Letters from the Lunar Outpost

The wicked flee when no one pursues, but the righteous are bold as a lion.
- Proverbs, Jewish, Old Testament (B.C. 1000?-200?)

nba

Donald Sterling and the Death of Free Speech

“Donald Sterling and the Death of Free Speech” … You really think I’m going to argue that Sterling’s ouster from the NBA is an attack on free speech? Nah, that headline is just some blatant click bait on my part.

You talk about a burning topic, this whole Donald Sterling drama has inspired more discussion here at my work than any story that’s hit the news stream through the 13 months I’ve been here. (And just to be clear, I’m on lunch break right now.)

There’s no shortage of opinions both here at my work and on the Internet as well. What really strikes me though is how widespread a certain misconception is . . .

People are asking, “No matter how bad his racism is, how can you punish Donald Sterling for speaking his mind?” Some are even going so far as to call it the death of free speech in America.

Here’s what people are missing: the First Amendment was created to protect the right of people to speak freely and not be censored by the government. The key part being that, like every other inalienable right defined in the Constitution, it was put there to protect you and me from the government.

Now look at things from the perspective of the private entity known as the National Basketball Association. Put yourself in the shoes of the other twenty-nine owners and all the people employed by the league. If Donald Sterling is out there making racist comments telling his girlfriend not to bring them black people to his team’s games and those comments are made public (regardless of whether it was recorded illegally) once those comments become public, if the NBA does nothing about it or gives this billionaire owner nothing more than a million dollar slap on the wrist, how many people are going to say, “To hell with the NBA! Why should I spend my money on a league that allows a team owner to spout that racist garbage?”

Sponsors were already bailing out on the Clippers left and right, but beyond those sponsors, for the league as a whole, it’s easy to imagine thousands of fans choosing not to spend their money supporting a league that failed to show to the world that it has a zero tolerance policy towards racism.

If the NBA were to lose even a small portion of its fan base, now you’re not just talking about lost sponsors for one team, you’re talking about revenue lost throughout the entire league. That’s something that would impact everyone in the NBA, from the owners and the suits in the front offices, through the players negotiating contracts in a league with dwindling revenues, all the way to the rank and file working the ticket booths and concession stands.

I have to give major props to league commissioner Adam Silver. The NBA has every right to police it’s own and they did exactly what they had to do and I’m going to call it right now, when the vote comes and Donald Sterling is judged by a jury of his peers, those other twenty-nine owners will be voting unanimously in telling Donald Sterling not to be bringing his racist ass to their games.

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Perhaps the greatest tragedy of Donaldgate is that one woman's life is ruined.  How can V. Stiviano ever recover from being introduced to America as the woman who was willing to sleep with THAT guy - Donald Sterling - just so she can live a lavish ifestyle?

Perhaps the greatest tragedy of the release of the Donald Sterling tape is that one woman’s life is ruined. How can V. Stiviano ever recover from being introduced to America as the woman who was willing to sleep with THAT guy – Donald Sterling – just so she can live a lavish lifestyle? She did it to herself, but it’s still pretty sad.

So yesterday, a secret recording was released of L.A. Clippers owner Donald Sterling in which he was exposed as a full-blown racist:

– “It bothers me a lot that you want to broadcast that you’re associating with black people. Do you have to?” (3:30)

– “You can sleep with [black people]. You can bring them in, you can do whatever you want. The little I ask you is not to promote it on that . . . and not to bring them to my games.” (5:15)

– ”I’m just saying, in your lousy f******* Instagrams, you don’t have to have yourself with, walking with black people.” (7:45)

– “…Don’t put him [Magic Johnson] on an Instagram for the world to have to see so they have to call me. And don’t bring him to my games.” (9:13)

Source: The Daily Caller via TMZ

No way you can walk back those comments. And in a sick way, I bet you Donald Sterling probably thinks of himself as a liberated mind, you see, he doesn’t have any hangups if his girl is having sex with them black folks (interracial sex is usually the biggest nightmare in the minds of these mental defectives) no, he doesn’t care if you sleep with them, he just doesn’t want to have to see it or hear about it on social media and at his sports arena. Seriously, I bet he really believes that somehow makes him a bit elevated from your garden variety racist.

When the story broke, after I got past the nausea and disgust that people like this still are still walking the earth and have yet to be completely shamed into non-existence, my very next thought was, “Please don’t let him be a Republican, please don’t let him be a Republican . . . ” While I know that racists come in all shapes, sizes and party affiliations, if this guy had turned out to be a Republican, the media would never let us hear the end of it.

Well, if you want to know what political party someone subscribes to, just follow the money. It turns out that racist Donald Sterling is on the books as having donated to disgraced California Democrat Governor Gray Davis, he’s donated to Democrat Senator Leahy, the lefty from Vermont, as well Democrat senator and presidential candidate Bill Bradley.

So he’s donated to Democrats and no one but Democrats. How else can you tell that Don is a dyed in the wool Dem?

This is only one of many examples in recent memory of Democrats showing their true inner racist when they didn’t know they were being recorded:

150 years ago, the nation was fighting a war to liberate blacks from Democrat plantation owners, today the NBA has to liberate itself from a Democrat team owner. On both moral grounds and from a purely business standpoint, there is no way the NBA can allow itself to continue associating with an owner who is on public record spewing that level of bigotry.

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I’m a 34-year-old NBA center. I’m black. And I’m gay.

I didn’t set out to be the first openly gay athlete playing in a major American team sport. But since I am, I’m happy to start the conversation. I wish I wasn’t the kid in the classroom raising his hand and saying, “I’m different.” If I had my way, someone else would have already done this. Nobody has, which is why I’m raising my hand.

My journey of self-discovery and self-acknowledgement began in my hometown of Los Angeles and has taken me through two state high school championships, the NCAA Final Four and the Elite Eight, and nine playoffs in 12 NBA seasons.

I’ve played for six pro teams and have appeared in two NBA Finals. Ever heard of a parlor game called Three Degrees of Jason Collins? If you’re in the league, and I haven’t been your teammate, I surely have been one of your teammates’ teammates. Or one of your teammates’ teammates’ teammates.

source: Sports Illustrated

Jason Collins, Sports Illustrated CoverIf they had been the ones who made the choice, the gay community could not have picked a better man to be the first openly gay athlete in American big league sports. Seriously, how eloquent is this guy? Please do click the link and keep reading. It’s a great read. For all Jason Collins gifts as an athlete, the man is equally gifted with words.

Depending on where you mark the beginnings, Major League Baseball has been around for about 140 years, the NFL is seven years shy of 100, and the NBA will turn 67 in June. Through those three leagues and hundreds of years combined, no active player has come out until now. That is how hard the unwritten code of the locker room was cast. They may as well just have had a sign over the door of the locker room of every sports team in America that read, “NO GAYS ALLOWED.”

Jason Collins just showed a lot of courage to come out the way he did today. We’re not talking courage on the level of Jackie Robinson, Collins won’t face a level of hate anything near what Robinson faced in being the first black man to play in the major leagues, but as far as heroes and heroines go, in one day, I would say the man is already of a larger magnitude than say, Ellen DeGeneres, who came out in a comedian / entertainment community which already had it’s fair share of openly gay performers. This is not to take away anything from Ellen (whose act is surprisingly about as clean as Bob Sagat spinning jokes on America’s Funniest Home Videos) but beloved as Ellen may be by the gay community and supporters of gay rights, what Jason Collins did today was a giant leap forward compared to Ellen’s step out of the closet.

Myself personally? I’m so straight, I once french kissed a guy on a bet and felt even more straight after that kiss because I felt nothing whatsoever in it. I only have eyes for women and nothing but women. I also have a lot of Christian friends who I respect who truly believe that homosexuality is a sin. I will continue respecting them as long as they also live up to Jesus’ teaching to “hate the sin, love the sinner”.

That is their belief, they think homosexuality is a choice and a sinful one at that, and I will respect my Christian friends who believe this even though I have seen with my own eyes plenty examples of people who I believe were born gay. Sure, some people might make the choice as a conscious decision, a choice that they would rather live the alternative lifestyle, but who among us hasn’t also known a two- or three- or four-year-old kid that you already knew was gay many years before they might figure it out themselves?

There are conservatives and there are libertarians. I am much more the latter than the former, but for my conservative friends who believe in “traditional marriage”, I ask you to try to imagine being born different as I give some major props to Jason Collins, because today, he became the first major leaguer to have the courage to come out and say, this is me, and I am who I am.

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LeBron James Haters Gon' Hate

After nine years in the league, and three trips to the Finals, LeBron James finally gets a ring for those ringless fingers.

Haters gon’ hate and yeah, I’m gonna keep on hatin’ too, because LeBron James is the most unlikable, least charismatic player in the entire league. Take the top 50 players in the league, and it would be a pleasure and a privilege to meet 49 of them, but I’d rather shake hands with a dentist who’s about to tell me I need a root canal than shake hands with this guy.

How much do I dislike LeBron as a player? Put it this way, if he got traded to the Lakers tomorrow, that would be the end my lifelong love affair with them.

Bill Laimbeer Went His Entire Career Thinking He'd Never Committed a FoulAnd I am not at all a player hater, you have to go all the way back to the NBA days of the goofy little short shorts to find the last time I really couldn’t stand an NBA player this much, all the way back to the days of Bill Laimbeir and the “Bad Boy” Pistons.

Laimbeer was a guy who specialized in the flagrant foul (as a matter of fact, it’s said the NBA instituted rules addressing the flagrant foul because of Bill Laimbeer) and yet no matter how obvious most of the calls against him were, almost every single time you’d see him launch into a wild, gyrating protestation like he’d just been dealt the greatest injustice in league history.

And yet even with all the elbows and the cheap shots and the histrionics and even adding to that some of the most blatant flopping you’ve ever seen, even with all that, I still don’t think Laimbeer was any more annoying than the guy who began calling himself King James back in his high school days. I’m pretty sure none of that will change now that the ringless “king” has become the “chosen one” of the one ring.

LeBron James Disappointed All of Cleveland on Live TV

Q: What kind of asshole does it take to hold the hearts of an entire city hostage through an entire season, only to let them know on live TV that he’s going elsewhere?

A: A king-sized asshole.

But beyond the infamous “Decision” on live TV that broke Cleveland’s heart and looking past the fact that LeBron has shown himself a poor sport in dissing fellow players on the post-game handshakes and ignoring for a second the way even the most clever commercial writer can’t make this guy seem affable for a mere thirty-second spot, I think it was the way LeBron took to the Heat management’s lame idea of a parade and celebration before they’d ever won a single game that really sealed the deal for me as far as being resolved to root against LeBron and Co. for as long as they play the game:

I can’t even stand to watch that whole dog and pony show with all the premature fireworks and hoopla, so I included the transcript if you can’t stomach it either.

Here’s LeBron, asked about bringing a championship to Miami:

Not two, not three, not four, not five, not six, not seven . . . hey, and when I say that, and when I say that, I really believe it, you know, I’m not just up here blowin’ smoke and none of these fans, um, because that’s not what I’m about, I’m about business.”

I can only wonder what Michael Jordan was thinking watching this, sitting at home with his six rings while LeBron, having won absolutely nothing up to that point in his career, was talking about winning eight rings like it was nothing, as if it was already a done deal.

I also love the fact that there were 1,343 people who voted “dislike” on that video as opposed to the 330 Miami fans that liked it.

. . . we gon’ challenge each other in practice and uh, the way we gon’ challenge each other in practice, once the game starts, I mean, it’s gonna be easy.

Wow. There are some unwritten rules in the league, first and foremost being that you never snitch on another player for leaving the club with a woman who’s not his wife, but I’m pretty sure there’s also somewhat of an unspoken rule among these professional athletes that you should never make an ass of yourself by disrespecting your fellow players and dismissing the talent of the entire league by saying things like it’s all going to be easy once the games start.

So after nine years in the league, LeBron finally came through on his third trip to the NBA Finals. Hooray for you, LeBron, but you still suck. That’s not just Cleveland saying that, that’s just about everyone outside of Miami saying that. You suck because you’re the least likable man in all the NBA and you suck because you’re still seven championships shy of your own prediction.

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Team of Rivals
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Doris Kearns Goodwin