McAlester News-Capital, McAlester, OK

Opinion

June 19, 2014

Donald Sterling needs to go away

McALESTER — The saga of soon-to-be-ex-Clippers owner Donald Sterling gets stranger with each new day. Thursday’s twist: an ESPN.com report that Shelly Sterling, Donald’s estranged wife and co-owner of the Clippers, is seeking a court order for protection.

Shelly could sell the Clippers to former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer for $2 billion, the report said, only because neurologists had diagnosed Donald with a form of dementia in early June. This allowed Shelly Sterling to take sole control of the Sterling Family Trust and thus make the sale.

Since that time, Shelly has claimed Donald and his lawyers have harassed both her and her witnesses for the upcoming July court case that will decide if what she did was lawful.

How this will affect Donald Sterling’s on-again, off-again lawsuit against the National Basketball Association remains to be seen. But even if a lawsuit does happen, NBA commissioner Adam Silver’s best recourse may be to settle out of court.

A long courtroom drama will just perpetuate a story that began April 25 with Donald’s girlfriend leaking one of his racial tirades to entertainment and gossip site TMZ. It should’ve ended with Silver giving Sterling a lifetime ban from all NBA activities and fining him $2.5 million on April 29.

Whether it happens due to a quick settlement or a likely longer trial, Donald Sterling just needs to go away.

Sterling’s lawsuit claims the NBA violated both his constitutional rights and antitrust laws, and those who’ve defended him have made similar claims. Some have also said these comments were made in Sterling’s private home and not in a press conference, and his right to privacy should be respected.

Ignoring that the U.S. Constitution contains no explicit right to privacy and that the First Amendment only protects a person from government censorship, those who would defend Sterling don’t seem to understand that private thoughts like what Sterling spewed at his girlfriend V. Stiviano very much affected his public activities.

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