It’s Day 3 in the “What Sterling Said” saga. And I hate to defend a racist but.
These comments were made in a private conversation. Isn’t Sterling allowed to be a bigot behind closed doors? He didn’t know and had no reason to presume his comments were being recorded and his conversation on the record. When John Rocker made those racist comments many years ago, it was during an interview with Sports Illustrated. He was very clearly on the record. No one should feel bad for Sterling because he is a bigot and there’s nothing sad about a billionaire losing millions. But I just wonder where the line is.
I love referencing the Daniel Tosh incident where he made a rape joke in his stand up act and was forced to apologize by his bosses. He, again, said that on the record. What if someone in a Sterling-like lofty position makes a rape joke with friends and incorrectly assumed he was off the record. Normal people all have those moments where we say inappropriate things solely because we are in a bubble that those comments aren’t supposed to escape. I don’t want to live in a world where we have to treat everyone like they are an NSA or TMZ employee. But I guess I do. I’m just lucky I don’t really matter.
The fact that he was speaking in private only further suggests that he really means it. I find the things that people say publicly to be suspect because they know they have an audience.
[…] In an earlier post, I made light of the fact that the Donald Sterling story raises privacy issues in our society going forward. After all, he was having a cell phone to cell phone conversation with his girlfriend with no reasonable presumption that he was being recorded. The Leveson situation is similar in many ways. He made a private email that was presumably never going to be made public, yet it was. There is a major difference in Levenson’s case in that it was a work email. However, the one thing I just can’t ignore is that it was two years old. So now in this new society of ours we can not only not make insensitive remarks in private, but we will be held accountable for ones in our past. […]