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Why What The NBA Did Was Right And What Mozilla Did Was Wrong
The Federalist ^ | 04/30/2014 | Denny Burk

Posted on 04/30/2014 8:29:33 AM PDT by SeekAndFind

Earlier today, NBA commissioner Adam Silver announced sanctions against Clippers owner Donald Sterling. These sanctions came down after an audio recording came to light with Sterling making racist comments in a private conversation. In the aftermath of public outrage, it also came to light that Sterling has a history of racist behavior, including discriminatory housing practices in properties that he owns. Commissioner Silver announced that Sterling is banned from the NBA, fined $2.5 million, and under pressure to relinquish his ownership.

These are hefty sanctions. And I think they are justified in light of the evidence that Sterling has a history not merely of racist views but also racist behavior. Leaders have an interest in maintaining the values of their organization–especially those that relate directly to the mission of the organization and to the expectations of their constituency.

Nevertheless, I have seen many thoughtful people raise questions about the precedent that this decision sets. The questions go like this. If the NBA can get rid of Sterling for his unpopular racial views, then can’t other organizations get rid of employees for their unpopular views on marriage? Isn’t this in fact what happened to Brendan Eich when he was recently fired as CEO of Mozilla? Why is okay when the NBA discriminates against unpopular views, but not okay when Mozilla does it?

I think these are important and legitimate questions. And let me say that I fully expect that the logic used in the NBA’s ouster of Sterling will be used against Christians and others who hold to traditional marriage. Nevertheless, I do not believe that it is inconsistent to celebrate the NBA’s decision while vocally opposing Mozilla’s decision. Why? Because the two decisions are not analogous in my view.

Ironically, I find myself in agreement with Andrew Sullivan on this. Even though Sullivan supports gay marriage and I do not, he clearly sees the relevant differences between the two situations:

If an owner of a business makes baldly racist remarks urging public dissociation from an entire racial group, private sector sanctions – from the NBA or fans or sponsors – are “permissible.” They are always permissible in a free country. That’s why Brendan Eich is out of a job. The second question is whether what is permissible is proper or justified, and that will always depend on the specific case. I think it’s obviously appropriate in the Sterling case – because the remarks are horrifyingly racist. If Brendan Eich had made comments telling his friends to keep away from faggots, if he’d used any such terminology or had ever been shown to have discriminated against gays in the workplace or in his daily interactions, then his case would be very similar. But no such comments are in the public or private record, and there’s zero evidence that he ever acted in the workplace to harm gay employees. Au contraire, which is why gay Mozilla employees were divided about his ouster, with some supporting him. Sterling’s remarks, in contrast, reveal him to be a crude, foul bigot – which is why there is no division at all among African-Americans in the league – or beyond the league – about his fate.

There are many people in America who will not see the distinction that Sullivan is drawing here. And many of those people will cite the NBA’s precedent as a basis for private sector sanctions against Christians who hold a traditional view on marriage. I do not deny that such will probably happen at some point in the future. Having said that, the potential misuse of this precedent in the future is hardly a reason for denying its justice in Sterling’s case. And that is why it’s perfectly consistent to say that what Mozilla did to Eich is wrong, and what the NBA did to Sterling is right.

Denny Burk is an Professor of Biblical Studies and Ethics at Boyce College.



TOPICS: Constitution/Conservatism; Culture/Society; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: gaymarriage; mozilla; nba; racism

1 posted on 04/30/2014 8:29:33 AM PDT by SeekAndFind
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To: SeekAndFind

Screw you. Let’s go after ALL ‘racist’ including non white ones


2 posted on 04/30/2014 8:30:46 AM PDT by Altura Ct.
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To: Altura Ct.

I am thinking the same thing, it’s long past time to start going into the black churches these black proponents go to and start recording the black power, black racist rants that happen there nearly every service and then capture these black racists on tape responding positively to it in the service then blast the evidence of the TRUE racists and TRUE racism across the world via the internet.


3 posted on 04/30/2014 8:35:08 AM PDT by TexasFreeper2009 (Obama lied .. the economy died.)
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To: TexasFreeper2009

Rev Wright should be in prison for 20 years of his remarks.


4 posted on 04/30/2014 8:36:15 AM PDT by ridesthemiles
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To: Altura Ct.

That’s what a lot of us are thinking. When will the leagues begin giving harsh sanctions about drug abuse, violence off the playing areas, and racist comments by players? I doubt it, but Silver has set the stage for more controversy when players or owners do things contrary to the good of the leagues, and are then given a pass.


5 posted on 04/30/2014 8:36:52 AM PDT by Enterprise ("Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities." Voltaire)
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To: SeekAndFind

I think the players should be fined for all the times they said “whitey” or w—


6 posted on 04/30/2014 8:39:02 AM PDT by Sacajaweau
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To: SeekAndFind

Half the rappers around should be stripped of their assets.


7 posted on 04/30/2014 8:39:42 AM PDT by Sacajaweau
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To: Altura Ct.
In our haste to hurl the word 'racist' at anyone, we seem to have forgotten the TRUE MEANING of the word. Here it is:

rac·ism ˈrāˌsizəm/

"the belief that all members of each race possess characteristics or abilities specific to that race, especially so as to distinguish it as inferior or superior to another race or races."

Now, based on the above definition, can anyone explain to me how Sterling's statement to his girlfriend meet the criteria of racism?
8 posted on 04/30/2014 8:41:05 AM PDT by SeekAndFind (If at first you don't succeed, put it out for beta test.)
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To: SeekAndFind

I thought recording a conversation between parties without the other party’s knowledge was considered illegal. Am I missing something? Regardless of what you think of the individual and what was said, a private conversation and the opinions expressed are just that, private. Or am I deluded in my thinking and the court of public opinion has become judge, jury, and executioner for those charged with thought-crime.


9 posted on 04/30/2014 8:47:20 AM PDT by factoryrat (We are the producers, the creators. Grow it, mine it, build it.)
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To: SeekAndFind

Oddly enough, Sterling’s statements this time were not in any way racist. They may have betrayed his dislike of blacks, but in and of themselves they do not meet the definition of true racism.

However, his other statements in the past have indeed met the definition. It’s just even more peculiar that his *actual* racist statements and actions were ignored for the longest time.

I always found it amusing how the definition of the word is ignored and the label is just thrown around.


10 posted on 04/30/2014 9:00:17 AM PDT by flintsilver7 (Honest reporting hasn't caught on in the United States.)
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To: SeekAndFind

Two wrongs never make a right. Dumb article.


11 posted on 04/30/2014 9:02:30 AM PDT by mulligan (I)
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To: SeekAndFind
Now, based on the above definition, can anyone explain to me how Sterling's statement to his girlfriend meet the criteria of racism?

Sterling's quote to his girlfriend as I was able to find it after looking for a few minutes:

Why are you taking pictures with minorities? Why? It’s like talking to an enemy. Hispanics feel certain things towards blacks. It bothers me a lot that you’re associating with black people. [...] You’re supposed to be a delicate white or a delicate Latina girl. [...] You don’t have to have yourself walking with black people.

Ok, well it is racist in that presumes "black people" as having a characteristic making them undesirable for his girlfriend. Not making any distinction as to a particular set of "black people" but putting them in the same category of having this undesirable characteristic, it seems to meet the definition.

There are other things about Sterling that demonstrate racism as well such as not wanting to rent apartments to blacks, but you asked about how the statement to his girlfriend met a definition you provided.

As far as the term "racism" being tossed around too much, I would agree, but in the case of Sterling the term fits. I also think the term would, ironically, fit for many ultra-leftwing nuts who see the entire white race as "racist".

12 posted on 04/30/2014 9:03:02 AM PDT by AndyTheBear
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To: SeekAndFind
I don't agree. If the owner wants to have views that run contrary to today's liberal mantra, let him. As repugnant and repulsive as his comments were, we are supposed to have the right and freedom to express our views.

What's wrong is letting someone or an organization, like the NBA, impose sanctions and penalties because those views run counter to their views. The NBA is not supposed to be the "thought police." This smacks of Big Brother in a very bad way.

Plus there is a double standard going on here. For instance, a fundamental Christian can't say a thing against homosexuals yet they can rail and protest over our standards on moral behavior and how they run contradictory to their views. The bottom line; Big Brother can have their say and no one can say anything against it, yet little brother cannot have his views for fear of retaliation.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not condoning the Clipper's owner's views or statements, but if he wants to have those views, let him. He'll soon discover the error of his ways, either in this life or the next. But no one should have the right to penalize someone because their views are not in line with theirs.

13 posted on 04/30/2014 9:03:32 AM PDT by ducttape45
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To: ducttape45

The fine is paid with the 3 mil UCLA just declined to take and gave back almost 1/2 a million first payment on the money Sterling gave them for Kidney Research! BFD!
The Liberal mind is a terrible thing to waste!


14 posted on 04/30/2014 9:15:24 AM PDT by DocJhn
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To: SeekAndFind

justified?


15 posted on 04/30/2014 9:17:02 AM PDT by GeronL (Vote for Conservatives not for Republicans!)
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To: SeekAndFind
...it also came to light that Sterling has a history of racist behavior...

No, Sterling's behavior was known by industry and legal watchers for many years. This was no surprise to the LA community.

This is written by a professor of the Bible??? The reasoning is about as thin as the pages of the Good Book.

16 posted on 04/30/2014 9:17:03 AM PDT by SoFloFreeper
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To: SoFloFreeper

This guy claims they aren’t analogous. But he provides no evidence Sterling was biased toward his black employees. None.

One case is being litigated. But that is not resolved.


17 posted on 04/30/2014 9:19:05 AM PDT by SoFloFreeper
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To: SoFloFreeper

2 + 2 = 5


18 posted on 04/30/2014 9:24:06 AM PDT by bicyclerepair (The zombies here elected alcee hastings. TERM LIMITS ... TERM LIMITS)
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To: SeekAndFind

........look, the libs can say what they want to say, but fining someone $2.5 million dollars for “saying something” in the privacy of his own living room is bullshit!

Banning him from walking in a gym or managing his business is likewise unconstitutional.

If the NBA doesn’t watch out he will come after them with a good team of lawyers and win, BIG!!!

Their are many ways to “get back” at a person the masses don’t like that are constitutional. The players can just refuse to play, the fans can refuse to show up, the banks can refuse to loan him money and the list is probably endless. But, talking to someone in the privacy of your own living room IS protected by the constitution which makes everything the NBA is doing ILLEGAL.

One of my first questions would be is “IS that tape even admissible in court?” We wanted to tape someone in a child custody case out in California years ago and were told it was illegal so we didn’t do it. If it is not admissible, then there is no case at all.


19 posted on 04/30/2014 9:32:45 AM PDT by Cen-Tejas (it's the debt bomb stupid!)
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To: Cen-Tejas

RE: Banning him from walking in a gym or managing his business is likewise unconstitutional.

I keep asking myself, how is that not tantamount to property confiscation?


20 posted on 04/30/2014 9:34:33 AM PDT by SeekAndFind (If at first you don't succeed, put it out for beta test.)
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To: TexasFreeper2009
I am thinking the same thing, it’s long past time to start going into the black churches these black proponents go to and start recording the black power, black racist rants that happen there nearly every service and then capture these black racists on tape responding positively to it in the service then blast the evidence of the TRUE racists and TRUE racism across the world via the internet.

Yea, we can send infiltrators in disguised as one of them.


21 posted on 04/30/2014 9:36:23 AM PDT by Old Yeller (Why is Jon Corzine a free man?)
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To: Cen-Tejas
Banning him from walking in a gym or managing his business is likewise unconstitutional.

A private enterprise can - and should - be able to do just about anything they want. The Constitution doesn't really apply, as that's a check on government, not private enterprise. At some point, as a condition of owning a league franchise, Sterling voluntarily placed himself under the league commissioner's authority and (most likely) has agreements in place to not engage in behavior that will put the league in a negative light.

22 posted on 04/30/2014 9:38:07 AM PDT by kevkrom (I'm not an unreasonable man... well, actually, I am. But hear me out anyway.)
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To: SeekAndFind

Whether it was, for the love of the blacks, or, for the love of the queers, both are wrong.


23 posted on 04/30/2014 9:54:29 AM PDT by Terry L Smith
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To: kevkrom

Thanks for your post.

With all due respect, and granting that the NBA probably has some words in a writing that creates obligations on Sterling not to say bad things about folks. That’s the point. The man was talking to someone in his own living room and she taped him saying this. He did not broadcast it on Serius Satellite. Further, I “think she committed a crime recording the conversation. If I’m correct, the tape can never be admitted into evidence and there will be a summary judgment against the NBA because without the tape they’ve got nothing.

The gold digging tramp that recorded the conversation was clearly laying a predicate for blackmailing him too, also illegal.

Now, I am no lawyer but this is what I think.


24 posted on 04/30/2014 7:12:23 PM PDT by Cen-Tejas (it's the debt bomb stupid!)
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To: kevkrom

Please see my response to this just sent to Kevkrom.

Thanks.


25 posted on 04/30/2014 7:14:51 PM PDT by Cen-Tejas (it's the debt bomb stupid!)
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To: SeekAndFind

Setting all the same tired old racist BS arguments aside, there is no question the NBA is trying to put this man out of business for having the temerity to say what he thinks IN HIS OWN LIVING ROOM. That some find what he said upsetting doesn’t matter.

Everybody watch out, this boogeyman man can someday destroy you for something you say that liberals don’t like too.

The first Ammendment is suppose to guarantee you can say ANYTHING in your own house privately to others no matter how vile or ugly. Publicly is different. Yelling FIRE in a theater is one exception and so on.


26 posted on 04/30/2014 7:23:30 PM PDT by Cen-Tejas (it's the debt bomb stupid!)
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To: Cen-Tejas
Yelling FIRE in a theater is one exception

And breach of contract (e.g. casting the sport in a bad light after agreeing not to do so as a condition of team ownership in the NBA) is another.

27 posted on 05/01/2014 3:00:54 PM PDT by Flame Retardant (If you analyze it I believe the very heart and soul of conservatism is libertarianism: Ronald Reagan)
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