Whatever happened to NBA owner Donald Sterling’s free speech?
There has been a global outpouring of support for free speech (more precisely, speech without consequence) in the wake of a recent tragedy…well let’s have Time Magazine tell the tale:
People protesting the Paris killings unauthorized recording met in Trafalgar Square LA Live as British Prime Minister David Cameron Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti and German Chancellor Angela Merkel NBA Commissioner Adam Silver discussed the attack in Downing Streeton Donald Sterling.
You see, Donald Sterling was recorded – unbeknownst to him – saying a few things that the NBA found politically incorrect. Adam Silver, and many of the other NBA team owners, wanted to strip Sterling of his team – the Los Angeles Clippers. Let’s see what happened next:
Out of the horror came something beautiful. Not all of the people who traveled to London’s Trafalgar Square Los Angeles, or attended similar vigils in other cities and countries states throughout Europe the country, could explain why they felt impelled to come.
The people came out in droves. Social media played a major role in drawing together the supporters:
As the news of the attack spread, the hashtag #JeSuisCharlie — “I AmCharlieDonald” — became a declaration of solidarity…
They were in solidarity for Donald Sterling’s right to free speech – no matter how hateful or derogatory toward any racial group, he had a right to say it without fear of reprisal or consequence.
It was a solemn occasion:
They stood in near silence in a crowd of several hundreds under Nelson’s Column near the Los Angeles River…
Yes, there really is one. I don’t make this stuff up.
With this, Donald Sterling – due to significant public pressure – was allowed to keep his basketball franchise. Never again would comments deemed to be racist, recorded in secret, be used to foment anger toward another.
My view at the time of the Donald Sterling incident was simple: face the consequences of what you say; if you happen to be a public figure, that can sometimes be painful. It doesn’t matter what I think about what Sterling said – but losing an NBA franchise seemed a rather major punishment for something said in private. Well, no one said life was fair.
What about Charlie Hebdo? Like all writers on this topic, I will state the obligatory – nothing justifies the killing of another except for physical self-defense (or defense of another), in proportion to the perceived risk. I think the murders were a horrendous act.
Having said that, how dumb do you have to be? I don’t go walking around the seedier parts of town at 3 AM with hundred dollar bills falling out of my pockets. What might I expect if I did? What about MYfreedom?
I believe in free speech. I also believe that there are stupid people with mouths…or pens. People by the thousands are protesting for the right to protect such speech (have you seen any of the pictures from Charlie, which I won’t even link to because of my disgust?). Of course, they protest only in selective cases (for those who haven’t figured out my post, there were no similar protests on behalf of Sterling).
They are protesting for protection from stupidity, from playing with fire, from walking around with hundreds of dollars falling out of their pockets. Good luck with that. All you are going to get is a more advanced police state, all because you are asking for it.
And you are going to stick me with it.
Reprinted with permission from Bionic Mosquito.
Copyright © 2015 Bionic Mosquito
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