He's obviously willing to shell out millions upon millions to pay black athletes to play for his team. If he's such a racist, then why would he not employee white players only? Answer, because he's smart enough to know who will win ballgames and make money for his organization. Which leads me to another question.

Should personal opinions be illegal? Should personal opinions result in the loss of your livelihood? Frighteningly, the answer from most Americans seems to be yes. But the U.S. Constitution and common sense say otherwise. No matter how wrong Sterling's opinions might be, he has a right to hold them. Yet the media induced lynch mob would seek to destroy anyone who doesn't kowtow to their mantra. Al Sharpton (a racist in his own right) has called for the Clippers to be “taken away from Sterling.” By who? Who does Sharpton think has the authority or the right to do such a thing? The government? This is none of their business.

Others are calling for the NBA to seize the team away from Sterling. And for what reason? Because he made some statements to his “girlfriend” expressing irritation at her constantly posting pictures of herself with young, black men. While that might be construed as racist, one suspects that Sterling might have been equally annoyed if she was constantly posting pictures with young white men. The “race” probably isn't the issue, near as much as the “gender” is.

On Tuesday, NBA commissioner Adam Silver banned Sterling for life. That's a truly scary thought. What if Sterling changes his views? What if he becomes a poster child of political correctness? There's no forgiveness? He's banned for life because of his opinion? He's banned for life because of statements made in a personal conversation with a ditzy girlfriend who secretly taped him? My goal is not to defend Sterling. As I already stated, I assume he's an arrogant jerk. But arrogant jerks are entitled to their opinions too. Former NBA player (and current executive) Larry Johnson called for all-black basketball league. This is far more racist than anything Sterling said. Will the NBA ban Johnson? Will ESPN air round the clock coverage of Johnson's comments? No. He's black. Which means he's allowed to be a racist; according to the warped mindset of modern America.  What if Larry Bird called for an all white league? He'd be crucified.

Personally I haven't watched an NBA game in 20 years and don't plan to for the next 20. The league is nothing more than a politically correct cesspool of thuggery and arrogance. Once Jordan, Magic, Larry, and Dr. J retired I quit watching. The league has spiraled down hill ever since. And if your opinions are anything contrary to the status quo you can expect to be banned. For life.

Be careful in how quickly you might condemn Sterling for his alleged racism. And furthermore, be careful in espousing how you think he should be punished. Opinions are not against the law. And the same powers that would silence the racial opinions of Sterling today, might silence your religious or political opinions tomorrow. Don't fall into the snares of the media induced hysteria. Sterling's comments might be a little annoying; but in the grand scheme of things they are a non-issue writ large by the politically correct establishment that controls much of this country. Violent actions should be illegal. Personal opinions (no matter how stupid they may be) should not be. “Live and let live!” Isn't that what the Al Sharptons of the world always espouse? Perhaps it's time for them to practice what they preach.

Shane Kastler is Pastor at the Heritage Baptist Church, Lake Charles, LA and Co-Host; "Church & State" KELB Radio, 100.5 FM. He blogs at The Narrow Road.


  1. Personally, I am offended at the chauvinistic attitude of the NBA.
    If women can go into combat areas now,(fighting for our freedumbs), then splittails should not be banned from the NBA.
    And there doesn't seem to be enough brown-folk in the game either.
    Remember......Diversity is our strength.
    (pre-empting Jerry Wolfbait).

    1. what a stupid and useless comment. Are you being droll, or do you really think the NBA discriminates against women?

  2. Yeah, haven't watched it in a long time as well. Ever since the Kings got ripped off - and, yes, they got ripped. The league is a joke, and its fans are just as dumb like Oakland Raider fans. If somebody famous said the funnest thing to do is wipe poison oak on your nuts, they'll do it.

    I consider this whole thing to nothing but a tabloid event that was based on a private conversation with a chopped up audio tape. Public opinion convicted the man before any true evidence came out. Therefore, I just don't care for any of it. There's more important things in the world. However, it was amazing to watch the mass herds of idiocy be pushed into whatever direction the powers-that-be wanted it to go. I mean, I was sitting back, knowing or at least have an idea of what the real story of this thing was about, and just watching lies and hysteria tear a man down. Having a better idea of what was going on (money-wise), did not match up with what was being displayed on TV or MSM. They were willing to go this far just to take down one man. They do this with countries (e.g. Syria).

  3. Bravo. Fantastic post, couldn't have said it better myself. It's dangerous to do something like this merely because of what someone said. Where does society draw the line? What if someone says something that might be construed as "racist"? Words can be misinterpreted, unclear, ambiguous, etc. A speaker's intent is not always clear based on the words used. The point is, in the future, mere mention of the word "black" by a white person might be construed as racism. For example, "lots of blacks play for my team." Could this be construed as a racist comment? By someone, I'm sure, yes. Nowhere in the criminal or civil justice system can property be confiscated merely because of what someone *says*, yet apparently society deems that this is OK. You do, in effect, have a very slippery slope. And of course what makes it worse is that racism against whites by blacks is ok or even "cute." Blacks who denigrate whites are "showing their blackness" and it's something they're supposed to do, but whites can't make any sort of statement without being castigated. Ugh

  4. Donald Tokowitz is not white.
    Why is he reported as being white ?
    What is MSM's agenda ?

  5. I happened to catch the opening of the ESPN show, "Around the Horn" yesterday. Intellectually I realize what is happening to our country but the sight of the pompous, hateful group-think of the panelists was frightening. No punishment was too great, but the scariest parts of the discussion were the statements that no one would dare have another point of view on the subject, and that the NBA might allow Clipper players to break their contracts.

    1. My only solace in this whole bruhaha is that the NBA and its followers and media is a small subset of the greater populace. Sure, 90% of these people are basically jokes. Facile thinking morons of the highest order, but I think they are marginalized and rightfully so. It's a closed system. Thank God for that.

  6. I realize that my post is probably going to end up with most people here jumping on me with both feet, but I'm going to post it anyway.

    1. Let us all remember that the NBA is a PRIVATE organization for the most part.

    Yes, there is some crony capitalism well entrenched in stadium building, they are subject to "equal opportunity" bullshit laws, etc. But all of that is separate from this issue of Sterling being a dumbshit and being played by a young shark like a fiddle.

    2. Because the NBA is private, and obviously has a code by which owners must abide and agree to before become team owners, similar to a HOA or something along those lines- they can in essence do whatever they want within the terms of said contract.

    If they want to mandate that everyone wear purple pimp hats as part of the NBA's image/reputation, that is(and should be) within their purview to both create said terms AND enforce them.

    3. I understand I might be alone in VIEWING REPUTATION AS PROPERTY. I listened to RW talk very briefly at the request Rick Miller in his last "Comments on comments" episode on why someone shouldn't be 'allowed' to protect their reputation with the concern being regulating "people's thoughts." I actually understand that concern and that IS NOT what I'm endorsing. A clear line must be drawn however between personal thoughts and a directed, & concerted attack based on FALSE CLAIMS. (fraud) That in my estimation is a NAP violation.

    So I disagree with RW. This should be especially obvious in this Sterling case, as he signed on to a set of terms that are ostensibly written to protect the NBA's reputation.

    While we can all appreciate that their terms might be ridiculous, that the government itself has no business hammering racists for NAP violations, etc., that doesn't roll over to a private industry that specifically writes terms over ownership that includes such things that are agreed to by its members.

    So I'm going to think more about "reputation as property", even if I am the lone soldier in believing it is(or can be). I am prepared and welcome the hammering by all of you if my thinking is faulty, but I have yet to be convinced.

    Best regards to all.

    1. Nick, I submitted my comment before yours came up...else I would have just "agreed" with you.

      As to reputation as property; I am not settled on whether it is or isn't, yet I find no reason to stop someone from taking action to either a) use PR to "create" a reputation, or b) defend their reputation if they feel such defense is warranted.

    2. "hat the government itself has no business hammering racists for NAP violations"

      This should read "hammering racists for NON NAP violations".

      Obviously that's a big typo on my part.

    3. I agree, a lot of what I have seen so far from RW and his linked contributors misses the mark. There is a very libertarian/free market set of forces at work here - the NBA and its individual teams in particular rely heavily on private sector sponsorship, which will dry up in minutes at any hesitation to rectify a situation that causes major societal controversy.

      This happened with the Clippers - major sponsors immediately began suspending or terminating their contracts. We can hypothesize about their motivations for doing so, but regardless, the league is acting in its own financial self-interest here.

      Imagine a private firm with 30 board members - if one of these board members was catapulted into mass public criticism for controversial comments (racist or otherwise) would the other members not hasten to condemn those comments and then seek action against the ugly duckling? Would they not seek to remove the culprit from his position in the firm, by utilizing any and all relevant bylaws (agreed upon by the firm's members, including the culprit!) to do so? What might happen to the firm's funding sources if they did not?

      Again, this is not an example of the state confiscating property based on personal opinions protected by the First Amendment (although I worry that the state could use this issue as a model, which is naturally terrifying). This is an example of a significant figure in a private business damaging the reputation of the business and threatening its revenue.

      I also agree that Sterling was clearly set up, and there may be more conspiratorial motivations beneath the surface. I agree that Larry Johnson has been proven to be as much if not more racist than Sterling.

      However, the claim that the NBA has become a "politically correct cesspool" implies that there is no market-based motivation for its quest for political correctness, which is simply incorrect. I also feel sorry for the writer for his irrational dismissal of the NBA as an entertainment product. He looks like a pretty young guy; my guess is that he never really appreciated the game of basketball in and of itself, and after the stars he grew up with saw their ability diminish and left the league, he grew jaded with the enterprise. Although the stars might not shine as bright these days, it is hard to argue that the NBA is not a better product today than in the past, with vastly improved organizational depth, individual athleticism, strategy and competition.

    4. Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban says he doesn't support the NBA's forcing Donald Sterling to sell the Los Angeles Clippers after his racism scandal.

      He called it a "slippery slope" that would set a precedent for the league ousting owners because of their personal views in the future.

      Cuban told the Associated Press:

      "Again, there's no excuse for his positions. There's no excuse for what he said. There's no excuse for anybody to support racism. There's no place for it in our league, but there's a very, very, very slippery slope."

      He said forcing Sterling to sell would be un-American:

      "But regardless of your background, regardless of the history they have, if we're taking something somebody said in their home and we're trying to turn it into something that leads to you being forced to divest property in any way, shape or form, that's not the United States of America. I don't want to be part of that."

      And that's where Cuban's comment comes into play. By voting to eliminate Sterling, NBA owners would be setting a precedent for stripping owners of their property.

      Read more:

    5. you mean like this??

      LAS VEGAS -- A lawsuit has been filed against the Humboldt County Sheriff's Department alleging deputies there are unlawfully seizing cash from motorists traveling on I-80 toward California.

      One of the questionable stops was captured on dash-cam video.

      Deputy Lee Dove can be observed and heard on the video as he talks with a driver he pulled over.

      Deputy Lee Dove: "I just smelled weed. I know I did. I know I smelled weed."

      The Humboldt County deputy never finds weed in the car he's searching after a traffic stop on I-80, but he does find $50,000 in cash and $10,000 in cashiers checks.

      Dove is suspicious because the driver gave him conflicting answers to his questions and he tells the driver he's confiscating the cash.

      Deputy Dove: "Everyday I do this. It's all I do for a living. It's drug interdiction and I get money."

      Deputy Dove doesn't arrest or even cite the driver, but he offers him a deal. The driver can sign a release abandoning the cash and keep the cashiers checks and go on his way.
      IT'S WHAT HE DOES ALL DAY....shakes down people......hit and miss

    6. Nick,

      I completely agree with you. This is not a free speech issue. This is a freedom of association issue and a private property issue. The NBA execs chose not to associate with Sterling and cut their ties with him. I think Wenzel is displaying some libwap behavior here :)

      However, I disagree with you that reputation is property. Reputation is just a collection of opinions that other people hold about someone. You can't control other people's opinions. That doesn't mean there isn't room for some sort of defamation tort, which is, after all, a common law tort. But that's a different, and probably a long, conversation.

    7. "However, the claim that the NBA has become a "politically correct cesspool" implies that there is no market-based motivation for its quest for political correctness, which is simply incorrect."

      Yes but that's because of the absolute worship of that sickening ideology in the first place. So the marketplace is not the issue here. The existence of a sick religion is. So you're missing the point not us.

    8. @ BM

      No sweat bro, I appreciate all of your comments.

      Good point Anon @ 11:34, ty for the comment.

    9. Thank you Mark Cuban. At last somebody with enough fucking balls and brains to say the right thing.

    10. @ Ed Ucation

      One question:

      If you feel that defamation is an actionable offense, how is defamation a violation of the NAP if reputation isn't property?

    11. Cuban is missing one point. If Sterling signed a contract saying that his ownership of an NBA team is allowed under the condition he follow a certain set of rules, or that he could be stripped of ownership by a majority vote...if Sterling signed such a contract that it would be "un-American(whatever the hell that is anymore), but more importantly a contract violation to not abide by the terms.

      In other words, Sterling agreed in advance to the possibility of being stripped of his property...

      There is no legal defense for's a contract I probably wouldn't sign, but lots of people want stuff so badly they'll sign any thing.

    12. @ Nick

      I didn't say that defamation is an actionable offense. I just said that just because reputation isn't property doesn't necessarily mean that defamation is not a valid tort. I am not convinced that it is a valid tort, but I am open to finding other justifications for it. For example, defamation could be seen as some sort of aggression, though I doubt libertarians (me included) would jump on that bandwagon. I think it depends partly on whether you subscribe to an objective natural law, or whether you subscribe to the idea of "designed rights," wherein society and private courts would be willing to recognize defamation as a valid tort.

      I have suggested before that a good springboard for exploring these topics would be to see whether libertarians recognize the common law tort of Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress as a valid tort. I have written about it here:

      I don't know, I find this kind of stuff interesting. Just what is aggression and what is not aggression? Is stalking aggression, as Kinsella claims? Is emotional torture aggression?

    13. @ Ed

      "I didn't say that defamation is an actionable offense."

      That is what I presumed under the definition of "tort":

      "a wrongful act or an infringement of a right (other than under contract) leading to civil legal liability."

      Anyway, I agree with your statement:

      "I don't know, I find this kind of stuff interesting. Just what is aggression and what is not aggression?"

    14. @ Nick

      You make it sound like Sterling bought the Clippers last year, he bought the team over 30 years ago. The implications of those “set of rules” have changed a lot in the last 30 years.

    15. If he didn't sign on to the "package", then he's not bound to it, right?

      I really don't know what his contractual obligations are, but my whole point is that if he has them, then he has them.

  7. The author raises many important points – yes there is a double-standard, yes this was supposed to be a private conversation. These important issues have been swept away in the emotion of public opinion and even hysteria.

    However, the author also blurs the line between government action and private action, for example:

    “Should personal opinions be illegal? Should personal opinions result in the loss of your livelihood?”

    These are two entirely different issues. The answer to the first is clearly no. The answer to the second depends on your agreement with your employer (or in Sterling’s case, his agreement with the league).

    “…be careful in espousing how you think he should be punished. Opinions are not against the law.”

    This isn’t an issue of law; it is an issue of NBA by-laws and the NBA Constitution.

    Sterling chose to be in a business where public opinion matters. Public opinion is not always rational. If Sterling doesn’t want to be subject to the whims of public opinion, perhaps he shouldn’t have gotten into a business where public opinion matters.

    This doesn’t have to be right or fair; it just is.

    1. +1 on this.

      The NBA still has to make money even if their audience has a bunch of PC dumbshits in it.

      By the way, I love watching basketball, but I'm under no delusions over what many of their fans represent demographically, I like NFL football too despite their predilection towards glorifying the state and a bunch of other BS outside of the actual game.

    2. BM misses the point too. Crazy idiots.

  8. This comment has been removed by the author.

  9. The Kings did get ripped off! My interest in the NBA has declined steadily since then. Haven't watched a whole game this year and probably less than 2 or 3 hours total. No plans to watch the playoffs or finals either.

    1. Too bad, so far it has been one of the best playoffs in years. The league is deeper and has more parity, and the strategical development of the league has never been more fast-paced. But sure, deny yourself potential entertainment because of your decade old prejudice against the product, without actually looking at what is currently being put out.

  10. Shaq Gets Owned Like a Chump After Cruelly Mocking a Man for the Way He Looks

    what' the nba have to say about this????????

  11. The minute that President Obama commented upon this's a whole nother ballgame.

  12. I wonder about a party in a private business that would break a contract based on some sort of morality/scandal clause not because he was cheating on his wife and lavishing gifts and favors on what appears to be a professional gold digger but, no, his insistance that she tone it down a bit, yeah, that's just beyond the pale. Ban him for life! How dare he!

  13. I have heard a lot of different opinions on this, but here is mine. Here it is. I don't agree with what sterling said. I don't agree with his opinion one bit, but to me this seems blown up. First of all it isn't even legal for him to be recorded without him knowing, so if anyone is at fault with "the law" it's the girl that recorded him. Now that being said, obviously that has nothing to do with the NBAs decision. I think it is completely wrong that this got out in the first place, but as far as the NBAs decision, that is up to them as they are private. To me, the bigger underlying issue here is the flack he is taking for it because of the fact that he is white and descriminating against blacks. I don't agree with it at all, but tell me it would be the same if a black man said something like this towards whites. No, it wouldn't be the same. For some reason in our society it is ok for people of minority races to go off on people that aren't the same as them and get some sort of mental "get out of jail free" card. It dosent matter if they are a different race, or different physically, it's just ok for some reason. I bet if a non white owner came out and said something like this man has said, they could probly just apologize for their remarks at the next press conference and it would be old news. I just wish our society really could have the same punishment/reaction to all races, and not just one particular to be called out for everything. Now all that being said, I disagree with everything that the owner of the Clippers said, and it is discracefull to me that someone in his position would ever say something like that, but I just thought I would voice my opinion on what underlies all of this to me.

  14. I will also state what many have already stated: freedom of speech, press, religion, association, etc. only means the government can't interfere and nothing else. There's no freedom of speech, press, religion, association, etc. in the private arena. In an ideal Libertarian scenario where government ceases to exist and society is run by private interests then aforementioned freedoms are now at the whims of the various private interests.

    1. Strawman-ing as usual. Please **ck off.

    2. Nope. Libertarians want government out and replaced with private businesses and let private businesses choose who they will and will not associate with. It's akin to Libertarians assuming all private roads won't speed limits only to get offended when private owners do just that.