Harold Barnes: Forcing Sterling to sell team leaves issues unresolved

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Donald Sterling, owner of the Los Angeles Clippers basketball team, during a personal phone call to his girlfriend, made a number of racist remarks about African Americans. African Americans from the business, sports and civil rights communities have expressed outrage about those racist comments, as have many members of the white community.

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Money Talks

People can think and feel any way they want and yes, they can even verbalize those thoughts and feelings. But we have power to not let them financially benefit from our patronizing or participating in their organizations. They don't define those they vilify, but those they vilify can help define them in not financially supporting their endeavors. You can put your money where your mouth is or lose money because of your mouth.

Something to think about

Mr. Barnes provides us with a cautionary perspective about rushing to outrage and judgment, and even more importantly a reminder about not letting other people control our reactions. Like Dennis Prager, Joyce Carol Oates, and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, he asks if Sterling has been unfairly stripped of his privacy.

Who is Donald Sterling anyway? Nobody to me. And even less once he voiced his opinion. But for many he's the biggest threat to race relations in the world. It's like the glorifying of the Kardashians, or the Duck Commanders, who are they to emulate?

Here is a Jewish man who changed his name from Tokowitz so he could avoid discrimination in L.A. back in the 60's. Now he's an 80 year old, married man, who privately told his girlfriend that he didn't appreciate her flouting her friendship with black men at Clipper's games. Sounds pretty silly. Sixth grade stuff. How did it become a major issue of bigotry?

He has since been diagnosed with Alzheimer's, which is why doctors declared him incompetent to have a voice in the sale of the L.A. Clippers. Now there's someone to take seriously.

Were Mr. Sterling's comments protected speech? That needs to be determined first. Were there rules within the NBA he violated? It's not clear.

President Obama said, "When people — when ignorant folks want to advertise their ignorance you don’t really have to do anything, you just let them talk. And that’s what happened here." Good advice that I follow on many occasions.

As was once said, "Don't ascribe to malice that which can be blamed on ignorance." Maybe Mr. Sterling isn't the Klan incarnate, maybe he's just a foolish old philanderer, who's ego was hurt by his girlfriend.

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