Tomasky has a good piece on the the attempt to portray Donald Sterling as a hardcore Democrat, a line of reasoning with no actual basis.
There is an additional problem here, which is that even if Sterling actually was a Democrat it wouldn’t prove what the conservatives using the poetic-justice-as-fairness argument seem to think that it does. I support the organized campaign against Sterling’s remarks not because I thought he was a Republican but because his comments were racist. I think it’s perfectly fine to not only criticize people like Sterling when they make bigoted remarks, and also to question whether they should maintain particular position of powers and privilege. (And while Sterling owns the team, being permitted to own an NBA franchise is very much an exclusive privilege; ask Mark Cuban about whether having the resources guarantees you the ability to purchase a major league franchise.) Conservatives have spent the last month, conversely, arguing that the much milder criticism of directed against Robert Eich constituted fascism and/or McCarthyism. If they
don’t believe that Sterling should be similarly insulated from criticism because they think (however erroneously) that he’s a Democrat, this just makes the conservatives who don’t defend Sterling as they defend Eich risibily incoherent hypocrites coming and going. Myself, I think it’s outrageous that the NBA has been winking at Sterling for so long, and I will maintain this position no matter who he donated money to.
…Charlie Pierce with a
great point more McCarthyism:
That said, let us look beyond recent events and point out that the NBA has tolerated this guy for years, despite the fact that, even if he had been Francis of Assisi, he still has been the worst owner in the modern history of professional sports. Nobody else is close. Since 1981, when he bought the team, Sterling’s Clippers have compiled not merely the worst winning percentage in the NBA, but the worst winning percentage in all four major American sports, and that includes several teams that didn’t even exist when Sterling first graced the Association with his presence. It allowed him to run this franchise into the ground a number of times. It allowed him to hang Baylor, one of the league’s founding superstars, out to dry. And it allowed him to reap the benefits now that his team is the only one in Los Angeles that is in the NBA playoffs.
In fact, not only can it be said that the NBA tolerated this clown, it can be argued that the league actively empowered him. After all, the sainted David Stern was a lot harder on rap music and on clothing than he ever was on Sterling.
“The dress code is, to me, a continuation of things,” Stern told the Boston Globe in 2005. “It’s a small thing that contributes to a sense of professionalism.”
UPDATE the second: Sterling is a registered Republican. Man, the wingnutosphere steps on more rakes than Sideshow Bob.